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Florida Keys Spearfishing

Florida Keys spearfishing is done mostly in the lower and middle Keys. That’s because John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo is a protected zone where no spearfishing is allowed. That’s too bad, because Key Largo has the clearest water of all the Florida Keys. It’s a very popular destination for scuba divers but spearos have to keep on driving down the Keys to get to spearfishing grounds. Another thing to know before you go is that unlike other parts of Florida where the dropoff can be quite close to shore, Florida Keys spearfishingusually requires a boat. The reef is at least six miles out in the Keys, and the dropoff is beyond that so unless you plan on spearfishing in ten to twelve feet of water on a few patch reefs for hogfish, plan on getting your hands on a boat even if it’s a small one.

Spearing fish on the reef is always fun, especially if you’re not an advanced diver. With a little practice, freedivers can get down to twenty feet and much of the coral reef is at depths of ten to fifty feet. Of course the deeper you go the bigger the fish, but there are some pretty good (meaning “legal”) red grouper out there in twenty to thirty feet. Plenty of rocks to search under. AJs will swing by, as well as bar jacks sometimes big enough for eating. In winter look for cero mackerel, in depths as low as twenty to thirty feet. And of course there are always lots and lots of snapper hanging around the rocks on the bottom.

Florida Keys Spearfishing

Florida Keys spearfishing is regulated, just like fishing and by the same folks at the Fish & Wildlife division of the State of Florida. The same size and bag limits apply as for fishing, and you must have a fishing license. You must put up a dive flag when you’re down and you cannot spear fish inside the Sanctuary Preservation Areas. The sanctuaries are marked by large yellow bouys so keep an eye out when choosing your spots.

If you’re visiting on vacation and plan on doing a little Florida Keys spearfishing, then you might want to know where you can find some local dive shops. Key West has probably the most to offer, with a Diver’s Direct, Sub Tropic on North Roosevelt, and a small offering at a dive shop on North Roosevelt near the Sears Plaza. Diver’s Direct is the largest. It’s located on Simonton just off Duval Street. They have a few reserved parking spots on front of the store, too. Find Riffe bands and other brands too. Find Omer, Riffe and Sea Hornet spearguns. Find spare parts for spears, dive bouys, snorkels, masks, wetsuits and fins too. For those who spearfish with scuba gear, find your gear here as well. There’s also a Diver’s Direct in Key Largo for snorkel and scuba gear. Since you can’t spear in Key Largo, spearfishing gear is limited. If you’re in the Middle Keys, one of the best dive shops is the Looe Key Dive Shop, between Key West and Marathon. If you need help or guidance with gear, this is your best bet in the lower Keys. You can’t spearfish Looe Key but you can go out beyond it and of course in the direction of Marathon it’s not protected. More information on Spearfishing Charters.

Florida Keys Lobsterng

Florida Keys Lobstering

Florida Keys lobstering means going for Spiny Lobster, which are Florida’s version of the tasty treat well known to seafood lovers all around the country. There are Spiny Lobster living on and all around the coral reef that runs parallel to the Florida Keys. Florida’s lobster don’t have the large claw that lobsters from Maine have, but their tails are still tasty and delicious. There’s a commercial Florida Keys lobstering industry all over the Florida Keys that sets out traps and brings in the bugs, as they are known locally, for restaurants around the state.

Florida Keys Lobstering for Amateurs

Florida Keys Lobstering is also a fun sport for amateurs and tourists. You just need a permit attached to your Florida fishing license. It’s about five dollars. It will enable you to get 6 lobster per day in the Florida Keys, which is a smaller limit than in the rest of Florida where the daily limit is 12. The reason is that at the opening of the amateur Florida Keys lobsteringseason, so many people visit the Keys to catch lobster that the bug population was becoming too quickly decimated, as was their habitat. Fis & Wildlife of Florida put extra protection on for the Keys to mitigate the natural resource depletion that occurs during lobster mini season.

 

Florida Keys Lobstering Basics

Once you have your lobster permit, you’ll need some basic equipment. Here’s a quick run-down of your gear:

  1. Tickle Stick
  2. Net
  3. Catch Bag
  4. Measuring Tool
  5. Snorkel
  6. Mask
  7. Fins
  8. Gloves
  9. Dive Flag

Many people bring their own boat and go out to the reef or to some ledges amongst the sea grass. You can also rent a boat in the Florida Keys, or charter a boat to take you lobstering. Also, lots of lobstering is done with scuba gear instead of snorkeling. Whatever method you use, make sure you put up your dive flag whenever you’re in the water, especially during the chaos of lobster mini season.

Lobsters live in crevices and under rocks and coral. You need a tickle stick to coax them out and then annoy them until they run into your net. Measure your lobster while in the water because you must not even take an undersize lobster out of the water. If you see bright orange eggs on the underbelly of the lobster, send her back. You cannot take egg-bearing females either. A catch bag is good so you don’t have to swim back to your boat every time you catch a lobster.

