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Diving Florida????

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 19, 2004
Was wanting to get my girlfriend into freediving/spearing...but the viz here in Charleston is VERY hit or miss, and even at it's best is not good.

My next suggestion would be Florida's west coast.

I've got all the gear for her to use and basically need some info. on the some decent viz at a semi-shallow depth...no more than 20 or 30 feet.

I want to ease her into the sport as gently as possible and I think some warm water with good viz and plenty of fish to look at should do the trick.

I would go ahead and take a trip to the keys, but I'm just a poor college kid so I'll take whatever advice is thrown at me.

Thanks everyone

to get her used to the diving aspect I would bring her to one of North Floridas springs...200' vis, like swimming in air. Much easier on the old budget than the keys.
Florida diving

Hi Stretch,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there isn't much in the Gulf that will suit you purpose. The Bayport area can be just right, 15-60 ft, rock piles ,good fish, but the visibility is pretty flaky, very infrequently great. Fine for tanking but very iffy for good freediving, also a long way offshore. Destin is clearer, but there isn't much shallow. The Destin jetties are a good and fairly consistant dive on an incoming tide if the weather hasn't been rough or rainy. However spearing is probably no longer allowed. (Too bad, I shot a load of fish there, long ago). St Joe Bay can be pretty good for inshore spearing (very fishy place), but you need some local knowlege and the vis isn't great.

Put it this way, I live on the Gulf and don't dive there.

For intro spearing, the Keys are your best bet, but don't expect to get a lot of fish. The Florida springs are a good alternative, but no spearing. Temp is about 70 degrees.

Good luck

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Connor, when saying the St. Joe viz. is not great how far are we talking? I dive in anywhere from 3-5 foot viz inshore....offshore the viz. is better but it's more for tanking as the good fish start at 90 feet. 10' viz I think would suffice...I do know that the weather is a big factor.

We'd be driving from Charleston: Any suggestions? I remember panama city being clear when visiting as a child...I know alot can change.
Never been to Islamorada...would that be a start? Anything near there less "Touristy"? Sorry for all the questions but my intent is to make this trip as special and fun as possible.
if you go to panama, consider hydrosopace dive shop, the have great dive boats. all are large crewboats with big ladders, and lots of room. there are also lots of wrecks in panama with about 35-60 vis on average. give them a call and they will give you a current report.
The S word

If what you want is fish I know SC has them. It might be taboo to mention here but scuba is legal and there are guys that land many good fish up there. Maybe get certified and nitrox certified shoot some fish on scuba localy with some local chartes or kind shooters, then train in a pool and freedive when you get the chance.:) check the shooting reports on the easter seabord on www.spearboard.com. The ethics of it is all in the way you approch the harvest of the fish, are you selective and conservation minded, do you eat all your catch? spearfishing is a drop in the bucket. and it has no bycatch and what the hell diffrence does it make if how you catch your fish. Spearfishing actualy does good by not supporting longliners and gillnetters and is great clean fun :D
Spearooo...re-read my post. I'm not looking for alot of freezer fish or scuba. (I can get plenty of that by myself as I'm accustomed to crappy viz and cool water)

Les and Rob are buddies of mine. They did very well in the spearboard open.

we have very good spearing below 100 feet.

I was asking about FREE-DIVING.

For the most part I only don tanks to scout.
i did read the post

Sorry I thought you said you wanted to get someone into spearfishing. and shooting some nice fish your first few times out does alot for the habit, im not some kind of meat head I though you said there are no fish in your area.. The keys is an option you can rent a boat for less than 200$ with gas included the head east and there are plenty of areas to dive just look up the regs. You got to hit the weather rigth though. Plenty of hogs shallow and the odd grouper and snapps but it hit pretty hard, deeper ther are nice fish., there very few 20 lbs hogs. My advice is try to talk them into letting you get out on the Slay Ride and jump in on some dolphin. or maybe some wrecks in 50 ft They often stick out above the bottom and Ajs circle above them, they make for fun freediving targets and are great smoked. ....

You mean the viz is always crappy? there is an advantage to only having to worry about fish ID and killing skills b4 you start holding your breath unless highlydetermined to freedive and brave the viz, mad props. and if freediving isn't an option near my port id rather take what ever i could get. The best place to freedive that i have been to is the bahamas and that gets into the $$$ issue,,

keep us posted on your project........
Les owns the Slay ride...I have an open invite on that boat. That guy is a freakin' riot! I think he knows someone from everywhere he goes!

Have we met?

I will definatley keep you posted on the progress...

There are plenty of fish in this area lol.

She still has some lingering fears (sharks)...the shallower, warm, clear water should help ease what tension she has....whether we shoot a fish or not...I will be content with her just getting comfortable so she'll want to go again.
(fish is just a plus)
I don't know Less but have seen his posts...

I didn't dive the SBO last year but will this year. In my opinon the SC boys are some of the top contenders in the race... The keys are great. check http://www.spearfishing.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=697
Skndivr just dove the keys area his report is plenty of fish shallow. you could rent a boat for 175$ a day split 4 ways its not to bad. getting hotel reservations is another story. I never really stay in the keys so I couldnt help but i think skndvr knows the area well..
here is a report from about a week ago. 3 out of the five divers yaked but we had a good day none the less...
I just sold my boat so Im out of a vessel for awhile:head if you neeed people to split a boat send me a PM.
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the keys

I forgot to mention the all important Weather. but top to bottom viz is common and the temp:). but not the big big hogs you get in SC im hope soome day ill be able get at least one 20 lbs hog. :p . Freediving is alot more rewarding but i think discrimination of harvest method is against spearfishermen unity:) itt legal and taken a fish or two for dinner during a dive is amazingly fun, and keeps money out of the hands of longliners that sell fish to red lobster.
I freedive 90% of the time, but i also have somewhat of a nitrox habit.....

A few of us are in the works of setting up plans for a trip down that way. More then likley we'll be pulling two boats (as long as we can find a place to pull them)...we'll have to see if it's just worth it to split the cost of renting a boat or pull ours.

You're more then welcome to hang out and do some spearing. Will keep in touch and periodically update you on the date we'll be shooting for.

I moved from pensacola to jacksonville about three years ago but , when I was there I would go spearing or freediving twice a
week the viz isn't as bad as some people say .Even as far west as orange beach Alabama the viz can be 10ft+,and every year for about 4 to 5 days the viz gets to 20ft+.I dove the Alabama point bridge 2 of those days the deepest part of the bridge is about 55ft
and I could lay on my back and see the bottom of the top piling of the bridge(it's about level with the surface at high tide).I wasn't as serious about freediving then but I did a lot of deep snokeling lol!!! Basicly the viz there depends mainly on what the wind is doing and how long it's been since it rained.when the wind is offshore and there is no surf it can be super. I still go back there and visit family and friends so I will try
to get some uw photos to show you .I posted a pic of some fish i shot in the fish/photo section and the viz was pretty good in about 15ft i could see about 10ft down so I'd say it could be what your looking for .It may be cheaper than the keys .
I think the Tampa boys are going to be handing it to everyone from around the SE US and finally establish where the best shooters are from. Rob and Les will stand in awe of the coolers surrounding them, even with their morphed 20# hogfish. :D

That's all right. I read today the prize table was now over $25,000 for the Spearboard Tournament, so there should still be good stuff around after the Tampa crowd take their turn. :cool:
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