Surf Gadget Review: The Tool by Cor Surf

December 30, 2014

If you’re a surfer who has traveled for swell or does not live minutes from the beach, you have run into this scenario: you have the leash but no lanyard, or the fin setup is not ideal for the waves but you’re out an Allen key. It’s a common problem, and often not that big of a deal: you either go leashless and swim—a lot, or power through with three when you’d rather go twin. Driving to the surf shop is out of the question for such a small inconvenience, and when you try to get a little MacGyverie, i.e. girlfriend’s hair tie, it does more harm than good. This is why Cor Surf’s handy-dandy, The Tool, is a great glove box/travel bag find for the surfer on the go.

  • The-Tool-w-Skeg
    The Tool in action.
A bit pricy at $25.99, The Tool is not for everyone, but it does have its merit. The surfer’s answer to the Swiss Army Knife, The Tool comes complete with a standard fin key (Allen wrench), standard screwdriver (flat-head) for single-fin setups, a Phillips screwdriver, a built-in wax comb on the spine, a “leash hook” to help with the tightest of leash plugs, and an extra lanyard for reasons stated above. The packaging is sleek, and is made with high-quality stuff—all the metals pieces and parts are made out of non-plated stainless steel, which resists rust and corrosion like few other surf tools on the market. And the little flip-out tools actually do what’s advertised: the fin keys work, and that “leash hook” really does alleviate some annoyance—these leash plugs keep getting smaller and smaller. It really is the only tool needed to change any and all fin systems on the market, which is pretty cool.

Pros: Good for any fin system currently on the market; made with high-quality material (rust and corrosion resistant); pretty cool looking and comes in handy when traveling—embraces the Scout’s motto, “be prepared,” just like the Swiss Army; very convenient; the “leash hook” works like a charm; conversation starter.

Cons: Expensive; after using the wax comb, things tend to get a little messy.

Final thoughts: In all, this is a great little tool to have in the car or with the board bag, just in case the need arises. However, for the price, one could buy two, maybe even three, of each tool this thing contains in one package. But then you would have all these little tools to misplace, forget, what-have you. So, if one were so inclined and had a few bucks to burn, pick one up, it won’t disappoint.

  • The-Tool-Cor-Surf
    The Tool, surfer’s Swiss Army Knife by Cor Surf

Hope through Surf | Share the Stoke Foundation

August 01, 2013

For many, surfing is an unattainable dream. Whether it's a fear of the sea (Shark Week!?!), a matter of fitness or simple geography, the idea of paddling for a wave and dropping in just isn't in the stars for some. But for others, it boils down to a simple matter of cost. Surfboards are expensive, starting at $400 and upwards of a grand or more for a new stick and an average of $200 for a use, for a kid, these costs seem astronomical. And for parents on a budget, these are costs that are simply out of reach, especially for a hobby their child may or may not stick with (remember the guitar and karate lessons, baseball, ballet and the scouts?).

But surfing can be incredibly liberating, a workout, a time of meditation and a practice of patience; there are lessons in the sea. While surfing can be a humbling experience, especially when first starting out, when that fight to make it past the inside can seem downright impossible. But the struggle is part of the mystique, and that the feeling of dropping in on that first wave is like none other; it's a memory that sticks. Sharing in this stoke, helping burgeoning surfers along the path is Lake Worth-based Share the Stoke Foundation.

What started as a failed attempt to sell a surfboard on Craigslist in 2010 has turned into a nonprofit with a simple mission: Change the World One Board at a Time. To do this, STSF has enacted two programs dedicated to bringing boards to disadvantaged youth around the world: The Recycled Program and the 100 Board Project. “This organization is all about spreading the love and hope in the form of a surfboard,” says Kelly Kingston, founder of STSF.

  • Chicama-Peru---Share-The-Stoke-Foundation
    A little grom tearing it up in Chicama, Peru, a stop on the 100 Board Project.

