With the cold fronts becoming more common (weekly) and the water temperature falling into the mid-60s to 70-degree range, the Spotted Sea Trout will start to get red hot. The Trout will begin to group up in good numbers on many west central Florida Gulf Coast shallow water flats and will feed on many live baits: pilchards, select shrimp, and pinfish to mention a few; as well as an artificial bait placed in the right location: 1/4 oz. jigs tipped with a soft plastic tail, 3"-4" minnow type, shrimp imitation, and 5" jerk shad in a variety of colors, depending on the conditions. MirrOlure Top Water plugs like the MirrOdine and the MirrOmullet work well in the shallow water also.
Redfish and the famous Snook will be looking to eat heavily as they feel the need to put on and store some protein for leaner winter months. The remaining schools of pilchards cast-netted up in the morning will turn the switch, look for days with good tidal movements before an approaching front.
The fall Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel run will go into full swing now. Many artificial reef areas and inshore hard bottom areas will be holding these speedsters. I like to use fluorocarbon leaders 40 lb for the Spanish; coupled with a #1 or #2 long shank 2x hook it works well with live pilchard or a small Johnson silver spoon. 1/4 oz. jigs with a 3" silver fleck paddle tail also work well. On the jig I use a small piece (1 foot) of #4 wire shock leader. The Kingfish require heavier tackle with 20lb. mono or braided line 250 feet, on the spool, slow trolling with conventional tackle use a short wire stinger rig.
Gag and Red Grouper have moved to an easier, closer location inshore to catch. The season for keeping fish closes in December.