Lobsters in the Gulf of Mexico

Types of Lobsters in the Gulf & How to Eat Them!

Posted on 1/25/2022

Nowadays, just about everyone loves the taste of fresh lobster, especially with a warm lemon butter sauce to dunk it in! However, it is an interesting fact to know that lobsters did not become a sought-after delicious delicacy in the United States until about the 1880s! Prior to this time, many people thought they looked like ugly giant bugs and never thought to eat them for this reason. They were actually used as fertilizer, shell and all, since they helped gardens flourish. People who ate lobster were mostly considered to be lower-class. Although fishermen along the Maine coast realized that they were delicious and plentiful, everyone else thought they would be disgusting to eat. It did provide cheap nourishment provided to the working classes by their employers elsewhere. In fact, in the 1760s, back before the Revolutionary War, Boston dockworkers went on strike because they were being forced to eat lobsters more than three times a week. Servants at that time in Boston and New York City even specified in employment contracts that they would not have to eat lobster more than twice a week. This all changed when some fine restaurants in Boston and New York City started to introduce them on their menus as featured chowders and casserole dishes. John D. Rockefeller discovered them and thought they were delicious, so it caught on quickly. It became a popular dish and even eaten whole as many do today.

The classic lobster comes with a succulent tail and two bonus claws and mostly comes from off the coast of New England, especially the state of Maine. But what about the Gulf of Mexico? Does it support a habitat that produces lobsters? The answer is yes! However, those found here come without claws but still have their big tasty tails. The following is a brief description of which kinds of lobsters are found here and where they are located.

Related Article:

Gulf Of Mexico Questions

Spiny Lobster

Spiny Lobsters are found in the Gulf of Mexico and are the most popular. They are also whimsically known as “bugs” here, carrying on their original reputation (tongue in cheek). They are the most common and include two types depending upon their look, which are “Spotted” and “Broad Tailed.” They do not have claws but do have large tails. All of them grow to be between ten inches to twenty-three inches in length with a weight of one to twelve pounds. Most are in the lower middle of this range. Larger Spiny Lobsters are a rarity and only found along the northern Gulf Coast, usually off the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, or Mississippi. Although they do not have claws for defense, they can move extremely quickly, both backward and forward, which makes them very hard to catch when in motion. They are nocturnal creatures eating other shellfish, mussels, sea urchins, and sand dollars. They breed from March thru July, and harvesting is prohibited at this time for obvious reasons. The peak harvest months are September, October, and November. Most people who eat them say they taste best when grilled.

Spanish Slipper Lobster

Spanish Slipper Lobster

Another type found in the Gulf of Mexico is the “Spanish Slipper Lobster,” which could also be named the Red Ruby Slipper Lobster from “Wizard of Oz” fame because they look like something Dorothy would wear! They have a shiny, vibrant bright red color and two sets of antennas. One set of antennas is quite long in the front, while the second pair are actually plates found on each side. Most Spanish Slipper Lobsters are found in crevices near shore, along reefs, as well as in deeper waters out in the northern gulf. They are slow-moving nocturnal creatures that often burrow under sand. They usually grow up to between seven to eleven inches and weigh from one to over three pounds. They are often harvested inshore by scuba divers, but the majority are trawled out in the open waters. These lobsters are quite delicious and caught commercially for sale to seafood markets as well as some restaurants.

Sculptured Slipper Lobster

“Sculptured Slipper Lobsters” have a horseshoe crab-like look with ten legs, a flat body, and a coarse brownish yellow sandy typed shell. They are also nocturnal marine life scavenging around for mollusks buried under the sand. These lobsters are only about eight inches in length and usually weigh only about one pound.

Best Way to Catch Lobsters

The best way to catch lobsters in the gulf is by using a boat and preferably a Charter Fishing vessel since professional anglers usually know where they may be found in their part of the gulf. You will need a Hoop Net Trap lowered into the water with sardines as bait, lifting them up every fifteen minutes to check for lobsters. You may also catch them with a handheld hoop net while snorkeling or scuba diving.

Easiest Way to Catch Lobsters

The easiest way to “catch” them is at a local seafood market store or at a local restaurant! There are three great seafood markets that have lobster near our fine Ocean Reef Resort vacation rentals found in Destin, Miramar Beach, along picturesque Scenic 30A, and over to Panama City Beach. They included Blalock’s, Destin Ice Seafood Market, and Sextons. This is the place to go if you want to enjoy creating your own “Surf n Turf” meals on the beach are nearby at one of our gracious homes or condos while the balmy salt scented air invigorates your appetite.

Learn more: Where do you buy fresh seafood in Destin?

Where to Eat Lobsters in Destin

If you prefer to eat out, the top-rated restaurants that serve lobster include Bijoux, Louisiana Lagniappe, Tommy Bahama’s, The Back Porch, Pompano Joe’s, Boshamps, Brotula’s Seafood House, The Crazy Lobster, and The Surf Hut. Eat a bug. You won’t be sorry and will actually love it!

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