Big changes: This cold front will surely change the feeding habits of many fish. After the front passes, water temperatures will teeter in the lower 50s inshore. This will definitely slow the fantastic inshore grouper bite we've been experiencing. Offshore depths will produce more grouper because water temps will be more tolerable. I would recommend fishing in at least 50 feet of water until things warm a bit. You will find at least a 4-degree water temp difference.
The right baits: Dead baits and live will get the job done, but you'll definitely start to see the easier ones (dead baits) produce the most action. A grunt fillet also attracts big fish. Smaller reef fish will tear away at the fillet, causing quite a commotion. Many times a big grouper will watch from the sidelines. After a few minutes of watching the smaller fish congregate around the fillet, the big grouper will move in, stealing it from them. I often recommend this small grunt fillet to the patient fishermen. Those who wait will get the big bite.
Further offshore: Expect amberjacks to still be a reliable source of action over all the deepwater wrecks. The deeper the wrecks are the better for these bruisers. This fall has already produced numerous banner days of catching big jacks.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at [email protected], jawstoo.com or (727) 439-2628.