By CHAD CARNEY
Published August 5, 2006
Many knowledgeable divers believe the best spiny-lobster diving often takes place in some of the worst diving conditions in the state. When the regular season opens Sunday, many divers will skip the Florida Keys and head for the Treasure Coast, roughly from Stuart north through Cocoa Beach. The lobsters in this area get real big, common from 5 pounds to 14 pounds, and it's one of the few places outside of Monroe County in the Keys where divers are likely to reach their 12 per diver daily bag limit. Monroe County only allows six per person.
The Treasure Coast is not bathed by the warm clear waters of the Gulf Stream like southeast Florida. The water is green, often with only a few feet of visibility, and the reefs are much farther offshore. When it's most productive for "bugs," as spiny lobsters are called, there is an upwelling of extremely cold water. A report from the two-day sportsman lobster season last week confirmed the upwelling is present and breathtaking at 57 degrees.
Visit http://myfwc.com/marine/lobster.htm for the latest spiny lobster regulations.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Call (727) 423-7775 or visit www.mobilescuba.com.