What's hot: Red grouper are making their way to many recreational fishermen's and spearfishermen's coolers. Since the season opened Sunday, anglers have been fairly successful at locating grouper. The "swiss cheese" hard bottom areas and rocky bottom structures seem to be holding the most red groupers. This is usually better news for fishermen rather than divers. The sparsely structured areas of the hard bottom don't offer much protective cover from divers. So at these locations, the fish tend to swim off into the sand while never offering an ethical shot for spearfishermen. In turn, the fishermen don't have a lot of structure to break off the line. The best depths are 60-150 feet.
Tournament: The Tampa Bay Spearfishing Challenge is April 13-15. Most of the proceeds go to local and national charities. The weigh-in, open to the public, is at 11 a.m. April 15 at Ferg's Sports Bar, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. For information or to register, go to tampabayspearfishingclub.org.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.