Jul

25

Thanks to all who joined the Gulf Coast Diving Society at St. Andrews last weekend.  We had great conditions.  I want to thank all the GCDS divers who put on a great event and provided an opportunity for my new students, who are now new divers, to meet other active divers.  Thanks to Lewis and Sharla for doing the shopping and grilling.  Hot dogs always taste better during surface intervals, huh?

We will have a noon high tide at Fort Pickens in Pensacola on sunday, 07-31-11.  This is a good opportunity to dive P’cola pass.  Maybe hit Fort Pickens first then the new Pensacola Beach site by Portifino.  Most of the Gulf Coast Diving Society divers will be there.  This is a good opportunity to meet other local divers, get a couple more dives in your logbook and just have fun.  The plan is to meet at Fort Pickens at 10:30am and set up gear and be ready to dive around 11:00am, depending on tidal conditions.  Everyone is free to do whatever you want but the majority will do a single dive at Fort Pickens then move to the Portifino reef.  This site is in front of parking lot “H” off Pensacola Beach.

If you plan to attend and want to eat, please rsvp to Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970.  These events are always free, but Tom will need to know how much food to buy.  The GCDS usually asks for small donations ($5-$8/ person) to reimburse the club for the groceries.  If you want to help with grocery shopping or grilling call Gulf Coast Divers and we will put you in touch with Tom re: this event.

Jul

19

We have seen a huge increase in interest in diving among fisherman.  Some inquiries are from anglers searching for alternative fishing methods and many have been from sportsman wanting to see what they are fishing on.

Our spearfishing sites are the same reefs, wrecks and rigs that you are probably fishing right now.  Some adventurers begin diving and put away the rod-n-reel in favor of a speargun, but most still pursue both recreations.  Seeing the site and the way the fish stack-up on the site will make you a much smarter angler.  Being able to visualize the way fish hold on different sites gives the angler another tool to target a specific species.

Diving one of the many army tanks, sunk as artificial reefs, is always a memorable experience the first time.  We get the same comment from most divers upon surfacing; “I can’t believe it was a real army tank!”  Even though they knew it was a tank, their mind didn’t process an “ARMY TANK” sitting on the bottom.

One of our boat captains, Todd McGill, said that the desire to dive down and actually see the “Edwards” wreck is what drove him to learn to dive.  “I’ve fished that wreck for years and I had a deep desire to see the actual wreck, not just colored pixels on my bottom machine”.

How many “private” sites have fisherman given you that were “red hot” but you had no idea what it was.  These sites have lots of rumors surrounding them…chicken coup, tires, concrete culverts, pile of shopping carts or a concrete pyramid.  The reality is most look very similar on your bottom finder.  I dove a “private” site years ago that a fishing buddy said his dad put down as a reef.  He paid a reef builder to put this school bus out for them and he wanted me to go down and take pictures. “It has been a really hot site and we want to get an idea of it’s condition” he said.  I dove it and returned with his roll of film to develop…yep it was awhile ago.  I handed him his film and began describing the condition of the railroad boxcar.  “No man, this is a school bus” he exclaimed.  Even though I had just seen it, and yes it was loaded with fish, he didn’t believe me until he developed the film.  He had fished what he thought was a school bus for years.  Chances are the reef builder did put his school bus out, and he or his dad got their Loran numbers (told you it was awhile ago) mixed up in his notebook.  His disappointment had to do with the nostalgia of his dad’s site, not it’s productivity.

A fisherman’s GPS has generic site descriptions like wreck, good beeliners, hot trigger spot. A diver’s GPS has actual descriptions like shrimp boat, ½ barge, Bridge rubble, boxcar, etc.

To get a first hand look at you fishing spots, call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and ask about dive training and spearfishing.  Training can be completed in a couple weeks and you can be geared up and ready sooner than you think.  Don’t keep saying, “One day I’m gonna’ see what’s down there.”  Make that “One day” happen this year.

Jul

1

The Gulf Coast Diving Society will be diving St Andrews Park in Panama City, Sunday July 17th.  Make your plans now to bring your dive gear, friends, family and anything else you think you need to enjoy a day at the St. Andrews jetties. Plan on finding some new dive buddies or getting reacquainted with some old ones.

The park opens at 8:00 am and high tide is around 11:00 am, according to saltwatertides.com. We plan to get there sometime in the morning, before the high tide, and will start diving as soon as the conditions permit. Gulf Coast Divers will be concluding some open water training and introducing new divers to the underwater realm. This event is open to divers of all experience levels so come on down and join the fun. Remember, Florida prohibits alcohol and spearfishing at the jetties and we will be doing a site briefing for those new to the area.

We will try to get there early and claim a couple picnic tables under the pavilions at the north end of the parking lot.  The park gets very busy on the weekends and arriving late can mean a long walk with your gear.  Look for the GCDS sign or your friends.  We will have a grill with hot dogs going. For more info. and rsvp call (251) 342-2970. Please let us know if you plan on attending so we have some idea how many to expect. Hope to see you there.

Here is a link to the park brochure [link] where you can find a simple map of the park