Spearfishing conditions are great in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past week, the gulf has thrown small seas at the boaters. That is a major relief as the sea conditions have been rough for most of the past couple of months. In most areas, water that is 30 feet and deeper has produced top-to-bottom visibility. When divers roll over the side of the boat, the first thing they see is the structure on the bottom. A closer investigation will expose many snappers, grunts, groupers and more flirting in the white sand around the wrecks, ledges and rocks. Top-to-bottom visibility has occurred a few days since Jan. 1. The great visibility can also give the fish a better chance to see a diver much earlier, giving them a better chance to escape. Free divers do well when visibility is so good. The silent nature of free diving (no diver exhaust bubbles from a scuba regulator) allows the free diver to sneak up on fish. Most areas have a 10-degree colder thermocline that starts anywhere from 35-60 feet below the surface. The fish are very active under the thermocline. Plan for the colder water with a good 1mm to 3mm full wet suit.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and [email protected]