Captain’s Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Published February 18 2018
Updated February 19 2018

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 feet of water. Two weeks ago the bottom temperature was as low as 56 in 60 feet of water. The warmer weather of the past week has started to warm up the bottom water temperatures. This week’s forecast of highs in the 80s will help to increase our water temperatures. Hogfish are all over the bottom areas and large sheepshead are still offshore and running mating games. This is the best time to find the big sheeps before they head back into the bay and inland waters. Lobster season is still open and a few divers have harvested some nice lobsters. Spiny and shovelnose lobsters are under limestone ledges and a few taken last week weighed more than 7 pounds. A diver harvested a female spiny lobster that was over 6 pounds, big for a female. Lobster season ends March 31.

Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and [email protected]