April 13, 2024

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Pompano Fishing: An Angler’s guide to Florida

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Pompano fishing in Florida is a rewarding challenge for many. This species puts up a tough fight but leaves anglers with excitement and victory once in the boat. This fish is also known for its easy fillets and scrumptious taste, making delicious meals for any successful fisher. Whether you catch one – big or small – you’re sure to have an enjoyable time and possibly some dinner!

In this article, I’ll run you through exactly what makes Pompano fishing in Florida so special. I’ll introduce you to top spots, most effective techniques, regulations, and more. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be through with the theory and ready to get out on the water. Let’s dive in!

Pompano: The Basics

Pompano are part of the Carangidae family and are very similar to Jack Crevalle and Permit. In fact, you may even get Pompano and Permit confused – I know I sure have! They all have flat bodies with tough skin, forked tails, and short snouts. And their colors are pretty similar as well.

Photo courtesy of Reel Healin Outdoors – Guided Surf Fishing

A difference you can keep in mind when identifying them, is that Pompano have yellow patches along their stomach, fins, and chin. In addition, Pompano are usually a lot smaller than Permit and Jack Crevalle – their maximum length is less than 17 inches and they almost always weigh under 3 pounds. Don’t let their smaller sizes fool you though, as they put up quite the fight!

As you can harvest them, many people out there have no problem taking home their catch. Indeed, you can find them on many menus. Pompano one of the tastiest seafood dishes out there, and they’re often worth quite a penny.

Where to Go Pompano Fishing in Florida

You can find Pompano in Florida by taking a look around some of their favorite habitats. The list includes surf zones, beaches, piers, bridges, oyster beds, sandy or grassy flats, bays, passes, inlets, and offshore deeper waters as well.

Pompano also typically prefer water higher in turbidity, which causes things to stir up and make the water a little murkier. They can travel in water as deep as 130 feet, though they usually like to hang around shallower regions.

The best place you’ll probably locate Pompano is in surf zones. Here, they gather in larger numbers as it provides a shallower region where waves often kick up the sand. The fish like to gather around the sandy bottoms as, when the waves kick the sand up, it often will cause small crustaceans to arise and become easy prey. Small crustaceans are tasty treats for these guys, so you’ll find better numbers of them in this habitat.

You can find your way to some Pompano hotspots whether on land or on boat. With access to a boat or by using a fishing charter, you can make your way to the hottest fishing spots. Take a boat to the shallower, sandier inshore regions and make your way towards some oyster beds or inlets, too. If you’re on land, there are plenty of piers and bridges all around Florida where you can access waters that are that little bit deeper.

Florida Pompano Fishing Tips

As mentioned previously, small crustaceans are a big hit for Pompano. Therefore, you’ll have the best luck with these baits. When Pompano fishing in Florida, sand fleas, shrimp, clams, crabs, and small fish are all good choices for attracting the bite.

A view from behind of an angler walking into the sea in front of his surf fishing rod that's set up in the sand, while birds fly above the crashing waves on a clear day in Florida

The best technique for live bait is to use a circle hook and attach a sinker to the line. Then, you’ll want it to sit at the bottom. Pompano will typically search the bottoms for small crustaceans and tiny fish, so that’s the best place for your bait to be.

If you want to try artificial fishing, there are a couple of lures I can recommend. The most important aspect is to have a bait that can hang around the bottom. Jigs are very effective in hooking up to Pompano, as you can bounce or drag them along the bottom. A couple of successful Pompano jigs include Bananas, Bucktails, and Eggheads. Meanwhile, D.O.A and Gulp shrimps have been pretty effective too.

The use of jig heads and plastic paddle tails come in handy, too, if you can keep them towards the bottom. You can jerk them slightly so they just bounce off the bottom, or you can drag them through the sand. Colors play a role as well, with shades of orange, green, pink, and tan being popular with Pompano.

If your preferred method of Pompano fishing in Florida is fly fishing, say no more. There are great options for fly lures out there too. You want flies that will sink towards the bottom quickly and can imitate small crustaceans like shrimp and sand fleas. As mentioned, stick to the preferred colors. Tan may be the better choice for fly lures, but you can definitely try out ones with hints of other pigments too.

