What's hot: Gag grouper season opened this week, and now these pesky fish can be hunted. The closure of the season for most of this year led to an abundance of gags on almost every ledge, rock pile and wreck. Many spearfishermen must wait for gags to get out of the way so they can look for other fish under ledges and in dark-covered areas. This is a short season, so get geared up and get fishing.
Look for bait: I have been diving the gulf since the early 1980s, and each year, except for the Red Tide years, the baitfish pods and schools have increased in coverage and densities. That means more food for your favorite target fish, so look closely at the bottom machine when hovering over your favorite dive or fishing spots. If you can't spot bait pods flirting around the site, cut your losses and go to the next spot. Find the bait and you should find gag grouper for dinner.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 or firstname.lastname@example.org.