American red snapper and gag grouper remain the most searched fish for offshore and spearfishermen. The ARS season closes at midnight July 19, so if you want to get these tasty fish, plan your trip soon. When the season opened a few weeks ago, ARS were located over the hard bottom and some of the ledges deeper than 130 feet. The bigger ARS hadn’t made their way to the big ledges and dropoffs in the state’s middle grounds and the elbow. In the past few days, our divers have found big ARS moving over these deeper-big ledges. The offshore weather has cooperated for those who are traveling farther from shore. However, calm days often lead to big storms moving offshore later in the day. These storms are dangerous. If you have radar, use it to skirt the heavy part of the storm. Gag grouper are still being hunted by many of our divers . The fish are getting more and more wary. Gags in the waters deeper than 80 feet are still approachable. Many divers never go down deeper than 60 feet, so those in the deeper waters haven’t been as harassed as those in deeper water.

Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and