tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By CHAD CARNEY
Published March 4, 2006


Diving conditions along the gulf coast are rapidly improving with the recent respite from bad weather. Twenty to 30 feet of visibility in as shallow as 70 feet is encouraging spearfishermen to resume short trips offshore. They are finding plenty of gag grouper, redfish, mangrove snapper and sheepshead. Water temperature is warming the shallows, and the mid 60s is a welcome relief.

Wednesday, diving on new hard bottom dive sites 30 miles from Sanibel Island, Jason Wilson reported tall sea fans and soft corals that looked like the Marquesas reefs west of Key West. The sites were inhabited with spotted moray eels and what has been on many divers' minds lately, spiny lobsters! The lobsters were around 3 to 5 pounds, small to medium sized for the gulf but considered large for southeast Florida and the Keys.

Many divers reported good lobster catches from Jupiter southward, along with a good run of gag or gray groupers, as they are known on the east coast. March 31 is the last day of open season on lobster, and divers should be extra careful to check for egg-bearing female, before attempting a capture. For the complete regulations visit http://myfwc.com/marine/lobster.htm

Chad Carney teaches diving and spearfishing in the Tampa Bay area. Call 727 423-7775 or visit his website at www.mobilescuba.com