Florida's Top Five Fall Fish

    By Terry Tomalin

    Anglers have been waiting all summer for fall to arrive, for every fisherman knows, when the water temperature cools, the action inshore and offshore starts to heat up. You can’t miss fishing in late September through November.

    With that said, here are the top five Florida fish this fall:

    Spotted sea trout are perhaps the most popular gamefish in Florida. Trout will hit everything from topwater plugs to bucktail jigs. Nothing beats the sight of a big gator trout bustin’ loose on the grass flats. But remember, the seasons and regulations vary around the state.

    Red Drum, or redfish as they are more commonly known, is another sportfish you will find throughout Florida waters. These bronzed brutes will break you line if you give them slack. So hook up and hold on. When all else fails, try the artificial bait choice for redfish: the weedless gold spoon.

    Snook, while hit hard by last winter’s cold front, can still be caught and released on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and if you are fishing Atlantic waters, the season is open as long as you have got a snook stamp. The good news here is that, when it comes to catch and release, snook is one of the hardiest fish in state waters.

    King mackerel, a.k.a. kingfish, will soon begin their run from their northern summering grounds to their winter haunts off the Florida Keys. Catch these tackle-busters now off northeast and northwest Florida, and then follow them down the coast.

    Grouper, one of Florida’s top offshore species, are in high demand. Anglers have a large window of opportunity to catch these bottom dwellers before new regulations may further limit the season. When fishing for grouper, as with all bottom species, start off with cut bait, get the fish going, then drop down a line pinfish. When you feel the bump, hang on.

    For a complete list of Florida’s fishing regulations, click here.