Wreck diving: Matthew Billard, a 14-year-old from Newfoundland, got to dive five wrecks Thursday as diverse as M-60 Army tanks, barges, a shrimp boat and a tug boat, all just 5 to 10 miles offshore. Using a light wetsuit in water at 74 degrees was a welcome change from using a drysuit in water below 32 degrees. Visibility ranged from 15 to 30 feet in depths from 35 to 45 feet.
Big marine wildlife: Goliath grouper, a big nurse shark and a loggerhead turtle entertained us while we checked out their homes, but I was surprised at the lack of bait fish.
A good time to fish: Take advantage of the easterly winds and abundant food fish in shallow. A wall of monster sheepshead passed us by, and many good-sized gag grouper peeked out from or ran to structure. A school of amberjack circled looking for the absent bait, while many mangrove snapper and hogfish foraged over the wrecks.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 423-7775