The Recycled Board Program targets kids locally and nationally through a simple concept: Collect donated boards from surfers who are ready to let'em go, then give them away. To get a board, someone writes into the organization on why they or someone they know is deserving of a surfboard. The goal is to give the boards to kids who otherwise could not afford one. “We get a lot of sad emails, quite a few out-of-work stories.” Once a child is selected, they can come and get their board.

As a little incentive for surfers to give up their old ride, STSF and Firewire have partnered for the Enviroflex program: Simply take the board your considering for donation—7' in length or less, no open dings and a full set of fins—to a participating Firewire dealer and you'll get a $150 store credit toward a new Firewire Enviroflex board. Its a pretty sweet deal, not only because of the discount, but the board that would otherwise sit in the garage gathering dust or destined for the trash heap, ends up in the hands of a kid who is really deserving.

On the international side, the 100 Board Project is targeting 10 different coastal communities around the world, including Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru, as well as Florida, California and New York, giving 10 brand new Firewire boards, FCS fins and leash to kids at each. In order to qualify, the kids must promise to “attend school, learn to read and write, maintain a positive attitude, respect the environment and participate in community enrichment programs (when possible).”

  • Share-The-Stoke-Foundation---100-Board-Project---Firewire-Surfboards
    The 100 Board Project in action: 100 new Firewire Surfboards to 100 deserving groms around the world.

It's a pretty sweet gig, traveling the world like a surfboard wielding Robin Hood, handing out new and used boards to deserving kids. “Share the Stoke doesn’t feel like a real job,” says Kingston with a grin. “Getting to go surfing, chilling with these kids out on the water, that is not really work,” But as modest as she may be, the organization has made real strides in seaside communities. To date (August 1, 2013), STSF has given away 154 boards since its 2010 inception, and Kingston and crew are not done yet.

  • Share the Stoke Skateboard and Handpane from Makai Project
    Makai Project Handplane and Skateboard to be raffled-off at Share the Stoke’s party at Mulligan’s
Through grassroots events and fund-raising, dedicated partners and a close-knit group of volunteers—including professional free-surfer Pete Mendia—STSF is imparting the joys and lessons the ocean can open up. “Surfing has really given me so much, it is my passion,” says Kingston. “I really want to share that with these kids. It should be open for all kids, not just a select few.”

On August 1, Share the Stoke Foundation will be partying down stateside at Mulligan's at the Lake Worth Pier. From 5 to 8 p.m., salty boys and girls can join in with STSF, help raise awareness and some funds, while joining in on the cause. There will also be some pretty stellar raffle prizes on the line, including a full skateboard with hardware and a handplane from Makai Project. Join in the fun folks, its for the kids!

Horses & Harley's

February 07, 2013

A very worthy cause is holding its first-ever fund- and awareness-raiser Thursday, February 7 at Lucky's Bar & Grill in Jupiter. Hopes, Dreams & Horses, a local nonprofit therapeutic center dedicated to serving children and adults with physical, mental, social and emotional special needs through the healing power of horses, is teaming up with some local bikers for Horses & Harley's, an evening of games, eats, drinks and great raffle prizes, all to help with the organization's programs and scholarships for riders.

Part horse rescue, part therapeutic riding center, HDH helps individuals with special needs, including but not limited to at-risk youth, seniors, amateur riders, veterans, cancer patients and survivors, and individuals with socialization and communication needs to connect through horses, be it riding or simply coming to the barn and being in their presence. Programs like Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning harness the power of horses to instill an overall sense of well-being, improvements in confidence and self-esteem, create a dynamic of positive communication as well as a place for relationship growth, while improving physical conditions like balance, coordination, reflexes, range of motion, muscle development and decreased spasticity, among many more benefits.

