Tips: American red snapper season is under way, and the fish have been waiting. The short snapper season started Monday, and most spots 100 feet and deeper are holding plenty of these fish. Red grouper are also being spotted in these depths and are being found on hard bottom and "Swiss cheese" bottom areas.
Tactics: When fishing "Swiss cheese" areas, the key is to get the fish up before they dart down into a "Swiss cheese" hole lining the bottom. Spearfishing these spots is a little more difficult, because the fish see the divers. Your first chance is your best. Once the fish feel threatened, they will disappear into these holes rapidly. A line shaft setup makes it easier to retrieve the fish if it darts back into a hole after your shot.
Tournament: The 46th Florida Spearfishing and Photography Championships are just around the corner. The Southern Open is at Gators on the Pass in Treasure Island. This tournament has trophies and prizes for all levels, from beginners to accomplished spearfishermen and photographers. The photography section has three divisions. The two-week time frame to take pictures starts today. The spearfishing date is June 20. See www.divefsda.com for details, rules and registration.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 344-3483.