Pompano is one of the most popular fish to catch, thanks to its amazing and delicious meat! Besides that, many anglers aim for them because of their power and aggressiveness, which is relative to their size. If you want to put your fishing skills to the test, then you need to try aiming for the Pompano, especially when in Florida.
But the question is: HOW?
Read on for my helpful guide on how to catch Pompano in Florida successfully!
How to Catch Pompano In Florida
Catching Pompano doesn’t need to be so difficult! This is a helpful guide answering all the questions on how to get a sure catch:
1. When to Start Targeting
Pompano is a flat and silvery fish that has a wide forked tail, making them powerful swimmers. They live for up to four years, weighing four pounds on average and measuring up to 25-inches long.
With its power and good size, they are fairly easy to catch, whether you are a tourist or beginner, with advanced anglers looking for giant-sized Pompano!
So if you’d like to catch Pompano, the first thing you have to consider is WHEN you should target the species in the first place.
Pompano is migrating fish, moving according to the changing water temperatures. This means that their arrivals and exits are dictated by the weather.
If the yearly cold snaps begin early, Pompano will show up just as early, and vice versa. In Florida, the best time to fish for Pompano starts in the northeast come fall, gradually moving down the coast as the waters cool.
Pompano starts to move more when the water temperatures hit 62 degrees F. They prefer temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees, with the sweet spot being about 68 degrees. So you’ll want to time your fishing according to the water temperature.
Besides that, consider the tide movement. The best times to fish are when there are incoming tides and optimal surf conditions.
2. Where to Find Pompano
The Florida Pompano can be found not just in the state itself, but in Massachusetts, the gulf, and even in South America!
You can fish for Pompano on the beach, inshore, or even from ocean-facing piers. What makes Pompano great for surf fishing is that they are closer to the beach and within a good casting range. As long as you have a nice area of the beach for yourself, you can start caching Pompano.
However, it isn’t just about having the space to cast efficiently. You should also consider the following:
- The water conditions should be between clear and stained, nothing super clear or very stained. It’s better when there is a slightly active surf that stirs up crustaceans. Don’t go for really rough or dingy waters, as Pompano won’t be as active.
- You will also want to aim for areas far deeper than surrounding waters, which are from cuts through sandbars or in deeper holes. Find rip currents, where you can encounter more Pompano, especially as the water temperatures increase in the summer.
3. What’s Your Gear?
When it comes to gear, you can either go for the minimalist approach or what commercial anglers would use.
For those who want to keep it light and catch Pompano without the frills and advanced (and expensive) equipment, here are the things you need to prepare:
- 7-10 feet surf rod
- 2500-4000 size reel with a 10-20 lb monofilament or fluorocarbon line, or a 20-30 lb braid: It’s best to go for a 4000-5000 sized reel to hold more line and keep it strong when catching Pompano
- Your chosen bait and/or lure
- Measuring device for water temperature and the like
- 1/0 circle hooks, which are big enough to handle the size of Pompano, as well as other large fish species
- Knife and/or multi-tool with pliers
- A variety of different-sized pyramid sinkers: Use the lightest weight possible, around one-ounce of pyramid weight
- Bucket or tackle bag
- Your fishing license
- Protective gear such as your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
4. The Baits to Use
The best baits you should bring with you when targeting Pompano are the following:
- Sand fleas are the absolute best bait for Pompano, which is easy to get and will attract Pompano on any given day. You can even find them on your own on the beach with a scoop!
- Using fresh dead shrimp is another productive option, which you can purchase from the bait shop or local supermarket. Live shrimp are also a good choice, but it’s difficult to keep them alive and hook them properly. If you do use live shrimp, make sure you use the smallest ones you can find
- Fishbites are great bait and you should take a bag with you every time you go fishing! They are convenient and quite effective when catching Pompano, especially when you combine them with natural bait
5. Use the Right Fishing Technique
When catching Pompano, you are using circle hooks, so you won’t be seeing it. Rather, you begin reeling and applying firm pressure as you place the hook, aiming for the corner of the Pompano’s mouth.
Expect hooked Pompanos to make parallel runs as you get them near the shoreline, which indicates you caught one. Time the retrieve correctly and let the rolling wave surf your hooked fish straight to you. This requires less pressure for landing the fish and less risk pulling your hook free.
Do you want to learn more about how to catch Pompano in Florida? Here’s a helpful video for more of a visual guide:
Wrapping It Up
Regardless of where you are in Florida, if Pompano comes, that’s where all the anglers go. That’s why it’s important to learn more about the Pompano and how to catch them based on their behavior and spawn season. And of course, make sure that you have the right gear and setup prepared!
I hope that this guide on how to catch Pompano in Florida helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and start prepping for your trip to Florida to catch some of these delicious fish!