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Daily fishing report
By BILL HARDMAN
Published June 3, 2006
Offshore water temperatures range in the mid to upper 70s. The bottom temperature is about 4 to 5 degrees lower than at the surface and proper thermal protection is still a smart choice. Some divers have started to leave their wetsuits on the boat, and this could spell trouble. If the dive is short and all goes well, diving in these temperatures without thermal protection may work. However, if a return to the boat is delayed, the diver could face the dangers of hypothermia. Smart divers always plan for contingencies.
The better visibility seems to be north of Clearwater and in depths out to 60 feet. Grouper, hogfish and snapper are still present in most depths, but concentrations of grouper are still hard to find. Divers who have proper helium-based deep-water training, such as Helitrox, Heliair and Trimix, are finding a few big black and gag grouper in and around the Elbow.
With bottom depths in the Elbow from 170 to 210 feet, this type of diving is better left to those with proper technical scuba training. The effects of nitrogen narcosis at these depths is debilitating. Proper technical training is a must. If you are interested in diving beyond the Advanced Open Water maximum depth of 130 feet, consult your local dive shop professional who trains divers in these helium-mixed courses.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 344-3483.