What's hot: This time of year, hogfish and spiny lobsters are getting the most attention from divers. Hogfish were plentiful for most of 2012 and early indications are the same may hold true for 2013. Spiny lobster season closes at the end of this month and stays closed until the beginning of the Florida Sportsman's season in July. This past weekend we took a group to Fort Lauderdale to dive warmer water. They picked up a few lobsters, and the 74-degree water temperature was a nice benefit.
Gulf lobsters: In the gulf the water is colder, with bottom temperatures about 62 to 64 degrees. Divers are still finding 2- to 6-pound spiny lobsters holed up in bottom crevices. One of our divers got two last week and another one this past weekend. Lobsters move slower in the cooler water, hanging back in the ledges and rocks. A powerful light with a direct beam and a lot of patience are key. Slowly follow the beam of light into the dark crevices; this will increase odds of finding one of these crustaceans before the season ends in two weeks.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and firstname.lastname@example.org.