What's cool: Most spearfishing tournaments have been aggregate style, which encourages each diver to shoot and fill every category. But a trend started a few years ago in many Florida tournaments, reducing the quantity of fish even before regulators dropped catch limits to one or two fish. One freedive tournament allows only one gun for every two divers, which makes one watch a buddy dive and wait to be passed the gun. Another new tournament, Spear Fest, Sept. 11-13 in Fort Myers, will go a step further, with only one fish per three-man team per category. See diversonly.com for details.
A Goliath problem: Gulf spiny lobster numbers are way off. Only the St. Pete Open includes lobster, and the count was about 30 percent less than four years ago. A few East Coast divers always drive over for a few winners, but some gulf lobster always breaks into the top five and used to weigh 7 or 8 pounds. This year No. 5 weighed 4 pounds. Spiny lobster are a staple food of Goliath grouper.
Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 423-7775 or floridaskindiver.com.