What's hot: American red snapper are still being found in heavy concentrations on ledges, wrecks and "Swiss cheese" areas just more than 100 feet in depth. Most are ranging from 6 to 9 pounds, with the occasional 15-plus-pounder hiding in large schools. The season ends Aug. 15.
Tips: Red grouper are starting to be seen more than gags, in depths of more than 100 feet and hanging out over hard-bottom areas. Divers need to get proper training before taking on the added task of spearing when diving past the open-water maximum recommended depth of 100 feet. The proper use of redundant air sources is a must for safe spearfishing in these depths.
Competition: The state spearfishing and photography championships culminate Sunday with the fish weigh-in at Gators on the Pass in Treasure Island. The weigh-in starts at 11 a.m. and will end at about 1 p.m. Spectators are welcome to this free event. Many impressive catches will be shown off as divers compete to be Florida's top spearfisher. Check www.divefsda.com for more information.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 344-3483.