Ponce Inlet & Offshore Dive Report & Forecast: August 2014

Ponce Inlet Dive Forecast

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his year seems to be setting a new standard for diving out of Ponce Inlet 80 degree water and 30+ feet of vision. Ponce divers have been known for diving in conditions that only the hard core guys would put up with. However this season looked more like south Florida conditions. That early season hurricane that formed straight out seemed to buy us a few more weeks of great water. The inevitable thermocline is out there, it showed itself first in the deep water and out Canaveral. 80 degrees and clear on top but that 60’s and 5 to 10 ft on the bottom. Get a hood and a thick wetsuit or you may wish you had. You know it will be on the reefs for Mini season as usual.

This red snapper season has produced some really nice fish. I liked one fish a day, I only wish it could be everyday. But the manic of mini Lobster season appears to have found a rival in this micro red snapper opening. We though the reefs were over packed during mini lobster, it seems every boat for 100 miles was out for there one red a day. This year our mini lobster falls on July 30 and 31 with regular season opening Aug 6th. Good luck and follow the rules it insures our future harvest.

Let me tell you the story of the red snapper that didn’t make it to the cooler. I entered the mid deck of the USS Mindanao and started a game of hide and seek with a 15 lb red. I finally got and took my shot. The fish tried to get into the lower deck so I pulled my gun to keep him where I could see him. Then getting to my shaft pulled him in to string. Just then I see what looked like a giant open garbage can coming out of the darkness of the lower deck. While getting bum rushed by a 400 lb Goliath grouper, I reacted by punching him in the eye. He took my red then I split my knuckles on his head. It then spit out the snapper and tail whipped me. After the silt settled he found the fish before I did, he wins that one. All the excitement brought another Goliath in that was twice as big, it looked like a small pickup truck, that is when I figured it was time to go. Upon my exit I sighted a much bigger red and that became my fish for the day. Then I felt like I won that one.