What's hot: The fall migration has reached us. Many divers are starting to spot small groups of cobia, and some divers have been lucky enough to land the fish. With red snapper season opening next weekend, people are planning on hitting the gulf for their daily limit of two fish. These tasty fish are still abundant in waters deeper than 100 feet. Last week we dove a small ledge in 110 feet and were greeted by red snapper up to 12 pounds.
Red snapper gear: The water in these depths had a thermocline just off the bottom. This cut the bottom visibility down to 15 feet. I recommend a line shaft in these conditions, so that once your fish is shot, you can stay in touch with it until secured on your stringer. This is also a good technique when going for red snapper over "swiss cheese" bottom. Once these fish are hit, and if not instantly stoned or secured with a line, they will head for holes in the sea floor and disappear. Also, at these diving depths, Nitrox instead of air is the best bet. Nitrox classes are offered at all dive shops and diving with Nitrox is, in most cases, twice as safe as air.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at CaptainBillHardman@gmail.com or (727) 344-3483.