Hogfish are darting all over the offshore ledges in 30 to 50 feet of water. This week the underwater visibility was very good. In 40 feet, our divers could start to make out the bottom structure as soon as their heads went underwater. Hogfish were quick to spot as they flirted back and forth over the edge of the break and out into the sand. Gag grouper are in these depths, too. They are eating one of their least-favorite baits, spottail grunts. Even though other bait was present, these grunts were what most of the gags spit up when we got them on the boat. Gags were more active than a couple of weeks ago, so if you're spearing for gags, look in the sand since they're not always under the ledges and cover. Freedivers have had a lot of action with Spanish and some king mackerel. They're driving bait to the surface, and the action is easy to find. Under the bait balls being harassed by the mackerel, grouper and snapper are waiting for falling scraps. If the bait is over beige-colored hard bottom, look carefully to find the camouflaged groupers.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.