Saturday, February 24, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: High visibility means excellent spearfishing in gulf

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]

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