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Published Sep. 3, 2005

The 2002 lobster sportsman's miniseason has come and gone. Most reports from the Florida Keys were good. Last year was a low harvest year, so everyone was happy to have the opportunity at a lot of lobsters. The regular season starts Aug. 6. Don't forget to look in gulf waters for lobsters next time you're diving. Most hole up in ledges in 40-60 feet. We may not have large numbers like the Keys but our lobsters come bigger. This week, we got a 7-pound lobster and saw a few just as big.

Offshore spearfishing is best in 90-120 feet. Large red groupers and snappers are showing up on the hard bottom. It is difficult to spearfish when they quickly dive. Scattered holes in the sea floor allow the fish to dive in and vanish.

Be careful when diving these depths. The recommended maximum depth for an open-water sport diver is 100 feet (130 feet for an advanced certified diver). Be safe and get proper training.

The World's Largest Spearfishing Tournament, the 37th St. Petersburg Open, is scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at the Tierra Verde Resort. For information, go to or call (727) 344-3483.

_ Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and freediving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 344-3483.