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The rain runoff from a couple of weeks ago is creating marginal visibility in shallower depths. Good visibility is scattered. Some of our divers found good visibility in 80 feet but had marginal visibility in 50. You'll have to jump in and check out the bottom.

The ledges in 40-65 feet have some keeper scamps and hogfish. Grouper are harder to find in these common dive depths. In deeper ledges and pothole areas, the grouper populations are much better. The snappers are at most depths, but they are skittish. To get a shot at these nimble fish, use a low-profile European spear gun. These light, carbon fiber guns are best at quickly tracking a fast fish.

It's time to get spearfishing equipment ready for popular contests in August and September. The St. Pete Open tournament is Aug. 15-17 in St. Petersburg. This tournament has many ways for beginners to advanced spearfishers to win and have fun. The FSDA Southern Open is Sept. 12-14 in Tarpon Springs. This tournament also has an underwater photography section.

Check and to find out more about these tournaments.

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