Over the past few weeks, pompano have started to appear around the passes and along the beach. These tasty members of the jack family are one of the most difficult fish to find and keep track of. Just when you think you’ve figured out a reliable time and place to catch them, they usually disappear. It is this challenge that makes them a favorite target of veteran inshore anglers. Many an old salt will become very inquisitive if you mention that you caught a pompano or even saw one jump. Pompano feed on crustaceans and small mollusks such as coquina clams. In the summer they like to be where strong currents or waves swirl the sand off the bottom, exposing their prey. The edges of inlets are one of their favorites. The swash channels between the outer sand bar and the shore can also be good. When hooked, it’s common for them to jump multiple times. This is also how most pompano hunters find them. Running a boat along a sandy dropoff or sandbar often sends multiple pompano soaring and skipping across the surface. If you see this, start casting before they vanish again. The most common rig for pompano is known as a goofy jig. These molded-lead lures have a fast, up-and-down action that the fish like. When it comes to jig color, an experienced pompano enthusiast once told me: “The color does not matter … as long as it’s yellow.”
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.