May marks the beginning of the ‘summer dive season’ for the Treasure Coast, and divers should expect consistently calm seas and warm water throughout the month. Hunters are excited for the opining of grouper AND hogfish seasons this month and will be happy to learn both have been reported in large numbers on area reefs recently. May can also be the best time of year to ensure gear is up to date and ready for a full summer on the water.
As summer approaches and winds become more favorable for trips offshore, divers should expect to have more opportunities to make the most of what our area has to offer and get wet. Many divers say, “call me when its 80-degrees”, and this month should be when local waters cross that mark for the first time in since October! Calm seas should also allow access to many of the shallow reefs along local beaches too and these dive sites should start to experience clear water once again. Beach dive sites such as Bryn Mawr Beach, the Georges Valentine wreck off the House of Refuge and the shallow reefs off near shore in Fort Pierce or Vero make for great snorkeling, free diving and scuba diving.
Spearfishermen know grouper season has been closed on the east coast since the first of the year and many consider it a tradition to get out on opening day with the hopes of landing a big one. This year is shaping up to be a banner year for grouper since many divers are reporting lots of gags on area reefs and wrecks from 70-to-90 foot off Stuart and Fort Pierce. New hogfish rules were put in place a few years back including an increased size limit and reduced bag limit and this has helped the population rebound in a short time. More of the BIG ‘brown snout’ alpha males have been spotted compared to years past and those big ones can be found in our area this time of year
This is the best time of year to breakout regulators, BCs and tanks since turnaround time on gear service at dive shops starts to increase as summer nears. To make sure everything is in working order, divers should check out tank inspection and hydro dates, look over spearguns bands that may have become dry rotted, and even hook everything up and make a pool dive to ensure proper function. This will help avoid any surprises when gearing up offshore or the night before a trip or help locate issues so they can be repaired efficiently.