Horses and Harley's hopes to raise awareness of the power horses can have on those whose voice is often diminished and hope seems distant. The event is sure to be a great time, with some pretty awesome drinking games in the works and the raffle is sure to draw a crowd. Up for grabs, stays at area resorts, a cruise for two, restaurant gift cards and one of our very own skateboards. That's right folks, the Makai Project is offering up one of our Mini Kicktail Cruisers complete with hardware, a $225 value.

  • MakaiMini-Cruiser-flyer

Made with aspen and a bold mahogany stripe, the board weighs in at 27" long, 6 13/16 inches wide and an 11-ply core–one of our specialties. What's more, the raffle tickets only cost $5, and all the proceeds are going toward a very worthy cause. Join us and enjoy the ride.

  • Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with live music, games and raffle prizes.
  • Admission is free.
  • For more information, visit

Lucky's Bar & Grill

10160 W. Indiantown Rd.

Jupiter, FL 33478

The Makai Project: 37-Inch Pinstripe Pintail

January 19, 2013

Hot off the drying rack, the handcrafted skateboards at Makai Project are starting to make a statement on the pavement. The newest longboard cruiser ready to the hit the streets is how retro's done classy.

This longboard is a personal favorite. Taking its cues from the surfboards from 60's, this skateboard shape is long and tapered; a narrower, more gradual take on the classic pintail. At 37 inches long and 7 5/8 inches at the widest, the board tapers to 3¼ before edging off to zero at the pin.

  • 36-inch-pinstripe
    37-inch Pinstripe Pintail

Cold-pressed in the camber mold, the 'Pinstripe Pin' has a ¼-inch dip from the rails, giving it a nice comfortable fit to the feet. The look is clean and simple, a study of contrast, with mahogany pinstripes at the center with aspen borders, followed by thicker mahogany stripes at the rail.

Designed for the heavier rider or those who just enjoy something sturdy beneath their feet, the board is a whopper with a 15-ply core and some rather hefty veneers, an 1/8+, giving the board an overall thickness of ¾ of an inch. This extra girth helps make for a stiffer deck, adding in responsiveness, letting the daring-do take that curve a bit later than usual. The wheelbase, a long inches, gives the rider a nice balanced stance while allowing the board to absorb the majority of the street chatter.

  • 36-inch-pinstripe---nose-w-wheels

We finished the board with some beach sand straight out of Palm Beach, for a grippy, yet posh touch, while the bottom of the deck is mirrored with a high-gloss urethane. Stamped '1 of 1,' this board is a guaranteed original. Enjoy the ride!

The Latest from Makai Project

January 12, 2013

The shop has been running full tilt this week is preparation of our big debut. We currently have eight boards laid up for the finishing layers of polyurethane, aiming for completion mid-January. Meanwhile, the presses are churning out more, with two new special projects currently underway, one utilizing a new board shape, the other a collaboration with the design gurus at Rainy Sun Design.

  • 31-laminate-new-design
    31-laminate veneer
The first of the recent additions is a new board shape using the raised nose and tail mold. For the first of this new press, we've designed a pretty sweet veneer layout complete with 31 individual strips of wood (feel free to be impressed, that's a lot). Using green poplar, red oak, mahogany and aspen, this board design utilizes strips as thin as an eight of an inch to as wide as a two inches, giving it plenty of variation throughout. The total length and width of the new board is still to be determined, but we're going rather thin on the core, giving this board an overall thickness of just half-inch. This will lend itself to a more flexible and responsive feel, though for the lighter of the bunch—no skaters over a deuce on this one.

The second project we're working on is, as we said, a collaboration with the design team at Rainy Sun Design. The idea behind this board is to bring an added design element—an illustration—into the mix. So to let the art speak for itself, we went simple for the veneer layout: Mahogany and aspen, in alternating stringers. The twist is in the illustration itself. To make the art pop, we cut a hole to allow for the illustration to be done on a contrasting piece of wood. Since the board is overwhelmingly mahogany, the wooden disk will be in aspen—a night and day, light and dark type theme going on. Stay tuned for the final product. From what we've seen from the Rainy Sun studios, there is no doubt whatever they turn out will be sick.

