Spiny lobster miniseason: East Coast divers are bringing in the monsters in fair numbers, especially North and Central Florida. From Jupiter south most divers come close or fill their limits, but catches are smaller. Experienced lower Keys divers easily fill their six-lobster per day limit but rarely find bugs with much bigger than the 3-inch legal carapace. On the Gulf Coast I have not heard a report of any lobsters taken for the two days and have not seen any all summer despite frequent diving along the 10-fathom line.
Gulf conditions: We have been seeing much clearer water, about 40 feet, and more fish than usual this summer in 60 feet straight west of John's Pass and Pass-a-Grille.
Dive flag awareness weekend: The Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) ran Operation Wave the Flag for the second year in Broward County, using new laser range and speed detectors to write citations and give warnings to many boaters violating the 300-foot zone around a boat flying a diver's flag. East Coast divers and Lt. Dave Bingham of the FWC came up with the plan after a Miami freediver was killed last year. The FWC generated petitions and presented them to Gov. Crist to make the program an annual event and expand it statewide. The program has been approved by the state. A link called Dive Flag Awareness is on my Web site. There also is a link to the state site with dive flag regulations.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 423-7775 or visit www.mobilescuba.com.