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The Tampa Bay Times

The ecosystem is resilient.    Pompano were a mystery in 2019.    Starting a week ago, they reappeared.    Small at first, their size has also improved.   Not what it was the last two years,, it seems to get better every time out there.     Pompano are an underutilized species.    It is a different kind of fishing and the results are excellent if you know what you are doing.     More important than any other time in history, exact positioning is critical.   If you get right on them, it is on.    You don’t need “bait” for pompano.     The pompano jig and teaser is all I use.   I use a yellow pompano jig with a pink teaser.   The jig is a lead lure in 1/4-ounce weight.   Loop knotted to the yellow jig, the pink teaser is something I make myself.   I prefer to make the loop knot pretty small.   It is pink fiber on a size 2 hook.    I tie flash into every teaser.   The flash is silver or gold and makes the teaser more visible.   You will catch 90% of the fish on the teaser, not the jig.    You get the lure out there and you move it where it is hopping up and down off the bottom, required to catch the pompano.    They fight great and pompano are, in my opinion, the best eating fish in the Gulf of Mexico.    
Conditions went from fairly difficult to excellent in just a couple of days time.   If we take care of the pompano fishery, this will be awesome enjoyment for decades.    Pompano have to be 11 inches.   I won’t keep one unless it is 13 inches.   The legal limit is six pompano per angler.   That is a lot of fish to use for dinners.    Pompano are easy to fillet and you can do anything you want with the meat.   

Neil Taylor is a kayak fishing guide out of Clearwater and can be reached at 727-692-6345

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