Friday, January 19, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Sheepshead plentiful

What's hot: Sheepshead are everywhere, both offshore and inshore. The majority are being speared inside Tampa Bay and other inshore waters. Inshore conditions have been good, and many spearfishermen have taken advantage of calmer weather and warmer water to pursue these sheepshead.

Freediving: This is one of the best times in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Most inshore areas have fair to good visibility and there are plenty of snappers, hogfish and sheepshead. Even better, many of the sharks are in warmer waters, so freediving is safer and more relaxing.

Tips: If you aren't familiar with freediving, take a beginning course. Most people think it is simple and they just jump in and hold their breath — but they are very wrong. Hazards can cause serious injury and death. Shallow water blackout and equipment entanglements are among issues that a freediver must know how to avoid. Find a shop that teaches these classes and dive safely.

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]

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