What's hot: Most seafood pales in taste to fresh stone crab claws, and the season opens Oct. 15. (See myfwc.com for full regulations, and follow the link on mobilescuba.com for how to grab stone crab claws.) Tampa Bay's bridges are often the best place for these flavorful crabs, but access from the shore is seldom available anymore. Since fuel on the water is more than $5 per gallon, one inexpensive solution is to dive from a kayak. The sit-on-top style won't fill with water when one climbs in and out while loading freediving or scuba gear. But beware — strong currents and low visibility require advanced diving experience, a sharp knife in case of entanglement and a serious anchor and line. I use a 5-pound navy anchor. Fly a dive flag and have a PFD and a whistle too.
On the water: Stand up paddleboards are not new, though I've only recently seen them here. I wondered how my sleek 16-foot by 28-inch sit-on-top kayak would do standing up, so I tried it. Surprisingly, I weathered wind, a few small boat wakes and John's Pass current. The key is to look at where you are going, or the horizon, but not your feet. It's a great way to fish or sightsee. And the leg workout was a surprise.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Visit his Web site at mobilescuba.com or call (727) 423-7775.