What's hot: Amberjack season is open. These very strong fish are pretty far from shore this time of year. Most legal-sized amberjack are being fished or speared in depths exceeding 120 feet. As usual, jacks are more prevalent over wrecks and springs, but sometimes a small group can be spotted on big ledges. Not many anglers have designed trips of more than 100 feet just to target jacks. Most of our divers have adapted their fishing plans to include visits to Swiss cheese areas or potholes in 110-150 feet, looking for red grouper. Big reds are prowling the low-profile hard-bottom areas and some exceed 20 pounds.
Lobster season: Today begins the regular Florida spiny lobster season. Last week's two-day sportsman's miniseason was plagued by high winds and rough seas. Due to those conditions, most lobsters in the Keys and South Florida were left on the bottom, so divers are hoping for good harvests the first couple of days of the regular season.
Tournament news: The "world's largest spearfishing tournament, the St. Pete Open, hosted by the St. Pete Underwater Club, is Aug. 19-21 at the Marina Cove in south St. Petersburg. For more information go to stpeteopen.com.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 344-3483