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Captain's Corner

Where's the action: The ledges in 60-100 feet have produced fair numbers of red grouper, mangrove snappers and gag groupers.

By BILL HARDMAN
Published May 19, 2007


Where's the action: The ledges in 60-100 feet have produced fair numbers of red grouper, mangrove snappers and gag groupers. There might be concentrations of fish in deeper waters and in popular areas such as the Middle Grounds and the Elbow, but the unusually bad visibility in these areas makes it virtually impossible to see what the bottom holds. This dark water reduces the visibility down to less than an arm's length. And with the early summer influx of sand, dusky and bull sharks, the diving in these areas can get a little spooky. In the areas with descent to good underwater visibility, our divers are finding respectable-sized gags and red grouper that are more prevalent.

Other spearing areas: As school years are finishing, families are spreading out for vacations, and the Florida Keys will greet many. The visibility in the Keys has been good over the past month, and black and gag groupers are in most areas. The snapper populations are always high there. The yellowtail, mangrove and schoolmaster snappers easily can be found on most of the patch reefs.

Learn your fish: If you are going to the Keys for some summer spearfishing, make sure you can identify a Nassau grouper from all of its brother groupers. These fish are protected and duly so. Do your homework. Pick up a waterproof fish identification chart or small-fish identification book and make sure you can properly identify these fish.