The new year brought the opening of greater amberjack and red grouper season. Amberjack season in the colder months get offshore hunters excited because this is when amberjacks move in closer to shore. And that's what has happened. Amberjack in the 50- to 60-pound range have made their presence known in depths as shallow as 75 feet. Last week, one of our divers speared a big one in 110 feet, and it weighed just more than 110 pounds. Some of the really big ones are out there in these recreational diving depths of less than 130 feet. Be aware of the new rule for amberjack that started Jan. 4. The new minimum size has increased from 30 inches to 34 inches to the fork. Red grouper are scattered all over the bottom structure. The problem is underwater visibility has been hit and miss. With the big wind and waves of last weekend, the visibility will probably be poor in less than 100 feet. If you go out after such a stormy couple of days, don't hesitate to check the large ledges and wrecks for both of these species, as these fish like to head for big structure to comfortably ride out the rough weather. They will stay in those areas for a short time after a big blow.
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@example.com.