The Tampa Bay Times

Anyone who owns a boat on the west coast of Florida is very aware of the strong northern winds that have recently been slamming our coastline. This weather pattern has made it very dangerous and risky to venture on the water.  This includes even the inland bays and waterways. The water is stirred up everywhere!  Our divers who ventured offshore in the past week found zero underwater visibility.  The inshore areas are a little clearer and our divers have done well while spearing for sheepshead in these waters.  Most of the sheepshead are around bottom structure, docks and the bridges.   The real prizes have been the occasional cobia on these spots.  Some nice one have been speared over the past couple weeks. Be ready if you spot a cobia hovering close to the surface and just over some bottom structure.  Have a large and strong speargun with heavy line ready to tackle one of the super-strong fish.

The best diving visibility in the area has been for Fossil divers in the Peace River. The usually dark water of the Peace River is now running clear.  Due to little rain and therefore, less runoff, the water has cleared up.  Even when the visibility is considered good in the river, fossil hunter still need a strong light to see the fossils in the sand and clay.  However, over the past few weeks the water is so clear that you can see the bottom even without any form of artificial underwater torch.

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

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