A man posing on the side of a boat, while holding a 4 lb pound Pompano, over a shallow shoal in the Indian River Lagoon near Jensen Beach, Florida on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Mike Conner

Whether you like fly fishing, artificial fishing, or prefer to use live bait, there are plenty of options to help you successfully hook Florida Pompano. Once you know the right baits to use, you’re sure to have success getting them to bite.

When it comes to fishing gear, you don’t really need anything specific. A medium rod with a 3000 spinning reel, 10 lb braided line, and fluorocarbon leader of at least 20 pounds should be enough. You can always go up a little on your line if you want to. Keep in mind that there are other species out there that may want your bait too – including stronger ones with sharper mouths.

When is the best time to go Pompano fishing in Florida?

Pompano prefer cooler temperatures. Therefore, your best chance at locating and hooking them is during the colder months. When they have spawn between March and September, they travel more offshore to escape the hot waters. That being said, Pompano won’t be inshore as much during this time, although you may still find some year-round. But, once it hits those chillier months of fall, they’ll make their way inshore again.

Photo courtesy of Monster Quest FL

When it’s not so hot out anymore, the water temperatures also decrease, bringing Pompano inshore. Here, they’ll migrate into the shallower regions looking for shelter and food. You’ll also find that the earlier and later times of the day when the sun isn’t shining bright could have an influence. Once again, since the sun isn’t beaming down, the temperatures will be cooler, thus affecting the water temperature too.

When it comes to tides, strong outgoing tides produce the best results for Pompano fishing in Florida. This is because it gives them the hance to make their way into shallower areas without being exposed. In addition, the strength of the tide will cause the current to flow intensely, pushing out lots of bait fish and small crustaceans when stirring up the sand. It typically creates a feeding frenzy, and the Pompano will be highly active as they try to gather their meals.

Varying times or conditions produce good results when Pompano fishing in Florida. But a good idea is to fish along the beaches or at sandbars when the conditions are a little choppier. This is because the sand will be stirred up, and the Pompano will be more active as bait flies by.

Florida Pompano Fishing Regulations

In Florida, there are some rules put into place when it comes to harvesting your Pompano. It’s a little more flexible than other species – notably the fact that the season is open year-round. However, your fish must be a minimum fork length of 10 inches, and you’re allowed a maximum of six Pompano each day.

An infographic featuring the state flag of Florida along with text that says "Florida Pompano Fishing Regulations: What You Need to Know" against a dark blue background.

The daily bag limit applies to each person, not vessel. That means if you’re on a boat with multiple people, you can bring home a handful! But as always, be sure to only take what you need.

The allowed gear for Pompano fishing in Florida consists of hook and line, cast nets, as well as beach or haul seines. If you’re interested in learning more about commercial Florida Pompano fishing, be aware of the different regulations. Check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.

Most importantly, you must have a variety of licenses in order to commercially harvest Pompano. This is also limited to certain boundaries as well as catching equipment. If you want to learn about becoming a commercial fisherman for Pompano, you can find more from the FWC.

Pompano Fishing in Florida: Fun, Productive, and Then Some

An angler in a blue shirt, crouching on an inshore fishing boat in Florida while holding a Pompano on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Local Waters – Sebastian

Overall, you’ll find that varying locations, seasons, times of the day, and weather conditions may all still provide chances at catching Pompano in Florida. But the best chances closer to shore will be during the cooler months. Pair up with live small crustaceans and you’re onto a winner. If you haven’t yet caught some Pompano, plan a trip, gather up your fishing gear, and prepare for the tough fights of this small but mighty fish!

Have you ever been Pompano fishing in Florida? How many did you reel in? Any tips or trips to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

The post How to Go Pompano Fishing in Florida: An Angler’s Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Caitlyn Gatrell
Title: How to Go Pompano Fishing in Florida: An Angler’s Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/pompano-fishing-in-florida/
Published Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2023 11:15:22 +0000

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