The Southernmost Gulf Spearfishing

By: Capt. Chad Carney 

Straight South from Capri Pass / Marco Island are some great spearing sites, especially if you want less than 70 ft depths & very far from fished out wrecks & artificial reefs. A large area 61 nm (naut. mi.) South and 11 nm wide has little known large wrecks from WW2, 79 years ago! Three wrecked into US Navy mines, in 60 to 65 ft depths. Old wrecks break up into tight habitats and are covered with life, which bottom fish – grouper, snapper & hogfish like. Water clarity of 20 to 30 ft is good for spearing and keeps away crowds, including many spearos 26 nm South in Key West. These wrecks have produced lots of fish!


Edward Luckenbach – 456 ft cargo steamer, sunk by mines -1942
Bosiljka – 322 ft cargo ship, hit a mine – 1942
Gunvor – 277 ft freighter, crashed into an Allied mine – 1942
USS YP331 – 102 ft Yard Patrol Boat, sunk in bad weather – 1944

Many divers continue into Key West for a rest and refuel. Spearfishing near is still best on reef drop-offs like the 10 Fathom Bar off Ballast Key. In 1980 I shot my first big grouper, 47# there.

Air Force Radio Relay Towers P and T are 53 nm and 36 nm from home, in 60 to 65 ft depths and are great sites for amberjack, permit & african pompano, found right to the surface. P Tower is just 2.2 nm South of the Hogfish Gulf Waters boundary along 25.09 Latitude off Cape Sable. The D Tower at 24.5 nm from Capri Pass can be your last site, but 5’ visibility makes spearing tough so it’s best for hook & line fishing. As always check for regulations as many close in December. Shoot straight!

Farther S 13 nm lies the USS Sturtevant, a 314 ft Destroyer also sunk in a mine field. Located 18 nm NW of Key West & 2.25 nm beyond State waters, at a 60 ft depth.

— Captain Chad Carney  |  Diving Instructor & Journalist
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