Scuba Conditions: March 2022

Last call for lobster! Season closes at the end of the month and March is a great way to stock up for the summer. Care should be taken while handling bugs this time of year since eggs bearing females are common. Pregnant lobster are easy to identify even before removing them from the reef since they usually keep their tail curled up, protecting the eggs underneath. Consider using a net or lobster snare to minimize damage during capture so released females have a higher chance of survival.

This year has been dry with minimal rain and very little freshwater runoff from local canals so visibility on the Treasure Coast has been quite good! Passing fronts may churn the shallow water close to shore but after a few days of calm conditions this turbidity settles down and clearwater returns. On incoming tide, clear water is reaching far inshore to the Stuart sandbar. Snorkeling can be quite good here along the mangroves and some of the deep edges of the spoil islands just south of the Stuart Causeway. Remember a snorkel is considered a ‘breathing apparatus’ and requires use of a dive flag.

Spearfishermen have a few options this month despite grouper and hogfish being closed and cobia are usually top of the list. These fish are strong fish and hard on equipment so seasoned divers usually carry extra shafts on board. Consider keeping them pre-rigged with mono ready to go in case one gets lost or bent during the struggle to get back in the game quickly. Deep Six stocks up on shafts this time of year in anticipation of cobia season so divers have options if a shaft is lost while offshore.

Lionfish are another great option to put fish on the table when other species are scarce. Treasure Coast divers have an advantage over popular reefs to the south off Palm Beach since there are less divers overall and lionfish tend to be plentiful. A good game plan would be to survey a reef or wreck for large snapper or cobia for the first 5-to-10 minutes of a dive and then switch gears to target lionfish for the rest of the dive if no one else is home. Many consider lionfish ceviche one of the best ways to prepare them.

Deep Six Watersports – Stuart 
(772) 288-3999 Stuart
(772) 562-2883 Vero

Lionfish are another great option to put fish on the table. Many consider lionfish cerviche one of the best ways to prepare the invasive species. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Drew McArthur.