Grouper and hogfish have been found around shallow ledges and wrecks of the Gulf of Mexico. Don't go too deep, as most of our divers have found nice grouper and plentiful hogfish in less than 30.
If you dive a favorite shallow spot and don't see many fish, don't give up on that depth. We found some spots are empty and others less than a 10th of a mile away are loaded.
For a successful spearfishing dive, find the bait. Fish follow bait, and a spot that was smoking last week may be dead this week. Don't be afraid to try a new spot. If you find bait over broken bottom, put on the gear and explore. When the bait is thick, an area doesn't take much structure to hold bottom fish.
In the past two weeks, divers on three trips spotted and snorkeled with whale sharks. Gary Sanchez of Pasadena happened upon one in only 50 feet.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 344-3483.