How to Catch Pompano

how to catch pompano
A favorite fish to catch for most surf and pier anglers across Florida is the Pompano. They are rated as one of the best tasting fish in the sea and one of the best fighters pound-for-pound.

Where to find Pompano

pompano2Pompano migrate along the entire coast of Florida.  They can be found from the Atlantic border with Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico border with Alabama.

Pompano primarily are found along the surf line.  They are most frequently found in the trough between sandbars feeding on any crustaceans that are churned up by the breaking surf.

When to find Pompano

Pompano are highly migratory fish.  They are on a constant search for the perfect water temperatures and travel north in the summer and south in the winter to find the water conditions that they favor.  Pompano will migrate many miles to stay in the 78-82 degree water temperature range.  Most parts of Florida will have a fall and a spring run of Pompano.  Keep an eye on surf temperatures to know when they will be in your area.

Equipment for catching Pompano

While Pompano are one of the hardest fighting fish, pound for pound,  found in Florida they do not get very large.  Because of their relatively small size any surf or inshore gear will work just fine.  When fishing in the surf longer rods and heavier lines can be required for longer casts, but when pier and dock fishing, a 10-15 pound class spinning combo will work very well.

pompano1How to Catch Pompano

Pompano almost exclusively eat crustaceans, with a rare bait fish as the exception.  The most effective live bait is sand fleas (also known as mole crabs), followed by fresh clams and fresh pealed shrimp.

The best place to catch Pompano is in the surf, between sand bars.  Cast into the through (the area of deeper, calmer water between breaking waves) with a double dropper set up.  Use a sand flea on one hook and clam or shrimp on the other.  When the Pompano start to feed, pay attention to which bait is producing better and put it on both hooks.

Some anglers have great success using Pompano Jigs.  These are VERY popular and South West Florida and are used with great sucess from piers and docs.

Florida Pompano Regulations

  • 11″ (measured to fork of tail) minimum size
  • 5 fish bag limit
  • Accurate as of 7/28/14

More Pompano Information