January may not be the warmest month to go diving but those who venture out may be in for a treat. If sea conditions lay down long enough between cold fronts, divers who sneak out local inlets maybe surprised to find abundant lobster on area reefs.
Since lobster season remains open through March, divers have plenty of time to bag a delicious meal while exploring area reefs. Rough sea conditions typical of January in south Florida can affect lobster in a few ways. Lobsters are known to move around during large swells and heavy surf into areas that are typically picked over. Reefs like Peck Lake, just south of the St. Lucie Inlet in Stuart, or the shallow reef off Bathtub Beach are usually hit hard during the first few months of lobster season leaving plenty of shorts behind. As the New Year gets underway, divers may be surprised to see the return of larger bugs in greater numbers to these areas. Secondly, fewer boats make it offshore this time of year compared to August so pressure on lobster populations is much lower thereby increasing the chances for those who do make it out. Boat limits are not uncommon this time of year.
Visibility reports are less common this time of year so plan a short “bounce dive” or two to scout conditions; keep in mind that safe diving standards like a slow ascent and even a safety stop still apply to bounce dives too. If visibility is poor out front, try heading south to the ledges and artificial reefs off Hobe Sound to find cleaner water. Blue water dives are another good option if clarity on the reefs is no good. Floating 10-to-20 feet below weed lines or other floating structure can be a really interesting experience.
Water temps this time of year should be in the mid to low 70s and while this is not too cold, air temps maybe. A knee-length ‘boat coat’ and a beanie are great ways to keep warm between dives. Consider packing a dry bag with warm clothes to change into after getting out of the water.
FORECAST BY: Steve Wood
Deep Six Watersports – Stuart
(772) 288-3999 Stuart
(772) 562-2883 Vero