Scuba Conditions: April 2021

Turtle nesting season is approaching. Leatherback in Jupiter Inlet. Photo credit: MyFWC/Juanita North.

Plenty of changes happening in and around the water in April including warmer weather and the return of sea turtles to local waters.

Water temps have bottomed out and will start to climb with upper 70s a good bet by the end of the month. Warmer temps also signal turtle nesting season is approaching. Florida coastal waters are home to five different species of marine sea turtles that divers have an opportunity to encounter while underwater. Loggerheads, hawksbill, and green turtles are relatively common whereas leatherback and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are very rare.  This time of year, mated pairs of loggerheads are frequently seen on the surface and once begun, mating can last for several hours. This leaves them vulnerable to passing boat traffic. Care should be taken to avoid disturbing breeding activities. All Florida sea turtles are protected by the endangered species act making it against the law to harass or otherwise interfere with their normal behavior. Many consider it a violation to impede their direction of travel underwater.

With grouper and hogfish season still closed through the end of the month, now’s a great time for some exploratory dives off the beaten path. Everyone hits the wrecks on opening day, but smaller ledges and areas further from the inlets might yield interesting intel and new spots that may have been overlooked. Consider targeting snappers, cobia, triggerfish and amberjacks for smoked fish dip this time of year. Each of these can easily found in the coastal waters off the Treasure Coast and make great table fare although landing one is easier said than done.

Big mutton and dog snapper are notoriously smart and hard to approach so many hunters will load spearguns on the way down and be ready when they hit the bottom.  A diver may only have a few seconds to make a shot before the fish hide into structure or scatter out in the sand and being ready will help make the most of a short opportunity. A good flashlight comes in handy too when fish duck into holes.

FORECAST BY: Steve Wood
Deep Six Watersports – Stuart 
(772) 288-3999 Stuart
(772) 562-2883 Vero
Email:  Steve.wood@deepsix.com

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