What's hot: Everything is converging on the bait. From deep potholes and wrecks in excess of 200 feet to limestone ledges in 50 feet, find the bait and everything else will be there. Just a few weeks ago it was hard to find strong concentrations of bait. Now that the schools of fish food have arrived so have the eaters. Grouper, snapper and other benthic fish are showing up in numbers. Pelagics such as cobia, barracuda and permit are also present.
The tax collector: Joining all the bait and eaters are the tax collectors, a k a sharks. They have joined the feeding fray. For spearfishermen these hungry sharks can make for a humbling dive experience. This time of year, divers who put blood in the water need to pay even more attention to their surroundings when spearing. When you shoot a fish, look around as to gather your catch. Many sharks hang just out of visibility and once you advance toward the wounded fish, the shark makes its move. And in a flash there goes the fish and some of your gear. With excited sharks around, keep your stringer of shot fish in your free hand and not clipped to your gear.
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.