The first step in targeting a specific species of fish is to figure out what they like. A pompano likes;
• Water temperatures from the mid 70’s to the mid 60’s
• Sandy spots near grass flats
• The beach
• Abundant forage opportunities
Florida pompano like the water temperatures to be between the mid 75 degrees and 65 degrees. This is when they are most actively feeding. If the water temperatures climb to above 80 degrees or down to the low 50’s they can die. One of the keys to finding where these fish are is to find the right water temperatures. They will migrate from north to south and vice versa to find the right water temperatures. They will also migrate from inshore to offshore to find comfortable water temperatures.
A fisherman interested in catching “pomps” inshore should look for sand bars or sandy spots near grass flats or deeper channels. They are sand specialists and like to feed on shrimp, crabs and small fish. They will root around in the sand to find hiding shrimp and crabs to eat which is why sandy spots are the key to finding these fish inshore.
Most fishermen catch “pomps” off of the beach. These fish can be found chasing their favorite prey item the mole crab a.k.a. sand flea. The mole crabs can be found buried in the beach sand just within the upper wave line. They stay buried until a wave passes over them and they deploy their plankton catching claws to feed themselves. This is why fishermen can catch these fish within feet of where they are standing if the sand fleas are prevalent.
They key to finding most predatory fish is to find their food sources. An abundance of sand fleas in the surf or shrimp in the grass flats or schools of small fish can often signal the presence of schools of pompano. A fisherman should use whatever lure most closely matches what they are feeding on.
The 3 best lures to catch a pompano depends upon the angler but this fisherman prefers;
• Scented baits
• White paddle tail swim baits
• Orange or pink feathers
The pompano has a much evolved olfactory system. This means that the more odor molecules your bait has, it will have a higher probability of being found. There are many different brands or scented baits on the market today. My favorite is a white, scented, artificial 3 inch plastic shrimp lure.
A white shad swim bait with a paddle tail coupled with a red jig head can be a deadly combination for unwitting “pomps”. When they are targeting small bait fish anglers should match the hatch and fish with similar looking lures.
The third type of lure is the feather jig. These fish like pink and orange colors for some reason. Maybe because it mimics the colors of the shrimp and crabs that they prey upon. When these fish are running inshore, fishermen will be shoulder to shoulder vertical jigging for these delicious fish from bridges.