The offshore waters have a distinct thermocline that starts about 40 feet down. The water is about 6-8 degrees cooler where the thermocline starts. The good thing is that bottom fish love the cooler water. Grouper, snapper and other benthic fish are more prevalent under the thermocline. The bad thing is that visibility is poorer in cooler water. This past week, our divers had top-to-bottom visibility in 35 feet and less. In these depths, the fish numbers were low and the grouper were wary and evasive. We had better luck for gag and red grouper in depths exceeding 60 feet west of St. Petersburg and in water just past 50 feet off Tarpon Springs.
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.