We did a lot of driving around and I decided to go around the patch and found him under a rock…when we got to Government Cut the water was murky, about two feet…I put it next to the other one and then caught a second, and a third… so went the tall fish tales at Sunset Tavern and Deli Lane’s post Spiny Lobster Tournament Party where Spiny Lobster King Daniel Grammes with a 5.25 lb. catch was crowned supreme. Over a hundred happy and some-what rested lobster divers and friends and family reveled in the bounty of their catches after two day mini lobster season hunts.
“I couldn’t be happier with the amount of people that participated,” said Tavern proprietor Spiny Mike Maler in an interview the following week. “The crowd was great at the weigh-in party. Everybody was cheering everyone on and having a good time. We had very good sponsorship this year and that is partially why the tournament was such a success. I met my goal of getting $800 to $1000 for each charity.”
Out of 21 total participating divers, 18 came back for the weigh in party with catches to share as they hoped for the crown. “The divers were very generous in contributing their catches at the weigh in. We had lobster al fresco, lobster pizza, bisque, quesadillas, and benedict on the menu and enough lobster fritters to feed 120 people to the point that everyone had enough,” said Maler.
The spirit of the tournament, according to Maler, is to come together for a water sporting event of friendly competition that supports good causes. “We had a really good eclectic group; from flip-flops to suits. The bottom line is to have a good community event to bring awareness to the charities through the sponsors and get that local hometown feel back versus the big city.”
Although 2012 Spiny Lobster King Daniel Grammes, 2nd Place winner Kristen Jiminez and 3rd Place winner David Adkins were the three kings on weigh in party day, it was the junior competitors that stole the show. Maler brought back the junior division this year due to popular demand by the kids demographic. Eleven year old Hunter Glenn secured the first place junior title with his winning four pound catch. His bronze and silver winning friends Jacob Feder, Noah Nesenman, and Hayden Mulder celebrated right along with him.
“Because last year so many kids wanted to get back into it, I’m so glad we brought the juniors back. It was very impressive to see an 11 year old catch a four pound lobster. Hunter was extremely excited and the other kids were really gracious about the fact that they didn’t win. They were happy for him and that is good to see in young kids. You hope to also be able to teach your children good competitive skills.” Spiny Lobster King Grammes said the experience gave him a wake-up call on the importance of diver safety. “It can get crowded out there. Visibility was poor. As I was resurfacing, all of a sudden I heard an engine and there was a boat ten feet away from me.”
Maler realizes many locals no longer do mini lobster season diving because of the presumed mayhem and the amateurs out there who give safe boaters a bad name. “You are driving around a ton of weight with a 400 horse power engine in the back and it can be dangerous. You have to be diligent and pay attention to what you are doing. Always have someone on the lookout while you are partying and hanging out with your friends. Daniel is a safe diver and I know he always sends up a float before coming up to the surface, but it can be very hard to see a float.”
The pre-tournament captains meeting is a mandatory attendance event for participating divers. Fishing and boating licenses are prerequisites for competitors. “I have been diving during mini lobster season for 35 years and my family and I don’t intend to give it up,” said Maler. “We are very capable people. We always go over our dive plan before getting in the water. I have a brother who does nothing but run the boat and look out for us. I have full confidence that he will be there to protect me as a diver but I also have to take precautions.”
Maler and the Spiny Lobster Tournament team of supporters and friends look forward to an even bigger turn out next year. “It would be great if we had 50 divers next year. Everybody gets together after and talks about their stories, how they caught their lobster, what they did good or bad, if they reached their limit and how fast they got there. One thing they don’t talk about though is where they got their lobsters; that is a secret all divers will go to their grave with.”