What's hot: Sheepshead and flounder are gathering around the sunken wrecks, artificial reefs and barges in the gulf. The bottom water temperature in shallow, offshore depths has dropped to below 62 degrees. And that has spurned the offshore migration of sheepshead from the bays and inland waterways. Some breeding females have been 7 pounds. Flounder are taking up residence in the sandy areas skirting the underwater structures.
Staying warm: With the lower water temperatures, divers should wear not just thermal protection for their torso and limbs but thermal hoods for their head and neck. Old, bulky, neoprene wet suit hoods are not the only choice. The biggest complaint with hoods is the restriction around the neck and throat. For a few dollars more, divers can buy hoods with "super stretchy" neoprene. Another choice is lightweight, non-neoprene hoods. They are made with fleece on the inside, a nonpermeable layer in the middle and an outer shell of Lycra.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.