Florida pompano are found on flats along the surf during most of the year, but they will be found offshore near the oil rigs during the winter.
How to Catch Pompano
Pompano are often found in schools roaming the beaches in search of food. Light jigs and sand fleas are the preferred baits for Florida pompano. They are bottom feeders, so make sure to work your baits along the bottom.
You can stay fairly light when fishing for pompano. Medium action spinning rods and reels rigged with 10 pound line will get the job done. Some anglers do like to add a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader though since there are other fish that will eat your baits. You won’t need the leader for pompano, but you may need it if you get bit by something else while fishing for pompano.
Pompano taste great and are cooked up a variety of ways. This is one of the favorites for most saltwater anglers, so it’s usually not too difficult to know when the pompano are running in the spring. You will see plenty of locals out in the hot spots with their buckets and coolers.
When pompano are around, they are one of most targeted inshore fish among both shore anglers and boaters. The reason for this is simple….pompano taste excellent! However, pompano are not always available to anglers. During the spring, pompano migrate north throughout Florida and they can be found up the Atlantic Coast into Massachusetts and throughout the Gulf Coast. These fish can be caught from spring through fall, but most anglers report that the best fishing occurs in the spring when surface temperatures reach the upper 60s.
Most pompano are caught just off the beaches. Anglers usually target them from the surf, piers, jetties and bridges on the Atlantic coast. On the Gulf coast, shore anglers fish in all of the same areas, but the calmer water provides some excellent opportunities for anglers that have a boat. Clear water and minimal waves are the ideal conditions for targeting pompano from a boat. Sight fishing is the way to go when conditions are right and when you find a school of pompano along the beaches, you have a real good chance to catch a bunch of them. The most popular baits are live sand fleas, shrimp and fiddler crabs, although, the experts will tell you that sand fleas are the king of baits when it comes to pompano. Soft plastics and jigs can also be very effective.