What's hot: The water is very comfortable for diving without thermo protection. However, there is a thermocline that is about 10 degrees colder in 120 feet, so consider wearing a suit for those dives. In shallower depths, we saw plenty of hogfish, snapper, red grouper and scamps around ledges and rock piles. The concentrations of gag grouper are everywhere. The gag season in the gulf opens July 1, and the action should be hot.
Tips: Our last trip took us from Tarpon Springs north to Bayport. Every spot had numerous gag grouper covering the bottom. There were so many gags, it made spearfishing difficult. The larger gags would stay just in front of me as if they were bird dogs ready to flush a pheasant from hiding. All of the wary snapper and red grouper would dart into cover when they saw the gang of hunting gags.
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.