  • Circle-Borad---laminate-and-hole
    Rainy Sun Design collaboration

Check in soon to see the finished product, all in prep for the official launch of the sale of Makai Project boards at the Retro Indie Market, February 2nd at the Boynton Beach Women's Club. After more than a year of extensive R&D, plenty of blood and sweat, we think we have come up with a product that is like no other, performs to our rather high standards, and suits the Florida beach lifestyle to the letter. And now we want to share it with you. Come by our table, say hi, check out the boards, and as always, enjoy the ride!

The Makai Project

October 19, 2012

Born and raised in Palm Beach County, the sand, sea and sun are more then just part of the scenery, its a way of life. The Makai Project is part of this philosophy. Meaning seaward or toward the sea in Polynesian, Makai Project embraces this sentiment, breaking from the commercial and returning to something simpler. We specialize in custom made skateboards and surfboards, creating the means to connect with the sea.

With a mind on design, a desire for high performance and an eye on quality, through material and construction, everything from the Makai Project has been thoroughly tested before making it to you. Each board is handmade, each stick of wood meticulously examined before making the cut, and only the best of materials, from the marine grade laminating epoxy resin to the proprietary plywood construction, make it below your feet.

Makai's shop is a constant evolution, new designs are continuously coming, some making the grade, others making the scrap heap.

Discover more

At Shorelife, we have an ongoing series of articles about the Makai Project. Check it out: The Makai Diaries

Easy Access Snorkeling: Carlin Park

August 24, 2012

Part of our continued series of Palm Beach's best easy access and shore-based snorkel locations.

On the latest easy access snorkel excursion, we didn't have to travel far from home. Jupiter's Carlin Park is probably best known for beach barbecues, Civic Center weddings, Shakespeare by the Sea and heated bocce ball tournaments, but there are some decent snorkel spots a mere 30 yards from the tide line that make this a great place to grab a mask and take the plunge. At the northern end of the guarded section, running north past the Civic Center and up to the now rocky shores of the Jupiter Beach Resort, lies a string of Anastasia rock reefs that ranges from five to ten feet in depth, but attracts a multitude of fish, resting turtles and even sharks.

The rock reef at Carlin Park has been hit or miss for years. The close proximity to shore, right along the break zone, make the reefs a rather turbid place, with sand often wiping visibility when the surf is slight to moderate. And beach re-nourishment projects have been a constant source of strain, economically, politically and environmentally, with the high cost of dredging a constant point of contention for ocean front properties. But the newly relocated sand is not long for the beach, seeing much of it washed away with the surging surf of a low pressure system, and that sand is often deposited right on top of Carlin's rock reef.

  • fish-hole-carlin-park
    Snapper seeking shelter

For now, the reef is exposed and attracting life. The sculpted structure, quite Dali-esque, is a diner for some, a rest stop for others, and sanctuary for even more. Small bait fish have been running in abundance this summer, with thousands of pilchard and mullet schooling toward shore, chased relentlessly by species like snook, tarpon and jack. All the shallow reef usual suspects make an appearance at this spot, with sergeant majors, grunts, pork fish and wrasses flitting and defending their territory on an endless loop.

This reef is a curious spot. Its close proximity to the inlet makes this one of the first stops for fish as they leave the refuge of the estuary and Intracoastal Waterway, giving them a near-shore halfway home and a chance to bulk up before moving to deeper reefs. Case in point, in the numerous crevices, cracks and ledges, I counted four juvenile nurse sharks, about four-feet, all seeking refuge from the harsh daylight and the hundreds of beach goers that were literally just feet away. Snook, which have begun to group en masse for spawning and schooling bait fish, were constantly on the lookout for an easy bite. Even ballyhoo came cruising through, pulling some curious juvenile grouper out from their holes for a peak. And unlike many of the rock reefs around Palm Beach County, Carlin Park is nearly devoid of fire coral, perhaps the one good thing to be said for beach re-nourishment (it is my belief that the constant shifting sands choke out the algae as it covers the stone, then, once the current clears the reef, it is left squeaky clean).

