Florida Pompano

FLORIDA POMPANO (Trachinotus carolinus) OTHER NAMES: Pompano, Carolina Pompano

RANGE: All Florida coasts.

HABITAT: Florida anglers on both coasts catch most of their Pompano from the surf, or from ocean piers; however, many are caught outside the beaches and also from bays, mostly in or near channels that run through flats.

DESCRIPTION: Silvery overall with yellow on underside. Dorsal fin dark; other fins yellow. Head gently rounded. No scutes forward of tail. Pompano are often confused with small Permit of similar size, but Permit usually show a black blotch under the pectoral fin, and their bodies are deeper.

SIZE: Averages 1 pound; fairly common at 2 pounds and can grow to 8 pounds. World and Florida records 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

FOOD VALUE: Reputed to be the best.

GAME QUALITIES: Tops. Will outrace and outpull a Jack Crevalle of equivalent size.

TACKLE AND BAITS: If fishing the surf or piers, use the lightest surf spinning tackle that will get your bait where you want it. In other situations, spinning or light baitcasting tackle with 6-8 pound-test line gives maximum sport. By far the best natural bait is a live sand flea (sand crab), but Pompano also will bite live shrimp or fiddler crabs andÐwith varying dependabilityÐdead sand fleas, dead shrimp, clams and cut squid. Pompano are ready strikers of artificial jigs, the Florida favorite being quarter-ounce or half-ounce models with short nylon skirts. Fly fishermen catch Pompano with Bonefish-type flies that sink wellÐthose with epoxy heads or lead eyes.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing.

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