The high seas last weekend played havoc on the bottom structure in the gulf. The strength of the surface waves stirred up the sand and debris on the sea floor, causing bad underwater visibility. We had three groups of divers head offshore, and in depths from 55 to 125 feet the best horizontal visibility was 12 feet. The bay waters are in great shape. The visibility at the Howard Frankland and Gandy bridges is almost top to bottom. Divers in a local spearfishing tournament Saturday found plenty of mangrove snappers, sheepshead and other inshore fish. A few divers farther south got a couple of legal hogfish closer to the Skyway. Most of the shots in the bay are close-up and require a quick response. Rail guns (better known as tubular free-diving guns) are light and track fast from left to right. Pneumatic spear guns are also agile and pack a lot more power than a band gun of the same length. Shooting with a line shaft is a better bet than free-shafting, as it is easier to lose the spear shaft without the line attachment.
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.