I have had a lot of success on surface plugs on recent trips. My go-to lure has been a Rapala Skitter Walk (SW08) in a bone or chartreuse color. Working these top-water plugs is challenging for new anglers because it can take time to "get the rhythm."
I remember the first time I saw a big trout come to the surface and explode on my plug slowly clicking back and forth. Needless to say I was hooked!
Top-water fishing usually will catch bigger fish on average, but patience is key in order to get a proper hook set.
Work this bait slowly - don't set the hook when you see the strike, WAIT until you feel the heaviness of the fish.
If the top-water tactic is not producing, then I usually switch to a white Lil John jerk bait on a 1/4 ounce jig. I either work the jig near the bottom, or if there is a lot of structure I place a small cork above the jig and work it in a "popping" action.
As fronts continue to move through and winter sets in be ready to adjust your tactics accordingly.
Fish will move and might not be as aggressive in cooler water. Be ready to slow your presentation down and try a variety of baits (shrimp/cut bait) and lures (top water/subsurface).
Good luck out there, and tight lines!
Keith Tomlinson owns Bulldog Fishin' Charters, operating out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352) 238-3581. He is on Facebook as Bulldog Fishin' Charters.