Dive trip to the middle ground 8-11-17

We left around 5:30 am for a one day round trip to the Florida middle grounds. We planned to dive the central section of the grounds which is a distance of 110 miles from our dive boat's home port in Tierra Verde (St Pete).
We traveled a total of 250 miles round trip, returning to port around 7:30 pm. We completed 6 drops total for 3 dives each for two groups of divers. Average depth was around 100'. This place is a spear fisherman's dream. The middle ground reefs are some of the most beautiful and largest I have had the opportunity to dive.

The Florida Middle Ground is a series of underwater ridges on the otherwise gently sloping continental shelf off the west coast of Florida. Running parallel to the shelf edge in a north-northwest direction, the ridges are as much as 60 kilometers (40 miles) long and 15 kilometers (10 miles) wide. Water depths range from about 25 meters (80 feet) on the ridge crests to more than 45 meters (150 feet) in the troughs. Individual banks have vertical relief of 10 to 15 meters (30 to 50 feet), about as high as 3- to 5-story buildings.




Replies

  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,365 Officer
    Awesome butch, :thumbsup
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • mburke001 aka TripleBmburke001 aka TripleB Posts: 934 Officer
    :thumbsup
  • Ruff OneRuff One HomosassaPosts: 1,768 Captain
    Now, that's a real adventure!!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,057 Moderator
    Thems some big piggy fish ! I recall seeing a 19 pound hogfish that was baked whole with an apple in it's mouth once. :cool:
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Rick1-2Rick1-2 HorseshoePosts: 750 Officer
    :thumbsup wow thats some big hogs
  • EarthmoverEarthmover Posts: 151 Deckhand
    Very nice catch
  • silentfaithsilentfaith Posts: 359 Officer
    say, how deep is it out there? likely too deep for a hookah.
  • barhopper51barhopper51 Posts: 487 Deckhand
    Great job! Biggest Hogs I've ever seen.
  • NativeOneNativeOne Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    Awesome report. Those are some moose hogs. Did you weigh any? I'm curious as to what that one stud weighed in at. Looks like a good 12 lbs or so...
  • butchbalbutchbal Posts: 377 Deckhand
    say, how deep is it out there? likely too deep for a hookah.

    We were between 90 and 120 feet on each drop, breathing nitrox @ 28% . Hookah use should be limited to less than 30 feet, you have no chance for a safety stop if the compressor quits. I use a hookah for scallops and lobster. The good thing about hookahs is that they can run and supply you air for several hours, the bad thing about hookahs is that they can run and supply you air for several hours. If you stayed down at 50 feet for over 70 minutes you would need to do a decompression stop. The hookah I have would easily allow two divers who weren't paying attention to do this.
  • butchbalbutchbal Posts: 377 Deckhand
    NativeOne wrote: »
    Awesome report. Those are some moose hogs. Did you weigh any? I'm curious as to what that one stud weighed in at. Looks like a good 12 lbs or so...

    The big hog of the day was 18+ lbs on a scale. The others were all between 8 and 16 lbs.
  • RedbonzRedbonz Posts: 4,510 Captain
    That is some serious diving...
    Looks like you had great weather for that trip...
    If it don't fit force it. If it breaks it needed replace anyways. :banghead
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,053 Captain
    Tell them about the sharks, Butch. Everybody likes to hear about sharks. ;)
  • APEAPE Posts: 972 Officer
    That's an impressive group of Hogs, nice job guys.
  • FS ShelbyFS Shelby Posts: 680 Officer
    Great report, thanks for sharing with the FS forum community!

    You will now be entered in our forum giveaway! Keep posting new reports until September 31st for more chances to win the fishing trip of a lifetime with Fishing Nosara in Costa Rica!

    Check out http://www.floridasportsman.com/2017/06/12/win-costa-rica-fishing-adventure/ for more details.
  • butchbalbutchbal Posts: 377 Deckhand
    Tell them about the sharks, Butch. Everybody likes to hear about sharks. ;)

    What Doc is referring to is our bonus shark encounter on our last drop. Three of us dropped in to about 105' along the base of a big 15' drop-off and split up to hunt more efficiently. I had shot a large mango and had just got him off the spear and onto the stringer. I was kneeling in the sand facing the drop-off trying to reload my speargun when I felt a bump on my fin and looked around to see a large 7 to 8' bull sharked had just made a pass behind me bumping my fin in the process.

    Needless to say my air consumption increased somewhat as I hurried to get the spear reloaded and get a .357 powerhead put on it. All the while that big bast**d was making passes and getting more agitated. He had fins down back arched which is an aggressive posture which meant he had decided that he was going to come get my fish. Fortunately I had my back to the drop-off wall so I only had to watch in front. About that time I heard one of the other diver's speargun go off and the shark immediately took off in that direction. They learn pretty quickly to associate speargun noise with wounded fish, (so do goliaths).

    I started my ascent pronto and stopped at 15' to do a safety decompression stop for 3 minutes, all the while spinning slowly in a circle so I could see if he returned. About a minute into the safety stop he came back and started circling 6 or 7 feet below me. I said F*** it to the rest of the safety stop and finished ascending. When I popped up the boat was 75 or a 100 feet from me and I asked them (read yelling) "please come get me, I have a shark on me". The problem was that one of the other divers had popped up just before me with the same problem and they were on the way to get him, heading away from me. Anyway they picked him up and hurried back over to me. The shark left as soon as the boat got close to me so I got into the boat with all limbs and a stringer of fish intact.

    Just about that time our third diver surfaced yelling that he had several sharks for company. We picked him up safely and packed up to head home. I normally sleep in a bean bag for the three hour ride home but it took me an hour or so for the adrenaline to wear off. I don't kill sharks or anything else I'm not going to eat, this was the closest I have come to using my power-head on an aggressive shark in 40 plus years of diving. Makes for a good story anyway =).
  • 4WARD4WARD Cross Creek,FLPosts: 635 Officer
    Well that is a good one.
    Stay calm and panic later.
    I grew up swimming, surfing and diving with some sort of shark around.
    Bull sharks are the DEVIL. I do not hate them but they freak me out and cause nightmares.
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Posts: 1,207 Officer
    Awesome dive trip and huge Hogs! I make a Hogfish and it definitely generates the most stories when I am at an Art Show. Some divers were telling me that the biggest Hogs come from Jacksonville area. According to them, nobody really spearfished there and there was an abundance of very big Hogs, claiming they got many over 20#. The one I usually make is a 12-14# and I rarely bring one home from a show. People are very passionate about them! Shark tale is scary, but reminds me of a Lobstering excursion whe 2 Bulls got serious with us, but they were only 5-6'. Back at the boat there was a huge Permit right underneath it and when my wife saw it she swam right up my back LOL.

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