What's hot at the bottom: Spiny lobsters are still few and far between under the ledges and rock piles in the gulf. Sightings just west of Manatee, Pinellas and Pasco counties have been down the past five years, but this year has had a small increase. Finding lobsters over the 8-pound class is not as common as 10 years ago. The season is open until the last day of March.
What's not hot at the bottom: Sightings of shovelnose lobsters seem to still be declining. These lobsters camouflage themselves well and are harder to spot than spiny lobsters. When the always hungry giant grouper populations weren't as high as they are now, a lot more shovelnose lobsters could be found.
What fish are hot: Hogfish and cobia are still being found. This is a good year for hogfish in 40 to 70 feet.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 344-3483.