Dive lobster mini-season at BugFest! 

Maler family winners
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea resident Francisco Rizzo, and his dad, Frank, caught this 5.6lbs lobster in 12 feet of water off the Town's beach. It was the biggest bug bagged in the 2017 Great Florida Bug Hunt!  
Catch up to 12 lobsters per day at BugFest!    


Great Florida BugHunt Details!

Schyler Cox covered BugFest for Scuba Diver Magazine.


The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea celebrates Florida's lobster mini-season with BugFest, our annual bug hunting dive festival!

Sponsored by Reef Safe Sun, this year's event is July 24-29, 2018 and features a concert on Saturday, July 28 that benefits Diveheart , a non-profit that teaches adults and children with disabilities how to scuba dive.

Unlike the Florida Keys, there's lots to do in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea besides hunting lobsters during mini-season. We have great beachfront hotels at low summer rates, fun public plazas with kids games, quaint shops and pubs -- all just a short stroll from your town hotel.

Mini-season divers can also bag up to 12 bug per day outside Monroe County! You can confirm that by checking the latest Florida Fish & Wildlife lobster mini-season regulations.

During BugFest we are giving away $20,000 in cash, dive gear prizes, hotel stays and trips, which includes the great trips you could win by supporting  the great work Diveheart does by buying a raffle ticket. Divers who enter the Great Florida Bug Hunt receive a raffle ticket for every lobster they catch! You may not bag the biggest bug, but you could still go home with a  super prize.

Online registration for the Great Florida Bug Hunt is open. Please note: Even though you must check the PayPal option to get to the payment page, you can still pay by credit card. The contest fee is $20. Divers receive a free BugFest Goody Bag and BugFest T-shirt. 

This year's BugFest event includes:

- The Great Florida Bug Hunt (July 25 & 26). You can win a regulator, dive tank or other great prizes, even if you don't catch any bugs!

- A free lobster hunting seminar at 6PM on Tuesday, July 24 at Plunge Beach Hotel. The 1-hour seminar is taught by author and lobster hunting expert Jim "Chiefy" Mathie, a retired Deerfield Beach firefighter. Chiefy will be giving away five of his books on lobster hunting!

- A Mini-Season Kickoff Party at Plunge's beachside pool and bar at 7PM on Tuesday, July 24. Meet the ScubaRadio mermaids and enjoy a free Miami Pale Ale beer, courtesy of Gold Coast Scuba, while listening to trop rock music provided by the Scuba Cowboy!

BugFest Mini-Season Awards Party and Lobster Chef Contest starting at 6PM on Thursday, July 26th. The event will feature the Scuba Cowboy  and some amazing lobster balloon creations. The chef competition starts at 6PM. We start giving out the dive awards at 7:30PM.
- A wreck diving workshop on Saturday, July 28 with wreck diving legend John Chatterton (Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters). This includes two wreck dives on Sunday, July 29th.
- A concert to benefit Diveheart starting at 6:30PM on Saturday, July 28 in Anglin's Square.

- If you have questions about Florida's lobster mini-season or BugFest, call Steve at 954-640-4209 or e-mail him at steved@lbts-fl.gov 
Download Schedule

BugFest Schedule BugFest Schedule (959 KB)


BugFest is again giving away $20,000 in prizes and dive gear, including an Aqua Lung Legends regulator and two Paralenz underwater video cameras!  

You can catch your lobsters anywhere in Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach counties. Bugs can be caught off a boat or off the beach. Doesn't matter. As long as they are legal, they can be entered in the contest. All divers participating in the contest must pay the $20 registration fee.

Divers will receive a raffle ticket for every lobster caught. So even if you don't catch the biggest lobster, you could still go home with a new regulator, BC, mask, wet suit or another great prize!

Unlike Monroe County, Florida allows divers outside the Keys to catch 12 lobsters per day per diver. You can also dive for lobsters at night. And unlike the Keys, not only are hotel rates much cheaper, driving home isn't a hassle and neither is grabbing dinner at a nearby local restaurant.


Great Florida Bug Hunt Categories & Prizes

To participate in the Great Florida Bug Hunt, you must register beforehand. The cost is $20. All divers

receive a BugFest Goody Bag, which includes a BugFest T-shirt, a DAN ‘Check Your Air’ lobster gauge and

safety info, Dive Training Magazine, Reef Safe dolphin key chains, & more. Divers receive a raffle ticket for each
lobster they weigh in during the contest. The raffle prizes include an Aqua Lung Legends Regulator worth $675,
two Paralenz video camera kits worth $700 each, dive tanks, dive boat trips, hotel stays and other fun prizes.

You can register at Gold Coast Scuba in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, or at South Florida Diving Headquarters

(SFDH) at the Sands Marina in Pompano. You can also register online with a credit card by PayPal at

www.bugfestbythesea.com. By registering online, you agree to all the terms in the Town’s BugFest Liability Waiver.

Call Lobster-In-Chief Steve d’Oliveira with questions at 954-640-4209, or e-mail him at steved@lbts.fl.gov.




Biggest 12 Bugs Caught Off Broward By A Buddy Team on Wednesday. $500

Biggest 12 Bugs Caught Off Miami-Dade By A Buddy Team on Wednesday. $500

All dive buddies on your team must individually register for the Great Florida Bug Hunt

(no additional cost) by sending an e-mail to steved@lbts-fl.gov. The deadline to register

is 5PM on July 24th. We divided the $1,000 Buddy Team cash prize this year to reflect the fact

that the average-size lobsters caught in Miami-Dade tend to bigger than ones bagged in Broward.



Biggest Bug Caught Anywhere Off A Boat (private or commercial): First Place: $400 / Second Place: $100 


Biggest Bug Caught Anywhere Off The Beach: First Place: $400 / Second Place: $100

Biggest Bug Caught On Midnight Beach Dive off LBTS: First Place: Sherwood Vision Computer $800


Biggest Bug Caught Wedesday Off The SFDH 6AM Aqua View Dive: Akona Carry-On Roller Bag $100     

Biggest Bug Caught Wednesday Off the SFDH 6AM Black Pearl Dive: Dive Tank $200



Biggest Bug Caught Anywhere On Thursday (Boat or Beach) $250



 Biggest Bug Caught By A Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Resident $100



Prettiest Lobster Caught Anywhere By A Female Scuba Diver $100

In case of a tie, the No. 1 tiebreaker will be the lobster's weight.



El Prado Park, 4500 El Mar Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

Wednesday (4PM-7PM)

Thursday (2PM-6PM)


Sands Harbor Marina, 125 N Riverside Dr, Pompano Beach

Wednesday (10AM-5PM)

Thursday (10AM-5PM)



Register Here



BugFest Special: book three nights, third night is free
BugFest Special: Three nights for the price of two!
BugFest Special: Special Bugfest Rates! Click photo for details.
BugFest Special: Three nights for the price of two!
BugFest Special: Three nights for the price of two!
BugFest Special: 40% Off
BugFest Special: Call For BugFest Rates