The recent cold fronts has brought larger Mangrove Snappers closer to shore. Our spearfishermen have been fortunate enough to spear some Mangrove snappers over ten pounds, in the past few weeks. Some of the heavy concentrations of these fish have been found on the better locations on the pipeline and the off-shore wrecks. These bigger snappers are certainly smart as they are older and wiser. To get a shot at one of the big snappers you must be cautious and ready to take a fast shot. Once you get a spear shaft in one of these bigger snappers, the immediate concern is keeping the fish out of the wreckage. These fish are masters of getting lodged up deep in wreckage in their effort to get away. Some divers use a line-shaft for this reason. The line keeps the shooter in contact with the fish. Shooting with a free-shaft (a spear without a line), makes for a faster spear but gives the fish an easier chance to escape and find cover deep in the wreck.
Hogfish are still on most of the ledges out to 110’. Some nice size male Hogfish, in the ten to twelve pound class are being speared. The bigger male Hogfish will be zipping back and forth on the dive sites looking for their females. Take your time and let these fish make their way to you. If females are around you the males will eventually get there.
Capt. Bill Hardman teaches classes and runs trips for Scuba, Spearfishing, Technical & Freediving 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