I am by no means the expert, but we were in Ft. Myers Beach last summer for a family reunion. The action on bait was better than artificials for me.
I was able to cast net shiners in the surf. Put them on the bottom with a wire leader and hold on. Many different kinds of fish picked them up including spanish mackerel and sea trout. Until I put the wire leader on we were getting bit off every other fish or so. The kids (and me) had fun with light tackle.
Just be careful, one of the resident sharks took a liking to a hooked up mack. As the kids,cousins, aunts, uncles scrambled off the sand bar the rational part of me said to go with them. However, I kept feeding the mack to the 4 ft. shark and tried to set the hook. I thought I had him on, as the reel started screaming for a couple of heart thumping seconds. Alas, all we were left with was a bitten in half mack...probably for the better.