Stone crab season started Saturday. Divers under smaller bridges did better than those under larger bridges and deeper passes. Several divers complained that claws were too short to harvest. A couple of our divers ventured out to 25 to 30 feet and got their limit with a few really big claws, but poor visibility and rocky seas made them work hard. More cobia are being speared north of St. Petersburg up to Bayport, most commonly in the 25- to 35-pound class. However, one speared last week was 63.4 pounds gutted. That big cobia broke the muzzle off of the speargun (at the boat), bent the stainless spearshaft and to stop the fish from getting away a boat crew member had to gaff the fish at the gunnel. Cobia are powerful and strong. Be careful. Always have a knife within reach (not down on your leg) to cut the line and don't be afraid to cut yourself loose.
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 protected]