What's hot: Spearfishermen are finding consistent levels of hogfish on most limestone ledges in the gulf from 100 feet to all the way inside Tampa Bay. Some male hogfish 6 pounds and heavier are being speared as they roam the waters inside the bay. For divers who venture out to the deeper water of the Middle Grounds, the hogfish are plentiful there, too.
Tactics: Hogfish aren't known to be smart. But as they get older, they do become more wary. One of the best ways to spot a large male is to slow down when you see smaller females. A male has a harem of females and is territorial. He will swim all over his territory making sure his females are being loyal. If you see females, relax, get behind a structure and wait a minute or so. Slowly, without jerky motions, look carefully for the male to show up. Sometimes, they come from off in the distance. And sometimes, they are right under the ledge hiding, and when they think the area is clear, they pop out to harass the females.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.