June 06, 2012
This hogfish was shot by Tom Jones during a June diving trip to the Middlegrounds out of Crystal River. The fish, Jones says, might have been a world record fish but for the fact that “I gutted him before weighing him at 21 pounds on a certified scale. When whole he likely weighed 24 to 25 pounds. He was almost 36 inches long and over 13 inches across.” Jones continues, “BTW if you decide to use the photo make sure and include in the caption that I want to thank my buddy ‘Dixie' for taking the first shot and missing….thus allowing me to kill my record fish!”
So many species are more widespread in Florida waters than most people know about, except for the divers who go down and see for themselves. Stone crabs, lobster, yellowtail and hogfish range much farther north than a lot of hook and line anglers at first think. In South Florida and in the Keys, with their clearer waters, it's pretty easy for freedivers to catch sight of a lot of these fish and shellfish, but elsewhere in the state, you're probably going to need tanks to get to them.
Hogfish is a great target for spearing anywhere you can find them…they're terrific to eat, and they're not particularly skittish fish. And sometimes, if you miss with a shot, they'll move off, but they won't bolt.
FS member MrOutdoorsman35 posted a cool video of spearfishing for hogfish out of Steinhatchee—with a GoPro camera mounted on his speargun. On the thread, in addition to the action, there's some good talk about techniques for mounting cameras on spearguns. Here's the video.
Here's MrOutdoorsman35's thread.