It’s that time of the year again, the opening of lobster season. The Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October falls on October 2nd this year, and as always, the big question is ‘where will I have my best shot to catch bugs?’ Here are my best guesses for Santa Monica Bay — no guarantees, but they’ve worked for me in past years. All areas noted are detailed either on my blogs from last year or in my book, The Santa Monica Bay Diving and Fishing Log.
Generally, I find lobsters move into shallower water to molt this time of the year, so I start looking there. Of course the wise diver with no time restraints will already have started checking out their favorite spots to see where the action is. Things get crazy though, so it’s best to have backups in mind.
Otto’s Best Guesses: Inshore (Visibility can be a problem if the swell is up)
Rated my best shot: Topanga Canyon (general area) is my best guess. This is a large area with a number of different places to dive. The bottom directly off the middle to north end of the main beach in 35 to 50 feet of water features a large area of jumbled rocks and hardpan. The larger rocks often feature one or two gorgonians growing on them that bugs like to hide under. Near the outside where the rubble breaks into sand, the visibility will be better. I like to work the edge looking for single rocks sitting alone just out from the edge. Lobsters seem to like to hang around those, and I’ve had excellent hunting here in the past.
Rated next best: The 30- to 40-foot deep rubble reefs found 75 to 100 yards off the beach running north from old Long Wharf up to Sunset Boulevard. This includes the areas outside of Potrero Canyon and areas outside of the small canyon south of Sunset Boulevard. Work along the rocky fingers that parallel the shore until you hit larger patches of gorgonian covered rocks, and then work those areas hard.
My inshore long shot: Off the south edge of Santa Monica Canyon in 25 to 35 feet of water. Patchy rubble areas with some gorgonians. Don’t spend too much time here though, unless you find critters quickly.
Otto’s Best Guesses: Shallower off shore reefs
In no special order, I like the two Marina Del Rey rock piles, Roland’s, and also Moonshadows reef. These are almost always good for a few bugs this time of the year. I also like the larger rocks south of Las Flores Canyon. These deeper spots in 35 to 50 feet of water generally have better visibility.
I love diving for lobsters in Santa Monica Bay. Restrictions on commercial lobster trapping between Rocky Point and Malibu Point evens the odds on the hunt. Still, there are a lot more divers hunting in the bay now than there used to be during the heydays of my younger years. Stubborn persistence will pay off though, so keep looking, those damn bugs have to be somewhere. Good luck, and let me know how you did. Otto