West is Best for Big Carbo Spearfishing

Capt. Chad Carney

Far more big Black Groupers are found offshore of Florida’s W coast, between the 20 & 30-fathom lines, than anywhere else in the state. These old coast lines parallel the FL coast, 35 to 90-nautical miles (nm) offshore & run from N of the Middle Grounds, S past Tampa Bay & SWFL, to the Tortugas Bank. (See oceangrafix.com for NOAA Chart #11006.) Up to 40-nm apart, the lines depict scattered limestone coral & sponge encrusted ledges. A few with 30-ft relief, but most only 1 to 5-ft. Like the numerous crumbling wrecks & pot holes, also in this huge W FL area, big carbos love the tight holes & cracks!!

Chad’s personal best, 23# hogfish.

Shooting a big carbo is on top of all spearos 2021 lists. They’re smart, get over 100#s, photogenic, taste great & often win tournaments! In my home town, the St Pete Open, is a huge tourney & the best aggregate stringer won’t cut it. The top carbo wins it! (They’re always deep west FL fish!)

The 87# silhouetted carbo photo was shot in 175-ft offshore of Anna Maria Island by Steve Bryan along the 30-fathom line. The grouper rocked up leaving a bad shot & a silt-out to follow. Low on time & gas he had to ascend empty handed. Back drops are often needed, & after 3 deep dives, I was the loner left with maybe enough gas. Following his directions, I spotted the hole with some smoke puffing out & a huge hogfish looking in at it. “So, do I shoot the hog & maybe silt-out the hole again, losing the black?”  Bang! Stoned the hogfish & shot the black & yanked it out! Steve’s spear wasn’t coming out & exertion is not wise, so you see it in the photo. Bonus, the 23# hogfish became my new personal best! (My backdrop save was 1 of 5 I’ve made on buddie’s carbos.)

Spearing Tips: Get a long-range free shaft speargun & mount 2 more spears & a narrow spot light. Line shafts are slow & can be entangling, occasionally drowning a big fish shooter. I know guys missing fingers. A stiletto knife, a hoop stringer, Dyneema or Kevlar gloves. Long freedive fins & a low volume opaque skirt mask. All spearos get a good buddy & training. Be prepared for many drops. Technical Spearfishing & Tech Dive Training is recommended deeper than 132-ft.

Steve & Chad, 87# carbo.

Call or text Chad Carney at 727-423-7775

Captain Chad Carney – Diving Instructor & Journalist
mobile: 727-423-7775
e-mail: chad.carney@yahoo.com