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Outdoors

Daily fishing report

By BILL HARDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 1, 2003

Good news for shallow-water spearfishermen. The water is clearing up, and the fish are waiting on the bottom. Thursday in 60-70 feet just off St. Petersburg, we had 25 feet of visibility.

Waiting for us on the bottom were plenty of fat and sassy gags and snappers. A few toads (grouper heavier than 20 pounds) were on every dive site, and we spotted a couple at 20-30 pounds. Amberjacks were on all of the 70-foot wrecks. Most were 20-25 pounds. Our largest was just more than 45 pounds. We also found plenty of hogfish.

The bottom water temperature is in the mid to upper 50s. Some divers used layering wet suits and good hoods. Others used dry suits. These suits can range from $800-$1,500. If you want to start diving dry, buy a dry suit and receive training in using one. Not only do you learn how to wear the suit, control buoyancy and maintain proper attitude and trim in the water, you learn how to care for your investment so it will last for many years.

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

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