Pompano fish are widely distributed in saltwater and considered a decent find by most anglers known for their extraordinary meat value. The Florida pompano is a prized possession in Florida, known by a variety of other names such as common pompano, Atlantic pompano, sunfish, butterfish, cobbler fish.
The Florida Pompano( Trachinotus carolinus) belongs to the Carangidae family. They sport a compressed, flattened body , appearing tall and thin with a silvery,white-blue body and yellow fins. They have a deeply forked caudal fin with around 20-24 anal rays. Sometimes black stripes or markings maybe seen on their body. These deep-bodied fish flash their silver sides and yellow bodies when they jump in the wake of boats in the coastal bays.
The Pompano fish are typically toothless.Their slender structure allows them to swim far and vide through narrow crevices and slits in corals and feed on a variety of species such as mollusks, crustaceans, beach fleas, shrimp, small invertebrates and fish. While feeding the pompanos travel in schools.
On an average the Florida Pompano grow up to 12 inches and weigh between 2-5 pounds. The highest recorded weight for the pompano is 8-9 pounds and about 23 inches long.
The Pompano fish are native to the inshore and offshore throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Extend from Massachusetts to Brazil,, more commonly in Florida. Also seen in and around the Virgin Islands year around. One can more commonly find the Pompano fishes near oil rigs in surf flats, and it tends to stay away from clear water regions.
Live baits are best suited to catch the Pompano fish with the mollusks, worms working best in this case. Live sand feas, live shrimp or fiddler crabs are used as baits. On the other hand dead shrimps, dead sea fleas, Coquino clams and cut squid also are remarkable baits while catching the Pompano fish.
When it comes artificial baits Fishbites, banana shaped jigs,nylon skirts, soft plastics, bucktail jigs, crappie jigs. The colour of the baits varies depending on the type of water. Typically in cleaner water, yellow, white or brown hues are best, while in dirtier or stained water bright pink or chartreuseIt is recommended to use bright-colored red, orange artificial baits to attract the attention of these fishes.
When fishing for the Pompano fish one needs to move to the “swash zone” which is nothing but the area of the beach where the ocean’s waves lap over onto the sand before retreating back to the normal water’s edge. This zone is of importance as it is in this are that the Pompano fish find their feed.
Florida Pompano puts up a terrific fight when caught. As a member of the Jack family, it’s quite tenacious as a fish and will definitely be a challenging one even for the experienced anglers.
When fishing for Florida Pompano, use small hooks as they have small mouths. As mentioned earlier live shrimp, mole crabs are used or bright colored artificial baits are used.
A 5 foot medium light rod with a 4000-5000 sized reel, 10-20 pound mon fluorocarbon or 20-30 pound braid, 1-4 pounds pyramid sinker would be suitable to catch the Pompanos. Surf anglers usually employ a longer rod to reach farther out into the surf. 1/0 or 2/0 circle hooks are fine options as well. The best leaders for pompano are 2 hook pompano rigs.When tipping a jig for pompano fish, a fingernail-size piece of shrimp will suffices.
After having set up on the beach or pier, where the pompano fish rea most likely to come in search of the sand fleas, use a spinning rod, fish finder rig, 1/0 circle hooks and light monofilament line, some may prefer to use longer, heavier rods when the current is heavy. Add a pyramid bait so as to prevent the bait from being washed to shore by the currents. Cast right into the break of surf and on the back sides of sand bars.
It is rather a simple technique, one just has to drop the jig to the bottom and repeat the process until you get bite. Since these fishes are fast moving , make sure to cast and reel in quickly.
Pompanos are migrating fish, moving according to the changing water temperatures. Pompano starts to move more when the water temperatures hit 62 degrees F. They prefer temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees.
The best time during the year is during the summer and fall as they move to offshore, shallow waters in search of prey.They usually move deeper into the water during the winter.