What's hot: In shallow depths (less than 60 feet), spearfishermen are finding good levels of hogfish with a few keeper red grouper and plenty of mangrove snappers interlaced on the ledges, potholes and rock piles. Underwater visibility in these depths has been poor after last week's big winds. The surface temperature is in the lower 70s, but the bottom is 66-68.
What else: In middle depths (down to 130 feet), the red grouper are bigger (6-12 pounds). Amberjack are on some wrecks, but in these mid depths, most barely cleared the 30-inch minimum. There are good concentrations of hogfish in these depths, and gags are ever present.
Still more: On the potholes and ledges in deep depths (down to 180 feet), we found some black, red and scamp grouper. The largest black was about 70 pounds but too wise to give me an ethical shot. The red grouper we speared ran from 10-25 pounds. We saw large concentrations of gag grouper, some bigger than 40 pounds.
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]