Tampa Bay Times
The Florida Pompano: I will let you in on a little secret. This is the best tasting fish in the northern hemisphere. On light tackle, perhaps one of the most exciting species to intercept, the pompano gives a fantastic pull. The term “gold nuggets” applies to this species. The beauty of their silver and yellow image is a beautiful sight rising from the depths, an indication that dinner is going to be especially enjoyable. Catching pompano is straightforward but also depends on where you live. For the people around the Tampa Bay area, this is a “passes” and “bridges” species. The likelihood of pompano in the beach swashes and grassflats is less likely than in other parts of the state. The piers such as the Skyway (north and south), Fort Desoto (Gulf and Bay) and all the bridges up to the interior Tampa Bay are places to look for pompano. The best decision is to get your baits well under a structure rather than fishing any significant distance from it. There are many options for pompano lures. One you should always have along: The pompano jig with a fly “teaser.” Choices in colors: the yellow or chartreuses Silly Willy with a pink teaser is a solid choice. Yellow teasers also work on pink Silly Willy jigs or other combinations such as white/yellow, pink/white, and chartreuse/pink. Sink it all the way down to the bottom before working the lure. Avoid casting into a current that will take the lure toward pilings to avoid losing a lot of tackle. Working the lures on the down-current side of pilings and pads helps with this but this is also the typical location to find pompano. They must be 11 inches in length, measured to the fork and you may keep six. If pompano are plentiful, release the 11 and 12 inch fish and keep the larger ones.