With some minimal snorkel and free-dive skills and basic gear, it’s a whole lot of fun to catch lobsters in the Florida Keys. Even beginners can get started in shallower water towards the beginning of the season before other shallow-water lobstering people get to them. Practice your diving skills, learn how the lobsters move and react, and you have a new water sport skill to try whenever you visit the Florida Keys.

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Key West Diving

key west diving

Miles and miles of coral reef, dozens of explorable shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life to observe…what’s not to love about Key West diving? We’re blessed with North America’s only living coral reef and the abundancy of sea life that exists around this incredible ecosystem. Key West diving makes this tiny island a true paradise, if you ask any diver!

And now, Key West diving is even more exciting because there’s the newest artificial reef, the USS Vandenberg. Sunk in May 2009, this 327 foot ship sits in 130 feet of water six miles south of Key West. All the dive companies in town now feature Vandenberg dive trips – book online for better deals and discounts.

If you’re new to diving, then you can opt for a resort course. Learn the basics of diving in a day, and you can be out on the reef exploring the amazing underwater world in no time! The marine world and its incredibly beautiful creatures are not to be missed – imagine yourself on vacation in Key West, exploring a whole new world! Sea turtles, rays, schools of tropical fish, curious and harmless barracuda, eels, and the occasional pelagic fish like mackerel will make appearances on the reef or wrecks frequented by Key West diving boats.

From complete beginners to advanced technical divers, Key West diving has something for everyone. Some of the shipwrecks are in deep water with strong currents, like the Curb Wreck. Curb is 180 feet down, so only advanced divers can attempt this wreck. The Vandenberg is also deep, but even if you can’t go that deep, you can still enjoy this new artificial reef. The satellite towers come up to 50 feet from the surface so even snorkelers can see them when the visibility is good.

Why miss out on one of the best things about the Southernmost City? Key West diving is one of the top ten activities here, and it’s accessible to almost anyone who wants to try. From resort courses for novices to advanced technical dives for those of you who’ve been diving for years, we have a dive package for you. Come and witness the beauty of the underwater world of Key West and rediscover how exciting your vacation can be!

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Key Largo Scuba Diving

Scuba diving Key Largo is at the top of every serious diver’s to-do list. The Florida Keys area is well known for its ocean-based activities, with snorkeling and scuba diving Key Largo being no exception. One of the best places in the world to do this is in Key Largo itself.

Key Largo is the first and largest isle in the Florida Keys. It is also well known for its undersea activities, including diving and snorkeling, and was one of the first places in the world to begin conservation efforts. In 1960, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was created as the first undersea preserve in the United States. That’s why today we can boast that scuba diving Key Largo the top reason travelers come to this area of the Keys.

Scuba Diving Key Largo


Key Largo Wreck Diving

 

Key Largo has continued with conservation efforts, with the 1975 designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary, and is now home to six Sanctury Preservation Areas as part of the 2800 square nautical mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Key Largo is well known for its shallow reefs, which offer world class scuba diving and is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. There are also many deep wrecks which provide excellent exploration opportunities for scuba diving Key Largo.

One of the Florida Key’s most popular snorkeling and diving spots is the Statuue of Christ of the Abyss, also known as “Christ of the Deep”. This 9 foot high bronze statue by Guido Galletti was placed as a memorial shrine to sailors and others lost at sea. This shallow spot, located at Key Largo Dry Rocks, is ideal for up close viewing of a wide variety of fish and undersea life.

Other popular reefs near Key Largo include Molasses Reef and French Reef, both known for the wide variety of sea creatures and fish species.

Scuba diving in Key Largo


Carysfort Reef Light House

 

Molasses Reef is often referred to as the most popular diving location in the world. The reef is as high as the ocean surface and reaches a depth of fifty-five feet on a gentle slope. Visibility is excellent due to the gulf stream.

There are also many wrecks which this area of the Florida Keys is famous for, offering world class diving for all skill levels. Key Largo has some of the best opportunities for exploring shipwrecks.

Bibb and Duane are both 327 foot US Coast Guard cuttters, which were sunk in 1987 in the area known as The Elbow Reef. They rest in 130 feet of water, Duane in an upright position while the Bibb rests on its starboard side. The City of Washington is among several historic shipwrecks in the area. The Elbow Reef is a mile south of Molasses Reef.

Benwood Wreck is a Norwegian freighter that sank during the Second World War near French Reef. It is quite shallow, and attracts many divers for night dives. French Reef also offers some fantastic coral caves and swim throughs, with excellent opportunities to see sea life.

Most recently, Key Largo added the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove in June 2002 as an artificial reef, at the cost of over one million dollars. The Navy transport ship is the largest ever sunk as an artificial reef, is at a depth of 130 feet and resting on its starboard side. The USS Spiegel Grove is located near Key Largo’s Dixie Shoals.