What's hot: Hogfish, mangrove snapper and gag grouper are showing up with regularity on most of the limestone ledges in depths of 30 to 120 feet. The snapper are on every piece of bottom structure. The only way to catch the bigger snapper outside of their cover is by being quick with your spear gun. Gag grouper are on most of the ledges, but they quickly head for cover as divers move up and down the ledges. Look in the sand for the gags that ventured away from the structure and use their ability to turn to a light cream color to evade detection. Many divers swim right by these well-camouflaged grouper.
What's not: Jellyfish are hovering over most of the dive sites, especially above the areas with structure. However, on the low-lying potholes there is no upwelling and the jellies are close to the bottom. Wear a dive skin for protection and keep an eye out. Keep vinegar on the boat to treat stings.
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.