Nope keep them whole:
29.90. Spiny Lobsters.
(a) Open season: From the Saturday preceding the fi rst Wednesday in October through
the fi rst Wednesday after the 15th of March.
(b) Limit: Seven.
(c) Minimum size: Three and one-fourth inches measured in a straight line on the midline
of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell.
Any lobster may be brought to the surface of the water for the purpose of measuring, but
no undersize lobster may be brought aboard any boat, placed in any type of receiver,
kept on the person or retained in any personâ??s possession or under his direct control; all
lobsters shall be measured immediately upon being brought to the surface of the water,
and any undersize lobster shall be released immediately into the water.
REMINDER: California Fish and Game Code, Section 5508, states that â??It is unlawful
to possess on any boat or to bring ashore any fi sh upon which a size or weight limit is
prescribed in such a condition that its size or weight cannot be determined. The commission
may adopt regulations, under which fi sh other than whole fi sh may be brought ashore,
which establish sizes or weights for cleaned or otherwise cut fi sh equivalent to sizes or
weights for whole fi sh.â?? (see Section 27.65).
Ya know, that regulation could easily be read to mean that it is illegal to measure your bugs on the deck of your boat while you take them out of the hoopnet. I am certainly not taking the chance of measuring my bugs while the hoop hovers over the water.
I guess I could be a smart a$$ and answer the question as it was asked. You could remove the tail as long as you dispose of the tail, the important part is that you have the ability to measure the carapace (body shell).
Just kidding keep them whole, I usually toss the heads in a trash bag and put them in the chest freezer until trash day. Sometimes i'll take them to my sushi guy and he makes a great soup out of them.
Just like leaving a patch of skin on certain fillets . .
If you clean them you'd better save the heads so the carpaces (sp)
can be measured in the case you run into a DFG Warden.
I see no reason to unless you plan on slapping one on the BBQ. :9