The offshore winds have been blowing most of the past week and a half, so boaters are staying close to shore. Spearfishermen who are staying in-shore are finding that the sheepshead are heavily populating the rock piles and structures in the bay. The real big sheeps, more than 6 pounds, have not shown up yet, but plenty under 5 pounds are being speared. The visibility around the rock piles in the bay has been marginal — at least good enough to spear ethically and safely. This visibility in the bay is still considered close-up spearing, most shots are 3-4 feet. The sheeps flee fast when spooked. The best choice for this close-up spearing is a gun that tracks quickly, with little drag when moved from left to right. So, most divers use the smaller freedive guns or the pneumatic guns. Pneumatic guns are amazing in close quarters. They have more power than any band gun that is the same size and they are easy to point and shoot. They cost a little more than a short band gun, but don't need replacement bands every year. Pneumatic guns also have a low power switch that allows a diver to load it in low power then switch to high power for the shot. This is a big advantage for those who lack arm strength.
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]