Pompano are distributed around the world in warmer coastal waters and are top light tackle targets that can give excellent sport.View 12 listings
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Where and When?
Florida pompano are indeed common in Florida and can be caught there throughout the year. They are distributed from Massachusetts southwards round the Gulf of Mexico and then round the South American coastline to Brazil and northern Argentina. They are, however, absent from some of the island groups in the Caribbean Sea. In the USA they move northwards in summer and retreat to warmer areas in winter. There is important commercial and sport angling for them from Virginia to Texas. They are a coastal species often entering sheltered bays and estuaries and can be found at depths from 1 to 70 meters (1 to 230 ft.). The pompano are often found very close inshore off sandy beaches but also, principally in summer, off rocky shores. The pompano feed mainly on invertebrates but also take small fish when the opportunity arises. They have fairly large eyes and are fast moving, feeding mostly by sight and thus fishing for them is most productive during the day and in clear water. In summer, early morning and late evening are productive while in winter the species is most active around the middle of the day. They can be caught throughout the year but feed most aggressively during the warmer months.
“Pompano” is the name generally given to members of the Carangidae family (Jacks) found in the Genus Trachinotus. They are all similarly shaped having deep, compressed bodies, blunt heads with small mouths and few teeth. Four members of the genus are routinely found in American waters including the permit (Trachinotus falcatus), the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), the gafftopsaivl pompano (Trachinotus rhodoptus), and the southern pompano (Trachinotus africanus). The gafftopsail pompano is a small species distributed from southern California to Peru and the southern pompano is sometimes found in many of the warmer coastal waters of the world including occasionally both the eastern and western shores of the USA. Southern pompano are vagrants in American waters and, as the gafftopsail pompano is localised and only grows to about 25 centimeters, most pompano fishing in the USA is aimed at the Florida pompano. This species can reach 64 centimeters in length (25 ins.) and 3.8 kilograms (8 lbs.) but is usually around 40 centimeters (16 ins.) and 0.75 kilograms (1.5 lbs). Florida pompano are a species that frequently shoals and the sexes are similar.
How to Catch?
While Florida pompano take smallish, natural baits fairly enthusiastically, spinning is the most popular way to target them. Most fishing is carried out from the shore as the species is most commonly found very close to the land. As they have few teeth and do not usually head for cover when hooked, light tackle can usually land even the largest Florida pompano. You can catch them with many types of tackle, including natural bait, but spoons, leadhead jigs and dropshot plastics can give excellent results and sport. It is easiest to catch Florida pompano in clear, but turbulent, waters such as gullies along a sandy shore. Under some conditions the fish will smash into an extremely fast retrieve along the surface while on other days they will be deep down and take a lure bumping along a sandy bottom. While clear waters are good, the fish are mostly in or on the edge of the “white” water and will dart out from cover and snatch a passing bait, lure, or jig. Some days the fish may seem to not be feeding at all but persistence and moving around will usually result in finding a place where the fish are indeed still eating. This is an excellent species for introducing newcomers to light tackle shore angling as the fish fights well and also makes a good meal.