  • Nurse-shark-at-Carlin
    Nurse shark hiding out.

This is a great spot for the boat-less snorkeler in Palm Beach County, and even better for children and newbies. The close proximity to shore and relatively shallow depth makes this a great place to learn the ropes before tackling deeper reefs, and is an excellent place to explore, with tons of marine life to view. This is also a place of note for fishermen. The large congregation of bait fish that seem to flock to the random patches of rock reef attract some decent predator species passing through. So at dawn or dusk, before or after life guard duty, cast out a line, you'd be surprised what you can catch. And for the land-based crab and lobster hunter, put this on the hit list. I noticed quite a few stone crab hiding out, and their crusher claws were well within keeper territory.

  • fish-under-a-ledge-carlin-park
    Carlin Park’s rock reef.

  • Type of snorkel spot: Anastasia rock reef

  • Depth: 5 to 10 feet

  • Accessibility: Beach dive, accessible by foot.

  • Bring: Snorkel gear. Within lifeguard protection zone, dive flag unnecessary. The Lazy Loggerhead at Carlin Park has a pretty fresh stock of supplies.

  • When to go: Calm and flat—summertime is best. The reef is in the break zone, so during even moderate chop, the reef can be dangerous, especially for beginners.

  • Avoid: Overly crowded beach days. This is one of the largest beach parks in northern Palm Beach County, so it gets crowded on those perfect beach days. The close proximity to shore makes the reef a pretty crowded place when the weather is perfect.

  • What to see: Tropical and reef fishes; small eels; crustaceans; sharks (particularly nurse sharks resting in the rocky crevices). Careful when reaching into crevices and under ledges, lionfish and eel sightings have been reported!

  • What to leave at home: Your spears and slings folks. Not only is it from the beach, but this is within a guarded section, double whammy for the pole spear fisherman. Dive flag. You can bring one if you're paranoid, but it is not necessary.

Review: Lobster Tickle Sticks

August 07, 2012

When catching a lobster, it is important to know their natural tendencies when threatened. When cruising at night, lobster largely run with face forward, foraging along the bottom in single file lines. But when spooked, lobster thrust their tail in a quick contracting motion and shoot backwards in speedy bursts, sometimes for decent distances. So when trying to catch a lobster, the best way to snag one of these bad boys is use their natural escape mechanism against them. Using a tickle stick, try to gently coax the lobster out of its hiding spot by reaching behind it and tapping it on the tail. When it crawls forward, place your net behind it, firmly planted on the ground, and spook the lobster into the net. The lobster's tendency will be to continue swimming, which will rotate the net, allowing the lobster to swim to safety. You will inevitably lose a lobster or two each season, so be wary. When the lobster starts to swim, try to twist the net, sealing off the escape, or grab a hold of the bugger before it can scoot.

So before taking the dive, there are a few tools needed for the deed. Tickle sticks may be a rather suggestive name, but don't let that fool you: A decent tickle stick is necessary when landing some keepers. Essentially an extension of your arm, the tickle stick is the tool used to examine the hard to reach and somewhat dangerous cracks, crevices and caves, as well as coaxing the lobster out. But there are quite a few tickle sticks on the market, ranging in price, add-ons and gimmicks, but they all boil down to essentially the same thing: a stick.

  • tickle-sticks
    Lobster tickle sticks.

Starting with the basics, the $5 Aluminum Lobster Tickle Stick does the trick in a pinch. Weighing in at 32-inches over all (29” long with a 3” extension at a 45-degree bend), the tickle stick is long enough, but with some hard to reach places, you might find wanting. Also, the relatively thin makeup of the device is somewhat bothersome to hold, and makes it very easy to bend and kink, a rather common occurrence when trying to nab those hard-to-reach bugs. And forget it if you drop it when the sand is stirred up and the current is kicking; this thing will pull a disappearance act right before your eyes. A steel keyring at the end allows for a diver to clip it onto the BCD, but it does rust, so don't store with anything metal or leave clipped on the BCD.

