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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Species gather around reef in Gulf of Mexico off Florida

What's cool: The St. Pete Beach reef had multitudes of fish this week on the barge on the eastern edge at a depth of 33 feet. In addition to barracudas and mangrove snapper, schools of Spanish mackerel patrolled above the hull. A cobia found me before I leveled out and was gone in an instant. Five baby goliath groupers blocked the view to the interior, but the dim light gave way to reveal a school of gags breaking in all directions. The largest hesitated a second too long and my spear found it. Moving the boat to one of the 10 Army tanks and some bridge spans from the old Corey Causeway Bridge revealed several snook and another protected species in state waters, permit. The M-60 tank was an anchor magnet with two caught on top and one beside it.

What's warm: The water temperature has rocketed up — from needing a full wet suit and hood to just a shortie or no wet suit, in a little more than 10 days — and many fish will be moving deeper very soon. Earlier in the week, in 60 to 65 feet off Tarpon Springs, we saw a black grouper of more than 15 pounds bolt for cover, and a red snapper more than 16 inches was hooked for a photo and released.

What's happening: The Tampa Bay Boat Sale and St. Petersburg Times Fishing School is at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; see tampabayboatsale.com for details.

Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Visit his Web site at floridaskindiver.com or call (727) 423-7775.

Captain's Corner: Species gather around reef in Gulf of Mexico off Florida 05/15/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 10:41pm]

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