What's hot: Divers and hook-and-liners are having a lot of fun with the plentiful amberjack that can be found on many wrecks in waters as shallow as 60 feet. Bigger amberjack are in deeper water, but you never know when a bruiser will be swimming in the shallows with his little brothers. The water is still very cold on the bottom, and that is keeping amberjack in close. The bottom temperature in 100 feet is 58 degrees, and in 70 feet, our divers found the water only two degrees colder.
Tactics: Whether you are using a pole or a speargun, make sure you are in shape before you tackle a big amberjack. These fish can wreck not only your biceps and forearms but will find the weak link in your equipment. Double check all your attachments and clips, and replace old lines with new ones on your speargun and fishing poles. Nothing hurts more than fighting a big fish for a long time and then losing it in the last few seconds because you used marginal gear.
Great catch: Last week Aaron Flinn, a Tampa Bay Spearfishing Club member from St. Petersburg, landed a 62-pound amberjack in 100 feet off a wreck south of the shipping channel. He said the fish still had a lot of fight left after he pulled it into the boat.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 344-3483.