Cold fronts: The big cold fronts that barrel down from the northwest had been delayed, but now it appears they are upon us. Bottom water temperatures will drop below the upper 60s. After this weekend's cold front and the bigger one to follow, the fish will be moving. When the waters settle, gag and red grouper will be harder to find. If the gulf gets nasty, the grouper and snapper will seek shelter and move to larger structure. The bigger ledges and wrecks will be their sanctuary.
Grouper: This is the last month for gag grouper; the harvest season close at the end of 2010, and it may not be reopened, at all, next year. The grouper have been easy to find over the past couple of weeks.
Hogfish: The hogfish population is doing well, and most divers have had no trouble getting their daily limit (five per day). Last week, we dived ledges from 60 feet to as shallow as 35 feet, and we found hogfish everywhere. Our largest was 21 inches and 7 pounds.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 or captainbillhard[email protected].com.