The Start of the Change

By: Capt. Bart Marx

October in Southwest Florida things start to change. The water should be getting a bit cooler, and this helps the migratory / pelagic species to prepare to move. Spanish and king mackerel are two that we get in our area that are fun to catch and good table fare too. The method I use is to match the hatch. What I mean is to troll some lure that are of similar size to the baits in the area. I have used a double lure system for spanish a jig followed by a spoon. Most of the time I use white buck tail jigs and a silver spoon to match the hatch. I use a fifty or sixty lb. mono leader, a piece approximately three feet long. Tie the jig on one end and the spoon on the other of the leader, then hook the spoon in the ring closest to the handle of your pole. Next, hook the jig to the first big guide up the pole, and pull the line tight toward the tip of the pole making a loop and tie a surgeon’s loop knot then attach fishing line to your loop ready to fish! For king mackerel, I use a number one planer and match the hatch spoon. Your planer is a shiny piece of metal, I like to put wire before it and after it so if a king tries to eat it you don’t lose the whole rig. And on the planer, add to the wire about six feet on fifty or sixty lb. leader with a piece of wire then your spoon. This completes your king trolling rig. Okay so much for the migratory stuff.  While you are trolling these rigs you may encounter some of the breeder reds that come to estuaries to feed then go in the Gulf to spawn. And this brings us to inshore in October it is nick named Red October, this is when the reds are in large schools in the estuaries, and these are the big girls averaging thirty inches. It is exciting to find some white bait/pilchards to use to fish for these big reds that are schooled up. In the past I have used pin fish too and shrimp. The snook fishing around bridges and docks where there is moving water, they like to ambush unsuspecting baits. And on the flats where there is grass you can find some trout starting to become more active. There may be some flounder starting to start biting too. If you would like to hire Capt. Bart Marx for a training session on your boat or come along on a charter to learn some of these methods and how and where to use them contact Capt. Bart Marx at 941-979-6517 or e-mail me at And always remember singing drags and tight lines make me smile!