What's hot: The water conditions in Tampa Bay have meant good spearfishing over the past couple of weeks. Good water visibility has helped bring in sheepshead, black drum and even some hogfish. The absence of strong cold fronts also has allowed divers and anglers to get off the coast. The ledges out to 40 feet still hold some big sheepshead and hogfish. Spanish mackerel are swarming over both ledges and wrecks. And flounder are still in sandy areas that skirt the shallow wrecks.
Deeper water: Amberjacks are schooling on wrecks and springs in 70 feet and deeper. This time of year, these schools can easily hold more than 100 fish from 20-70 pounds. The schools move up and down the wreck and can appear and disappear in an instant. Being surrounded by such a massive school of these fish can mesmerize a newer diver. That's not the only overwhelming part — the power of these fish is just as legendary. Always be ready to cut your line free if you bite off more fish than you can handle.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at CaptainBillHardman@gmail.com or (727) 344-3483.