With the recent passing of Body Glove founder Bob Meistrell and the complete remodeling of Dive n’ Surf in Hermosa Beach, I thought I’d share an old D n’ S ad from a 1966 issue of Skin Diver magazine. It is from a time when diving was viewed a little differently and the personalities driving the sport were a little bigger. The fish were as well i suppose. Now before everyone gets all worked up about the Giant Sea Bass in the photo, I’d like to point out that Bob became one of the biggest supporters in ocean conservation in the surf and dive industry, serving on the boards of educational institutions such as the Cabrillio marine Museum in San Pedro and the California Conservation Corps’ Sea Lab in Hermosa Beach. The ocean had no bigger supporter than Bob Meistrell. So enjoy as we at CFD share this remembrance of Bob and say thank you to him for all he did for people who loved the ocean.
Normally I enjoy getting reports about fishing and diving for the most part. They can show the excitement that other divers experience enjoying the California diving experience. I get excited reading them and think it supports the idea that, we as divers, are more of a community than we often realize. There are times however when I hate reading reports about diving such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s after-report concerning enforcement activities on opening weekend. Enjoy if you will some of the highlights of people who just can’t play by the rules:
• A wildlife officer rescued a diver in distress complaining of severe cramping in both legs. After the diver was towed back to his boat, he was found to be in possession of 10 lobsters, four of which were undersized. He was cited for an overlimit and released.
• Officers observed a boat anchored on the border of Blue Cavern SMCA with one man aboard and a diver with a light swimming in the MPA. When an officer jumped into the water, the diver turned off his light and attempted to outswim the warden to the boat, where another officer was waiting for him to surface. The suspect said he was “only looking” and did not have any lobsters. A second warden entered the water and found the fleeing diver’s game bag with lobster in it. After a search of the boat and gear, the men were found to have 21 lobsters. They were cited for an overlimit, failure to show on demand and diving in a marine protected area.
• At Santa Barbara Island, a diver attempted to distract officers with the classic “what’s that over there?” while trying to drop his dive bag. The warden put on his SCUBA equipment and retrieved the bag 60-feet below the surface. It was filled with nine lobsters, and the diver was cited for an overlimit.
Now granted this small sample may just look like there are a few hammerheads breaking the rules but the final numbers for the opener are actually quite startling. With 400 checks done on opening night, wardens issued 35 citations and 26 warnings. That’s 60 total, or about 15% of total fishers approached. That is a huge number. Extrapolate that number to a thousand effort-days of fishing and you’re talking about 150 violations of some type. Over the course of a season, the numbers just increase.
You can make a difference however. If you see people breaking the law there are things you can and should do. CDFW has an anonymous hotline to report poachers at 1888 DFG-CALTIP (888 334-2258). They’ll send a warden out as soon as possible to investigate and if a conviction results, you’ll be eligible for a reward. If you’re on a party boat, tell the captain or the divemaster. They have both a financial and professional interest in seeing that divers are harvesting legally.
The spiny lobster is in a precarious state in a lot of regards. We don’t really know the overall health of the fishery and there has been a lot of increased entry into the fishery with the new-found popularity regarding hoop-nets. It’s a time to make sure we as a community are playing by the rules today to insure a sustainable fishery in the future.
Okay “Lob-stars,” you’re almost 6 full days into the season and we here at CFD hope that you’ve been having a safe and productive start out there. There is almost nothing tastier than fresh lobster, hot out of the pot or off the grill, especially when you’ve caught it yourself. A beautifully cooked bug, some melted butter, and a cold beer can be one of the most satisfying meals you’ll ever eat. That’s not to say that it’s only way to go about enjoying our spiny friends however. So it is in the spirit of going the extra step to enhance your diving experience that we offer you Lobster Thermidor, a French treatment that you won’t be turning your nose up to.
Now as the name thermidor suggests, this epicurean treat is finished in a hot oven but it’s a delicious path your dinner guests of honor will circumnavigate before they enter those hallowed heated halls. Along the way, your meat will be treated to a hot bath before joining a delicious herbed-bechamel sauce in it’s own shell on the road to golden brown deliciousness. I’m talking cheesy, herbal, vineity goodness with a little crunch. Once you have it, you’ll want it over and over again.
So join us know as we travel to lobster nirvana with these easy to follow directions.
First off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Then it’s lobster time. You’ll need the following:
2 legal lobsters giving you 2-2 1/2 pounds of meat.(Only 1 If you use a Maine bug, market size with claw meat).
2 lemons, halved
Bring a pot of salted water containing the lobsters to a boil. Add the lobsters, head first, and cook for 8-12 minutes. Remove them from the pot and place in ice water to stop the cooking process.
Once the lobster is done you move onto the bechamel sauce. It looks a little complicated but it’s not. Remember to take your time. Have all your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go. They are as follows:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped terragon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mix for 2-3 minutes to develop a sauce base called a roux. It will be slightly golden and look a little like paste. Add the shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and milk. bringing the liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Then add a little salt and pepper. At this point, remove the sauce from the stove and stir in the mustard and tarragon. It will smell amazing.
Finally, you want to put it all together and into the oven. You’re going to split the whole lobster in half and remove the tail meat. Retain the shell halves. Dice the tail meat and fold into the bechamel sauce. Stir in the 1/2 cup of cheese and check your seasoning.
Divide the mixture and spoon into the 4 lobster tail shells. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place them on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the top is golden brown. Lay the lobster halves face up on a plate and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley. Enjoy with a nicely chilled white wine until you are face down. Dive, rinse, and repeat as necessary over the course of the season.
We hope that you enjoy this recipe and well as the rest of the bug season. It’s a big ocean out there so remember to dive safe and take responsibly.