  • trident-clear-lobster-tickle-stick
    Trident’s Clear Lobster Tickle Stick.
Trident's Clear Deluxe Tickle Stick comes in a little pricier at $15, but has a few attributes that make it worth the extra coin. Made out of plexiglass, the thing holds true to its name—it's clear. But it is also thicker, with a half-inch diameter, making it easier to grasp and maneuver. Instead of a keyring, the Clear Deluxe has a lanyard at the end, allowing for the diver to cinch-it around the wrist for the dive. And weighing-in at 36 inches (33-inch main, 3-inch crook), there is a little extra length, which may not seem like much but can mean all the difference between nabbing a buried bug or returning to the boat skunked. The main draw backs for this tickle stick is it are clear, which may help sneak by the more alert lobster, but makes it difficult if dropped into the dust-up, and price (I got mine for $15, but I have seen them go for as high as $25), which for an item that is so often lost, misplaced or forgotten, buying more than one of these will start to hurt the bottom line.

  • Pro-Tease-handle
    The Pro Tease tickle stick handle is buoyant, keeping it visible even when you drop it.
The Pro Teaser Lobster Tickle Stick ($15) is the best buy out of the three sticks tested, though when first seeing it I thought it was all gimmick. Equipped with a 12-inch, bright yellow over-sized handle complete with a built-in measuring device, this thing has some heft, making it easy to handle. What's more, the handle is buoyant. One of the biggest problems with tickle sticks is losing them. With the Pro Teaser, when you drop it, the handle will actually float, standing the stick upright in the water, and the bright yellow color is easy to spot. As an added safety measure, a black rope on the handle allows the diver to loop it around the wrist. The stick itself is made out of aluminum and measures in at 31 inches (28-inch long, 3-inch crook). But with the handle, the Pro Teaser weighs-in at a little more than 43 inches, giving you a bit more reach. The aluminum makeup of the stick does lend itself to bend, but is easily bent back to place. There is also an Extendable version that costs $30, and extends to a commanding 56 inches. I have not used this version of the Pro Teaser, but would be a little wary. The aluminum body is extremely bendable on the basic version so I can only imagine what the extendable is like.

For the truly dedicated, there are a few snare sticks on the market that range from $25 to $65. I have never used one of these, so I cannot speak from experience, but people swear by them, snagging bugs them from their lair without having to coax and net.

  • lobster-snares
    The Snare Green Lobster Diving Looper, $40; Equalizer Lobster Snare, $65.

Overall Assessment:

The Pro Teaser is by far the best tested in this review, though each brand and style has their merit. It is not a bad idea to throw a basic aluminum lobster tickle stick, or two, into the bag of lobster gear as a just in case measure—without fail some fool on the boat will show up unprepared or you'll lose a stick down below while landing the monster, so Boy Scouts motto it: Be Prepared.

Get Prepared for Florida Lobster Season

August 01, 2012

Florida's spiny lobster season is set to begin August 6 and runs through March 31, eight months of bug-grabbing good times. For the most dedicated lobster snatchers out there, grabbing those spiny bugs is a seasonal affair, salty vets who have carefully mapped out honey-holes, marked down to the decimal on GPS over years of diving and searching. But for those who are relatively new to the craft of catching some of the tastiest treats from our salty shores, finding those elusive lobster, and their rocky dens can seem daunting. We here at Shore Life Florida want to help make this season a success with a brief how-to and check list so you can max out this coming Florida spiny lobster season.

