January cold fronts are a fact of life this time of year but those who venture out between them are in for a treat since abundant lobster and migratory lemon sharks should be found on area reefs.
Small weather windows are common and so far this season the Treasure Coast has been experiencing one or two day calm spells between passing fronts. This has allowed even small boats enough time to sneak out and take advantage of lobster season, which remains open through the end of March. Pressure has been light over the past few months and reefs like Peck Lake just south of the St. Lucie Inlet in Stuart or the shallow reefs just north of the Fort Pierce Inlet should be great places to snag dinner. Visibility usually improves quite quickly after a front passes and divers may be surprised to see the return of big bugs in greater numbers to these areas. With fewer boats headed offshore, compared to August, boat limits are common this time of year.
In addition to lobster, other interesting creatures can be found roaming reefs this time of year. Sharks will keep divers on their toes as they migrate past local waters. Lemon sharks congregate on area reefs in large numbers each year between December and April in order to reproduce. This can be quite a spectacle as 20-to-30 individuals in one area have been commonly reported in years past. Local dive operators run special trips this time of year to witness these aggregations that are found nowhere else in the world. Other species, such as sand tiger sharks, usually common off the Carolinas, have been found offshore on the Treasure Coast this time of year too, presumably forced south due to cooler water temperatures. Bull sharks are also common
Between plentiful lobster action and the chance encounter with seasonal sharks, diving in January is well worth braving potentially chilly air temps. Be sure to take advantage of the annual lemon shark aggregations before they are gone. Witnessing these events are considered by many to be a must-dive this time of year.