Many boats will be running far offshore, going deep and blindly hoping to find clear water in which to spearfish. They'll need about 10 feet of visibility.
There's one place where you can scuba dive to 90 feet and the water is never clear. Mike Irvin idled his flats boat to marker No. 18 just off the northern tip of Egmont Key and dropped me into the Egmont Hole for a solo dive. Descending past the rusty sponge and coral encrusted chain, the water went from dark to jet black at 50 feet. The light on my spear gun was shining on the chain an arm's length and that's as far as I could see. It was just before high tide so the current was light. Suddenly the chain was smooth. My fins touched the abrasive sandy bottom. Sixty feet of chain was on the bottom attached to a large barren concrete block. It was 85 feet deep and I swam south-southwest tapping with my spear gun on the sloping bottom. Scattered sponges, rocks and a six-pack ringholder were all I found until I drifted across a 3-foot ledge with ample undercuts and holes for nice fish. I saw grunts, sheepshead and tiny snappers. I followed the ledge upcurrent 30 yards but saw nothing to shoot. After 25 minutes it was time to ascend, so I started across the incoming tide again and the island's shoreline quickly rose to 15 feet. Irvin was waiting with his quiet boat. The ruins of the old USCG dock were just west of me.
The Egmont Hole is not really a hole. It's a bend in the channel that has scoured out a deep ravine with a ledge at the deepest point, 94 feet.
Chad Carney teaches free diving, scuba diving and spearfishing. Call 727-423-7775 or e-mail from www.mobilescuba.com