Spiny Lobsters With Jackie: A Mean Trick … Or Am I Really That Bad?
Tonight’s episode of Hook, Line & Dinner really tested me. Though it lacked the barracuda danger I encountered during my last trip to the Bahamas, this time around, the Caribbean definitely felt a lot more challenging.
When I heard that a local diver would be taking me on a hunt for spiny lobsters, I thought I was heading into a cakewalk. Of course the spiny lobster would be easier to catch than its clawed cousin – it’s half as fast and doesn’t have any pinchers to nab you with, right? I was a little less confident once he showed me what we’d be fishing with: a Hawaiian sling, which is basically an underwater bow and arrow. But I really lost hope once I realized I’d be firing this thing under 20 feet of water without a scuba – not so much the cakewalk I’d pictured.
Alongside expert Jackie, a local from Bimini, I tried and failed many times to catch these little guys (while he made it all look super easy). As soon as I’d finally reach the sea bottom on a single breath of air, where I was supposed to relax and look around for lobsters, my lungs would remind me they needed air (an “I’m going to explode if I don’t get air” kind of reminder).
See, the way you find these spiny lobsters is by picking up rocks and old, rusty metal boat parts on the ocean floor to scare them from their hiding places. Now, let’s say you have enough air to find one of these guys (which I didn’t), you’d then steady yourself, take aim and fire. But in my case, I never got to the taking aim part for two reasons. First problem: I’d run out of air long before I found one and was forced to make a beeline for the surface (where I’d burst up, coughing and gasping). Second problem: Even if I had been able to fire off a shot, I was way too far away from the darn lobster to actually hit it. I’d be left with my spear stuck in the sand and not a lobster in sight.
As you’ll see in tonight’s episode, I missed no less than 20 lobsters. And of course the camera crew missed the ONLY one I actually nailed out of sheer luck on my first try. Once back on the boat, Jackie and I traded our stories of success and failure. Jackie had caught 10 lobsters to my single catch. But Jackie had something to tell me, too: “The spear I gave ya … Well, we don’t use those at all. They’re too easy; it’s not fair to the lobster for you to fish with that.” I was in disbelief, but Jackie seemed stone-cold serious. I still have no clue if Jackie was joking or serious, but I’m going to say he was kidding for my pride’s sake.
But I come out on top in the end of this episode, where two years of experience running an underground lobster operation, which earned me my nickname of Dr. Klaw, finally paid off! Despite the spiny lobster beating me in the water, I would say I at least held my own in the kitchen.
Thanks for nothing, Jackie. I still don’t know if he is serious about the sling. but next time I’m bringing my own gear.
Tune into Hook, Line & Dinner tonight at 8pm ET.