The Tampa Bay Times
Kingfish are still hanging around and some of our spearfishermen are seeing some over 30 pounds. Kingfish is rarely the target of spearfishermen, but we usually see them on our ascent back to the surface. We see them more often when breath-hold diver, rather than on scuba. Just as we break through the schools of bait with still some distance to go until we reach the surface, we may spot kingfish darting above the bait looking for their next meal. Along with the kingfish are other pelagic fish like cobia and amberjacks. The cobia are still hanging off the ledges and wrecks too! The larger cobias are being speared in water between 60 and 120 feet. One of our divers speared one over a week ago in 85 feet and the cobia weighed 65 pounds. Amberjacks are another story. Amberjacks are a little deeper. To find consistent keeper sized Amberjacks, most of our divers had to venture to depths over 100 feet. Some of the bigger amberjacks are in depths exceeding recreational diving depths. One of our Trimix divers speared an amberjack that tipped the scales just over 80 pounds. He was diving some of the big ledges in the Elbow (about 85 miles west of St. Petersburg). He speared the big amberjack on the bottom in 205 feet. Besides finding amberjacks past normal diving depths of 60 feet, bigger reg grouper are starting to show up on ledges and in depths over 100 feet, they are starting to hover around their summertime haunts of hardbottom potholes in depths from 100 to 140 feet.
Capt. Bill Hardman teaches scuba classes and runs trips for Scuba, Spearfishing, Freediving and Technical diving courses at Aquatic Obsessions, 6193 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33710. You can reach Capt. Hardman at (727) 344-3483 (DIVE) or CaptainBillHardman@gmail.com