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Home > Learn to Fish & Boat > Fish Species
Considered excellent table fare, pompano are a favorite meal of surf fishermen who often cook the fish whole.
The pompano will typically grow to 17-25 inches in length and its body profile is relatively short, deep, and compressed. Pompano can easily be confused with small permit, but their bodies are not so deep and they lack the permit’s black blotch under the pectoral fin. Color is typically blue to greenish dorsally, fading to silver laterally, with the ventral surface tending to be silvery and often yellow in color. There are no visible bars or stripes on the sides of pompano and the fins are dusky or yellowish in color, particularly the anal fin, which can be lemon yellow in small pompano. The dorsal fin has six spines that are set close to the body and there are 20-24 soft rays that originate behind the dorsal fin. The tail has a deep fork and is large in comparison to the body of the fish. The head profile slopes to a blunt snout, with the mouth towards the bottom of the snout, facing downward.
Pompano can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina down the Atlantic Coast to Florida and along the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. During the warmer summer months pompano can be found in the northerly range of their distribution and conversely, this fish will travel to its southern limits during the cooler winter months. Spawning occurs from spring through late fall and is generally assumed to take place offshore. Juvenile pompano can sometimes be found in brackish nursery areas with very low salinity however adult specimens can only be found in saltwater.Pompano will often spend their juvenile months in offshore waters but adults and some older juveniles prefer nearshore areas such as sloping beaches with sandy or muddy substrate, estuaries, shallow bays, piers and sand flats. When pompano enter bays, they will often patrol the deeper water and small channels around the sandbars and grass flats. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish:
The most common place to fish for pompano is in the surf. For surf and pier fishing, the best tackle to use is often very light spinning surf tackle. Most pompano can be found in very close to the shoreline on various beaches so even ordinary casting tackle, including spinning, baitcasting, and fly, will work just fine. The best bait to use is a live sand crab (often called a sand flea). Often times, anglers can dig into the sand right at the shoreline to gather enough sand crabs for a day’s worth of fishing. Live shrimp, dead sand crabs, clams and squid pieces will also work for natural bait. Artificial baits include small jigs, spoons, and pencil baits. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:
The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish:
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