What's hot: Many divers are finding grouper on ledges in all depths. From 40-90 feet, grouper have been mostly 5-15 pounds and mixed in with hogfish and mangrove snapper. Underwater visibility has been marginal for safe spearing. This past week in 70 feet we had 25-foot visibility, and in 45 feet only 15-foot visibility.
Off-limits fish: The Gulf of Mexico Marine Fisheries has halted the recreational harvest of amberjack for the remainder of 2009 after conducting a survey. Many recreational anglers are talking about their participation, or lack of participation, in these federal telephone surveys. Have you been asked about your catch by a telephone pollster? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Please take a minute to e-mail and let me know.
Free-dive event: The Florida Skin Diving Association hosts the Florida Freedive Symposium from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 14 at the St. Petersburg Catholic High School auditorium. The event includes some of the biggest names in free diving. Scheduled speakers include Martin Stepanek, 11-time free-diving world record-holder; GR Tarr, 2009 World Cup Invitational free-dive champion, and Sasa Bratic, 2009 Florida free-dive champion. The event is free. For details and to reserve a seat, go to divefsda.com.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg. He can be reached at CaptainBillHardman@gmail.com or (727) 344-3483.