Pompano makes for great table fare and is fun on light tackle. This species is not usually targeted but is more of a target of opportunity. However, if you are looking to go out and fish for Pompano specifically, we will cover some basics to help get you started.
What Is A Pompano?
Pompano are an inshore fish species that closely resembles a small Permit. Small Permit and Pompano are commonly confused with each other. Pompano only reach sizes of 8-10 inches and 2-6lbs, while Permit can get much bigger and weigh in at 40lbs. Pompano and Permit are both members of the Jack family. Pompano themselves are a schooling fish and due to their natural efficiency for speed and maneuvering are great fun on light tackle.
What Do Pompano Eat?
Pompano have a pretty basic diet, usually consisting of shrimp, crab, and sand fleas. It is due to this diet that they are one of the tastiest inshore species in Florida.
When Is The Best Time To Fish For Pompano In Crystal River?
Pompano area available in Crystal River through a good chunk of the year. You will start seeing action in the Spring, but Summer through Fall is the peak time to target this species. Generally, this species avoids the extreme cold, but seems to do best when temps start cooling in the Fall.
What Is The Rod, Reel, and Tackle Setup For Pompano?
While Pompano fishing can take place in a few specific environments that may change your setup a bit, there are general rules of thumb you can apply to any setup. Running a light inshore fishing rod and reel combo (like this) will be the start point for your rig. Generally a 7′ 6″ med-light, fast action rod with a 3500 series reel. You can run a 10-12lb braid mainline with a 12-20lb fluoro leader.
If using shrimp or crabs, a simple 1/0 circle hook will do the trick. Alongside, if using bait in the surf you will need to weight your setup with something like a 2-3oz pyramid weight to help secure your presentation through the wave activity.
Most Florida Pompano fisherman utilize a Pompano Jig. A Pompano Jig is usually a small weighted bucktail jig, usually purchased in either white, pink, or chartreuse. Banana Jigs are also a common choice. You can up your odds by tipping these jigs with a piece of shrimp.
Where To Find Pompano
During the peak season, Pompano can be found schooling along the grass flats, channels, and surf (as well as piers). When in the surf they generally run really close to the beach and are within easy casting distance. On the flats and other inshore and nearshore fisheries by boat, you will need to spot their activity. In knee-deep or shallower water Pompano can wake the surface. Also, they can switch to eating baitfish when the crustacean supply gets low, so spotting them eating glass minnows off the surface is also a possibility.
Can You Catch Pompano On A Crystal River Fishing Charter?
You can definitely catch Pompano on a Crystal River fishing charter, an inshore charter is the best bet. However, due to their erratic behavior and constant movement specifically targeting Pompano on a charter is usually not a wise choice. Most fishing guides consider this species a target of opportunity. That said, they are caught during the peak seasons and when available on these types of fishing trips.