Lots of fish: While diving the Indian Shores and Rube Allyn artificial reefs Thursday and Friday for scuba training, we saw tremendous quantity and variety of fish, from Goliath groupers and nurse sharks to pelagic species such as almaco jacks and permit. Mangrove snapper were exceptional size, about 5 pounds, and many sheepshead were still offshore. Bait schools are solid over large culvert piles, and there are gag grouper everywhere you look.
Conditions: Water temperatures are just above 80, and there's no colder water on the bottom. Visibility was about 25 on most dives, and we could see the dark bottom structure almost from the surface. Gumbo, a common algae, was almost nonexistent.
Dive festival: The Pirate Coast Dive Festival is next weekend at the Siesta Key Public Beach in Sarasota. See www.piratedivefest.com for a schedule and information.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Call (727) 423-7775 or visit his Web site at mobilescuba.com.