What's unpredictable: The gulf in winter. Storms just dropped visibility to about 15 feet on the bottom, though surface water 20 miles offshore is blue.
What's tallest: The Sheridan Tug was the tallest local wreck for 20 years, starting at 45 feet in 1986. But it has slowly listed to starboard and has lost at least 10 feet of relief. The nearby USCG Cutter Blackthorn is still 17 feet tall, and the 30th anniversary of its tragic sinking is Thursday. A shrimp boat that sunk on the Treasure Island II reef site in December 2004 sits upright in 100 feet with the masthead at 64 feet, making it the tallest wreck today with 36 feet of relief.
Best bet: Above these tall wrecks, where the visibility is clearest, spearfishermen will have their best chance targeting pelagic fish like amberjack and cobia. Grouper season will close for two months beginning in February.
Chad Carney teaches scuba, freediving and spearfishing. Visit his Web site at floridaskindiver.com or call (727) 423-7775.