Hurricane Matthew surely will stir up the surface and bottom of the fishing and diving grounds in the Atlantic and the gulf. It is moving in on the heels of weeks of bad underwater visibility in almost all areas in the eastern gulf. Our divers have had terrible visibility in depths from 40-130 feet, and even the Florida Middle Grounds has shown no more than 15 feet of bottom visibility the past three weeks. The best spearing has been closer to the surface for cobia and African pompano. The cobia have been taken in shallow water wrecks and structure just off the beaches to areas all the way out to the Elbow. Spearfishermen who have the means to go more than 50 miles offshore are finding some small schools of fierce fighting pompano. South of the Tampa shipping channel, the fish can be found slowly swimming from 40-90 feet from the surface with schools of protected amberjack.
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.