What's on the bottom: For the past couple of weeks, low water clarity has been the nemesis for divers, who have had to go to more than 80 feet to get visibility good enough to safely spear fish. When divers can see fish, they are finding mangrove snappers more often than any other species. Hogfish aren't as prevalent as they have been in previous months, and the same with grouper (reds and gags). Even the Middle Grounds are thin with grouper this time of year.
What's on top: We are finding kingfish and Spanish mackerel above wrecks and over big ledges. Divers who keep looking up for cobia and amberjack will catch a glimpse of these mackerel patrolling the upper water column.
Tournament news: The TBSC Winter Invitational drew nearly 100 participants last weekend. They speared primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and the bay. The winners were: First place, Nick Russo; second, Charlie Domson; third, Trey Stickland; fourth, Cory Phillips and fifth, Bryan Anderson. The next big tournament is the state spearfish and U/W photography championship, June 19-21 at Gators on the Pass in Treasure Island. To find out how to get involved, call the number below or check out www.divefsda.com.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 344-3483.