He caught 13 lobsters in the Keys, cops say. Season hasn’t started yet

Angel Manuel Rodriguez
Angel Manuel Rodriguez

The commercial and recreational season for Florida spiny lobsters begins Tuesday, but the temptation to catch the tasty crustaceans was too strong late last week for a Miami-Dade County man to wait, according to police.

Angel Manuel Rodriguez, 62, was booked into Monroe County jail on 20 misdemeanor fisheries violations Friday after a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission police officer caught him with 13 lobsters in Islamorada, according to an arrest report.

Rodriguez, who could not be reached for comment, was released from jail later in the day after posting a bond of $761.

According to the report, Officer Dillan Hudson walked underneath a bridge at mile marker 78 where Rodriguez was swimming. Hudson, who was wearing plain clothes, asked Rodriguez if there were a lot of lobsters under the bridge. Rodriguez said there were.

Hudson said he was a tourist from North Carolina and asked Rodriguez to show him a lobster, but Rodriguez responded that he would not bring one up because he didn’t want to get caught by FWC, according to Hudson’s report.

Hudson then walked up to a woman on shore and asked her if she caught any lobsters. She said she did not, but her husband did. Hudson then showed her his badge and walked to where Rodriguez was and told him to get the lobsters he caught.

Rodriguez walked to a mangrove tree and lifted a green bag full of lobsters, Hudson wrote in his report. Seven of them were undersized, according to the report. The carapace of the lobster, the part that is not the tail, must be at least 3 inches long.

Michael Hoffman and Laura Palma, biological science technicians with Biscayne National Park, discuss how they measure lobsters at Black Point Marina in South Miami-Dade County on July 24, 2019, day one of the two-day lobster miniseason.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.