  • Lobster-under-rock-ledge
    Spiny lobster under a rock ledge

First things first, get your certification stamp. Just about any tackle and dive shop worth their salt can get you certified and ready to go (if all else fails, hit up WalMart, or register online here, they'll look you up by your drivers license if need be). And it is cheap, especially in comparison to getting pinched harvesting lobster illegally, which can cost up to $331 per infraction. What you need: a Saltwater Fishing License ($17) and the Lobster Stamp ($5), which are good for a year.

Know what's a keeper and your limit. During the two day Sport Season (the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, this year falling on July 25-26), the limit doubles to 12 lobsters per stamp per day (six per person, per day for those heading to Monroe County and Biscayne National Park). These limits follow fisherman on land during mini-season, so be wary if you had plans of reaching your limit and heading back out for another dive, FWC will nail you as you try to leave the marina or boat ramp, and the fine won't be pretty. During the regular season (August 6 through March 31), limits return to six per person, per day.

  • Measring-lobster---Florida-Fish-and-Wildlife-Commission
    Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Measuring lobster is a pretty simple task. A keeper consists of a spiny lobster with a carapace of 3-inches and larger, barring it is not an egg-bearer. The carapace is the non-segmented part of the body which contains the head and vital organs. To measure, simply take your measuring device and place between the eyes and toward the tail, if the carapace is bigger, bingo, if not, let it go. All measuring must take place under water, and each diver must have a measuring device on their person.

Lobstermen also must check for eggs. It is illegal to collect egg-bearing lobster, and quite frankly, why would you want to, this directly effects the future of the species (no eggs equals no 2013/2014 season). Spiny lobsters carry eggs on the underside of their tail in orange clusters along the segments. They are easily detectable, an orange globular mess containing hundreds of miniscule eggs. If you snag a bug with eggs, let her go.

  • Egg-bearing-lobster---Florida-Fish-and-Wildlife-Commision---Amy-Buck
    Egg-bearing female spiny lobster. Courtesy of FWC, Amy Buck

Keep your catch alive and intact. While on the boat, a diver is required to keep the lobster intact in the case of FWC coming aboard and checking your catch. They will fine you and take your catch if you harvest the tail before coming ashore.

It is also important to keep the lobster alive for as long as possible, effectively killing them when you remove the tail. If you are not planning on chowing down immediately after the catch, the tail needs to be chilled immediately after being detached to keep the meat from sticking to the shell. It is best to keep the lobster in a collection bag that can be dunked in the sea intermittently—or just left hanging from the boat while moored or anchored—to let the bugs breathe. They'll suffocate if left in a cooler with water, unless you have an aerator. If there is a live-well on the boat, no worries, toss'em in.

Removing the lobster's tail is by far the most grim and least appealing part of lobstering, but it is a task that must be done to enjoy the fruit of your labor. It is much more humane to ice the lobster before removing the tail; you are in a sense decapitating this thing, so be kind and put the bugs on ice.

Before removing the tail it is important to clean out the anal vein. To do so, remove an antennae, and take the fat end (around the middle) and carefully insert it into the anal opening on the underside base of the tail. Insert the antennae as far as it will go, then twist left and right. Remove the antenna. The anal vein will remain in the tail, but it has been loosened from the meat and will pull clean when removing the head.

  • Lobster-in-condo
    Spiny lobster hiding out under a ledge.

To remove the tail, take a sharp knife and insert it where the tail meets the head. Keep the knife angled forward toward the head and slowly cut around. Once cut, grip the head in one hand, tail in the other, twist and pull. The anal vein will remain attached to the lobster's head and pull clean from the tail, ensuring the meat is not tainted. Et viola, lobster tail. Throw it on ice immediately and keep chilled until ready to cook.

To help make this season the best ever, here are a few articles to point you in the direction of becoming the ultimate lobsterman (or woman), maxing the limit dive after dive.

  • For some Florida lobster recipes, click here

  • For a review of lobster tickle sticks, click here.

  • For a look and review of lobster gloves, check here.

  • For the best mask Anti-Fog, Sea Gold, on the market, click here.

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