Yah the one good thing after you've been bugging a while is you know if a bug is legal before you grab or for sure when you get your hand on that carapace. The only time that doesn't ring true is when I've been searching for an hour and see a clicker, then I will grab and measure/release and be like "wtf that looked legal for sure".
I never see berried bugs and wouldn't take those, I do see plastered ones and consider those fair game as almost all females are plastered by early march. For those of you who are wondering, plastered are the females with the white gum looking stuff by their last legs. It's a sperm packet that they break open to fertilize the eggs once they have them on their swimmerettes. If you are wondering the difference between plastered bugs and those with eggs, there is no difference. All plastered bugs will have eggs. But then you will have no where to draw a line, because all males will plaster females and that means you have to stop lobstering all together.
I've seen many short bugs with eggs come up in scientific surveys, it's pretty crazy. If DFW wants to do something to help the bug population they should ban the new nets with the modified raised cones, the bugs get in there and don't really get out. Their studies show that the population isn't decreasing IMO because the coding on the bug card does not reflect depth. Hoopers start shallow in early season and keep moving deeper and deeper as the bugs decline. They can have 10 hoops per boat and I see pix of hoops loaded with bugs with 4 guys limiting out in under an hour. Getting bugs on breathhold routinely requires a degree of skill and luck.
We used to see a lot of bugs in the shallows (less than 20 feet) 10 years ago. Now when my friends suggest it I just laugh, it's not even worth it unless you are dropping hoops in the deep water there which you will see plenty of during lobster season.
hoop.jpg (204.29 KiB) Viewed 212 times