What's hot: Cobia are moving into the waters off the west coast. This past week, many divers have run into them in 30-100 feet. Many of the powerful fish speared were heavier than 50 pounds. Gag grouper are plentiful in the shallow water. This past week, some free divers limited-out in 20-30 feet. Hogfish are still being found on ledges in 40-80 feet. The only problem has been sporadic underwater visibility. Some places have top-to-bottom visibility while others remain stirred up from Hurricane Isaac.
Tactics: Be careful when you pull the trigger on a "brown bomber." Cobia will test your equipment and diving skills. After a strong fight, they are known to calm down and seem to be dead. But then they will wake up and start fighting with a vengeance, so don't let your guard down. A couple of years ago, a diver believed he had finished off a large cobia and was handing it up to the boat when it came back to life. His arm was caught in the stringer. And the cobia not only got away, but it broke his arm in two places.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.