- No comments
As excited as I am about yesterday’s catch, I still cannot quit thinking about all of the ocean’s treasures that surround me day in and day out here in the Fabulous Florida Keys. After watching the tides being played out by the moon, I have come to a bit of an understanding as to when to visit certain locations. It’s amazing to me how much life can be found in areas where current flow is more apparent than others. From the smallest particles in the food chain on up, there has to be a delivery system for the food source. Channels through shallower areas and waterways between islands can provide the added movement that is needed to enhancement the life there.
As an example, I took a group on a spearfishing/lobstering charter yesterday. They had minimal experience, yet wanted to experience both. The scuba divers and I left out of Captain Hook’s Marina in Vaca Cut and headed west for a reef dive at 75 feet. The current was quite strong moving toward the east so we set up a drift dive and jumped in. As we floated across the reef just a few feet above it we’re able to take in a very long stretch of its beauty in an effortless manor.
This is a very safe way to enjoy your time underwater when there are strong currents. Drift diving, done right, can save your dive trip in heavy currents. After harvesting a lionfish and a nice hogfish for dinner, we returned to the surface. We had drifted about a half a mile down the reef where Capt. Andrew Hunt picked us up as we emerged from below right underneath our marker buoy.
As we idled to the next location, we took some time to discuss the different approaches to the fish below and the inhabitants of the reef. Our next spot would be a select location in between two very shallow areas in about 10 feet of water. Having timed it perfectly, we arrived as the last bit of outgoing water flow came to a halt. We hopped in and began to scout the vividly colored area. See fans on coral outcroppings slowly began to stand upright as the current slowed. The rock outcroppings teemed with life such as snapper and lots of tropical fish like tangs and high hats. All of which were taking a break from the water movement and scurrying about in the slack tide. As their guide, I was in the water, too, to show them a handful of lobster. Between lobster we found an oversized octopus, a small Green Turtle, and a puffer fish as big as a basketball. Although we were out for a spearfishing charter, these three sites made the day much more interesting and inclusive of the underwater experience.
We then scooted from the inshore splendors out again to a deep water hub. Having strapped some tanks on we headed toward the bottom in 100 feet of the clear blue Gulf Stream. As we descended, schools of cigar minnows darted around us with large Almaco jacks in chase. After reaching the bottom my three clients were all able to spear a fish for dinner to complement their lobster!
While filleting fish back at the dock, we discussed the day’s happenings. We all agreed that as much as we enjoyed going deep, we loved catching the lobster and seeing the infinite amounts of life concentrated in the shallow area during the slack tide. Over the course of the day, we traveled 35 miles, but our little channel spot that we visited on the right tide was just 3 miles from home!