How to identify an African Pompano
The adult specimens are large, vertically flattened fish with bright pearlescent sides and the head is distinctively blunt. In juvenile fish, the forward dorsal rays and anal fins are very long and threadlike that sometimes stretches past the caudal fins. These ‘threads’ remain on the fish until early adulthood, but they are usually lost as the fish grows.African pompano can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the lower number of gill rakers on the first branchial arch (18-22 as opposed to 30-35 in A. indicus in the Indo-Pacific and even more in A. alexandrinus in Mediterranean and west African waters).These fish are characterized by 4-6 elongated, thread-like rays in the front part of the second dorsal and anal fins. In juveniles the first two of these rays may be four times as long as the fish. Normally, the rays tend to disappear or erode away as the fish grows. The fish also undergoes changes in body shape as it grows. The body of the juvenile fish is short and deep. The spines of the first dorsal fin are visible, though not very prominent at this stage. By the time the fish is 14 inches long, the body is more elongated and the forehead is steeper. In both juveniles and adults the body is strongly compressed. The lateral line arches smoothly but steeply above the pectoral fins. Large specimens are light bluish green above and silvery over most of the remainder of the body. They may have dark blotches on the operculum, on the dorsal side of the caudal peduncle, and on the anterior portion of the second dorsal and anal fins. Adult specimens are common at 15-30 lbs and sometimes grow to at least 50 lbs.
Where to catch African Pompano
It can be found from New Jersey south through Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish: