Friday, October 31, 2014

Pompano Week Part7

Artificial Lures for Catching Pompano

Many pompano anglers are very successful using artificial baits. Even for the diehard live-baiters out there, sometimes live bait for pompano is hard to come by, and the frozen bait just falls off the hook in the wave action of the surf if it’s not fresh enough. Fortunately in both of these situations, artificial lures work great for pompano, and we’ll discuss the best ones here.

Lures for Catching Pompano

There are many artificial lures on the market that are specifically designed for Florida pompano – and for good reason too! Most of the lures mimic a natural prey of pompano, such as a crab or shrimp, but you’ll notice that some look a little strange and nothing like the natural prey. That’s O.K. though, because for some reason, many of these lures just really work.

“Pompano Jigs” for Pompano

Walk into any coastal bait and tackle shop, or even any “big box” store that has fishing equipment, and you will see artificial lures called “pompano jigs.” These jigs will vary, but are often comprised of a fairly heavy lead weight, a sharp kahle or circle hook, and an assortment of some bright colors. Fish these jigs by letting it sink to the bottom, jigging twice before each sink.
                                         Several pompano jigs have been developed, including the popular “goofy” jig.

Freshwater Panfish Jigs for Pompano

Panfish jigs designed for targeting crappie and other panfish work great for Florida pompano. These jigs usually come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and it is generally good to have an assortment of each. Fish them as you would for a pompano jig, letting it sink to the bottom after two jerks at a time.

Commonly called “Crappie jigs,” these small 1/8 or 1/16 oz jigs are also great for pompano, and can be fished in the same pattern as traditional pompano jigs.

Artificial Flies for Pompano

Of course, we cannot forget the humble fly for catching Florida pompano. Productive flies mimic the natural prey of pompano – crabs, shrimps, and sometimes small fish – and are perfectly sized for their rather small mouths. Use a sinking fly and fly-line, as these fish feed primarily off the bottom.

A General Statement about Pompano Lures
Whereas some species require a very lifelike lure – the ones where you think for a second that one of your live mullet must have jumped in your tackle box on your last fishing trip – many of the most productive pompano jigs are very simple. They are very bright and colorful, but very simple. Whether using a jig or fly, the trick is to get your lure to the bottom, as that is where the fish will be feeding.

Pompano Week Part6

Natural Baits for Pompano

The tried-and-true method for catching pompano, natural bait is the choice of many avid pompano anglers. More commonly used on the beaches, natural baits are also effective inshore, especially within the channels on moving tides.

The Best Baits for Pompano

Pompano eat a diet comprised of mainly small crabs, shrimp, clams, and sometimes small fishes. While some of those such as the small crabs -- called sand fleas -- are easily attainable right on the beaches, others are harder to find, but can be purchased either live or frozen from most bait shops. It really seems that some baits work better than others depending on the day, so don’t hesitate to bring a variety of options.

Sand Fleas

Sand fleas, properly known as Mole crabs, live in the surf zone along almost all Florida beaches. They can be seen swimming back to the water after each wave, leaving a fast trail behind them. If you can collect these at the site you are fishing you are golden for two reasons: (1) you have bait, and (2) the fish will likely be in that area, since they will be feeding on those very crabs.

Fiddler Crabs

Fiddler crabs -- most commonly used for sheepshead -- are often overlooked when it comes to pompano fishing. Perhaps it’s the contrast of their dark coloration against the white sand that makes them stand out, but one thing is for sure – pompano love them.


Shrimp are great baits for pompano. They are cheap, easy to get live or frozen, and stay on the hook well. If you can obtain small shrimp, you will be sure to attract a few pompano if they are moving through. Otherwise, pinch off pieces about one-inch long for the hooks.


Difficult to find here in the wild, frozen clams are available at most bait shops. Clams are pungent – important for attracting fast moving pompano – and tend to stay on a hook quite well under surf conditions.
Squid is highly pungent and seems to work very well on those really turbid rough seas days, where the pompano can pick up the scent amongst the waves. It is also one of the most widely available frozen baits in bait shops. Cut the squid in small, inch-long sections. Never put the whole squid on the hook if pompano are the target.

Other Baits That Will Catch Pompano

Although it’s not unheard of that a pompano was caught on a small sardine or minnow, they undoubtedly prefer invertebrates. Any other bivalves not mentioned, for example mussels, will work, as well as the myriad of unmentioned crabs – mud crabs, juvenile blue crabs etc. – that inhabit our coasts.

Palm Beach Fishing Report

     There are big numbers of Spanish mackerel along the beaches of the Treasure Coast. They are there first thing in the morning, and then they move out and give way to bluefish, whiting and croaker. These fish seem to be biting throughout the day, along with some small pompano.
     Spanish mackerel are also biting in the Indian River, as are snook. For bigger snook, fish the bridges. small snook are also being reported on the west side. Plugs seem to be the most effective bait at this point.
     Jacks, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and some pompano are being caught along Jupiter, and some nice snook are still biting at the Jupiter Inlet.
     Jacks, ladyfish, mangrove snapper and sheepshead are holding around bridges and other structure in the Loxahatchee River and Intracoastal Waterway near Jupiter. As usual, snook are being caught around bridges and dock lights at night.
     Jacks and some Spanish mackerel have been spotted in the surf along Palm Beach, and a few ladyfish were also caught.
     The best action in the Intracoastal in central and southern Palm Beach County remains snook around bridges and docks after sunset.
     Sheepshead, jacks, tarpon, snook and pompano have all been caught in the Intracoastal around the Lantana bridge.
     Some nice snook were caught off the Spanish River Boulevard beach in Boca Raton in the early-morning hours  this week.

     The slightly cooler weather has heated up the bass bite on Lake Okeechobee. The best action is still early in the morning, especially before sunrise, but fish are definitely being caught throughout the day. The catches are getting larger as well, both the number and sizes - with several bass over 5 pounds being reported this week.
     The entire lake is fishable, and bass are being caught just about everywhere but, if the wind will allow, your best bet is fishing the outside edges and back in the grass.
     Live shiners and artificial lures are both working extremely well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pompano Week part5 Commercial Pompano Fishing courtesy of 311pope

Reading the Beach "Inside Bowl" courtesy of 311pope

From Capt. Charlie @ Fishing Center - Ft Pierce

Fall weather has arrived bringing cooler temperatures and less chance of rain. Water temperatures have been dropping with the cooler nights and fishing continues to be productive on the water. The water clarity has been improving now that the rains have slowed down. We are seeing lots of clear water around the area. Fall is a fun time to enjoy the fishing on the Treasure Coast. With winter approaching, the fish are hungry to eat as much as possible.
Trout continue to be in two to four feet of water on the grass flats. DOA shrimp works best lately for us. Live shrimp will also get you some fish. Redfish are hanging around the inlet and under the mangroves. Most are slot size and give a good fight. Snook are being caught around the jetties and bridges on live bait, feather jigs and DOA Bait Busters. There have been an abundance of jacks, ladyfish and mackerel around the river. They are feeding on the glass minnows and provide fun for everyone. It's been a fun week on the water.
As water temperatures continue to drop, remember to slow down your lures. Fish will become lethargic and not willing to move as much with the cooler water. Right now is a great time to try a top water lure in the early morning or late evening. During the day, switch to slow sinking lures and DOA shrimp or CAL shad tails. I love this time of year. Have fun and get out fishing soon!

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

INSHORE- Snook fishing is slowing down just a bit but overall remains good.  Look for the snook to be following the last schools of mullet around; and really beginning to fill into their more traditional late fall/winter homes.  Bridges with good current and deep water channels will remain very good spots to look for the snook.  As the mullet thin out, live shrimp(or shrimp style lures) will begin to be the key baits for snook.  Flats fishing around Munyon Island continues to improve.  LIve shrimp will be a good bet for catching a nice mixed bag of species along the flats now.
SURF/PIER- Still seeing a lot of action along the beach right now.  Pompano fishing remains very good for this time of year.  From the beach the pompano are biting sandfleas the best; the Juno Beach Pier pompano have a taste for Goofy Jigs and clams it seems.  Spanish mackerel action is also very good at the Juno Beach Pier, especially early and in dirty water conditions.  Small X-Raps, crappie jigs, clark spoons(w/ the bobber rig), and gotcha plugs are all catching the mackerel right now.  Scattered reports of a few redfish along the beach right now as well.  Bluefish action remains good.  Cut bait and silver spoons will work well for the bluefish.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pompano Week Part3

Rods and Reels for Pompano

Since pompano fishing varies greatly from the beaches to the inshore estuaries, there are many options available for each situation. Although some rods serve pretty much one purpose – such as a 13-foot surf rod – many rods can be quite versatile and used in many areas.

A Spinning Rod and Reel for Pompano Fishing

A spinning rod-and-reel combination is the most versatile option. Given the surf conditions are not too rough, a medium-action rod matched with a medium reel holding 8-to-12 pound test line is appropriate for either live baiting or jigging the beaches from shore. When surf conditions get rough, or the fish are just way out there, a larger fast-action surf rod with heavier line is required.Inshore however, a medium to light reel, holding anywhere from 14-down-to-6 pound test, paired with a fast action rod will give you farther casts, and more sensitivity.

 The “Perfect” Spinning Rod and Reel for Pompano:
  • A 7-foot spinning rod with extra-fast action.

    A fast action rod will not only allow you to cast farther, but will also allow for a more powerful hook set – an important factor, giving the pompano’s tough, rubbery mouth.
  • A Spinning reel with a low or medium gear ratio.

    A lower gear ratio gives you more power for reeling in pompano, a fast and powerful fish.
  • A medium spinning reel with 6-to-14 lb. monofilament or fluorocarbon line.

    The size of the line here depends on the day and area fished. In general, a lighter line setup can be used inshore and on calmer beach days, while a heavier setup is required for rough surf.

Using Bait-casting Rods and Reels for Pompano

Many avid surf fishermen prefer to use a large bait-casting rod and reel combination in the surf, as they allow farther casts when the fish are just too far to reach with a standard spinning setup.

 The Perfect Bait-casting Rod for Pompano Fishing the surf would be:
  • An 8-to-10-foot casting rod with a fast action.

    Fast action rods allow you to cast farther by giving that extra whip at the end of the cast. Coupled with a bait-casting reel, several hundred feet of casting distance will be a breeze.
  • A Conventional Reel with 12-to-14 lb. monofilament of fluorocarbon line.

    Using as light a line as possible for your reel will give you greater casting distance, and will be less visible to the fish, too.

Fly-rods for Pompano Fishing

Fly-fishing for Pompano is exhilarating. Most commonly done inshore, it can also be done in calmer surf conditions, particular on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
To pick the perfect fly-rod for pompano fishing, consider the following:
  • Fly-rods come in different sizes, called “weights.” An 8-or-9 weight fly rod is required to cast the large, sinking flies required for catching pompano.
  • A stiff, fast action rod will allow you to cast farther, and have more powerful hook sets. Remember that pompano have tough, rubbery mouths, and need to be hook-set properly.
 A General Comment about Pompano Tackle
Depending on your preference, either a medium spinning or bait-casting reel will work for both inshore and surf fishing situations, if the appropriate conditions are met. Pompano don’t seem to be necessarily leader shy, but you should always lean towards the lightest line possible to get farther casts and greater sensitivity.For fly-fishing, use a heavier fly-rod than you would think a 1-to-3 pound fish would need, since you will be needing the heavier rod to cast the sinking line and flies that are necessary for pompano fishing.

Catch 365

                              "Heavy Head, Stout Hook"

Snook fishing with large soft plastic swimbaits often calls for a deeper presentation in swift currents. Using a heavy jig head is often the best way to present these baits slowly along the bottom. Be sure to pick a jig head that has a quality hook that won't bend under serious pressure! The DDX Lures Rocket Jighead pictured is an excellent choice for a heavy jig head with s quality hook.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pompano Week Part2

             10 Pompano Tips and Tricks

On the top of every shoreline angler’s list is the Florida pompano. Known for their strong fight and delicacy on the table, the fall migration of pompano down the coast of Florida brings one of the best-tasting fish right off our coasts. Here are the Top 10 tricks for targeting this excellent fish.
                      Ten things to remember when pompano fishing:

1.Use the right bait!

Although dietary studies show that pompano are not shy to eating fish, the large majority of their diet is shrimp, crabs, clams and mussels in most areas. The top choices for bait are sand fleas, shrimp, squid, clams, mussels or fiddler crabs. The “pompano jigs” that work best imitate shrimp.

2.Diversify your bait.

3.Fish the days with 2-to-3 foot waves.

4.Learn to read the beach.

5.Use small bait.

6.Use red teasers.

7.Don’t be afraid to cast shallow.

8.Inshore, target the deep channels.

9.Fish the changing tides inshore.

10.Fish inshore when the beaches are not suitable.

When it comes to pompano fishing, every local angler will have a secret. The Top 10 tricks presented here however, will give you the background needed to become one of the best.

Catch 365

                       "A Fine Line"

When filling a spinning reel it really is a "fine line" (no pun intended), between too much and too little line.  Too much line leads to tangles, wind knots, and aggravation. While too little line causes shorter casts, slower retrieve, and less capacity.  Using the manufactures suggestion is a good starting point (Example 200 yards-10lb), but not always exactly the right answer.  Try to find that "sweet spot" when filling your reels to get the most performance out of them!

Sebastian Inlet Report



Fishing action at the inlet has been excellent over the weekend. Reports indicate that hookups were constant during the day. Jacks provide most of the continuous action, mixed with Snapper, Snook and Mackerel. A few overslot Redfish are being landed and released.
The Jacks are hitting both live and dead mullet. Shrimp continue to do well for most fish and those using greenies are having good luck. It is a beautiful time of year to fish the inlet and predictions are for a great Fall and Winter season this year. Mullet are staged in the St. Augustine area and could represent an extended mullet run in our area following the next cold fronts. Bluefish are showing up off the beach and should also move in soon. With a few sizeable Flounder being caught, and the Spanish Mackerel beginning to show up, all points to a great season. 

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Inshore yesterday was very good with some nice reds to the north around Queens Cove to Harbor branch soft baits have produced the best. 

   photo courtesy of Mark of
There has also been some nice trout around live mullet and pigfish have been the bait of choice for them,The snapper bite is still good around the bridges and on the channel edges.The snook fishing has been ok around the bridges with live bait on the outgoing tide with a few big tarpon around to.

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's getting that time of year again cooler days, cooler water which can only mean............


This week On Foot Angler will be looking at this Fun to catch, Hard Fighting, Good Eating Fish 

Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), a member of the Jack family (Carangidae), is a seasonal favorite in Florida. It is a bright silver color, often having a bit of yellow coloration on the belly and underside of its head. It is often misidentified as its larger cousin, the permit (Trachinotus falcatus), which grows to a much larger size. To give you an idea of the quality of meat from this fish, Florida pompano fetches the highest price per pound of any food fish in the USA aside from Bluefin tuna. Individuals reach maturity at 14 inches, but large adults have been caught as long as 25 inches and weighing over 8 pounds. These highly desirable fish can be found from Massachusetts to Brazil, but are missing from the Bahamas.

Pompano Week Part1

Catching Pompano 101

Whether you’re on the beach, the pier, or inshore on the seagrass flats, when pompano are in town it seems that everyone takes notice. Most anglers await the southern migration of Florida pompano each year, and regret the days not fished when they migrate back north.
The hype about Florida pompano breaks down to three basic reasons: (1) they are one of the best tasting fish in the sea, (2) they are fairly easy to catch, and (3) being a member of the jack family, they put up a great fight! This article will give you a summary of everything you need to know to catch the ever-popular Florida pompano.

When to Find Pompano

Florida pompano migrate south for the winter, and back north for the summer, moving to find their preferred water temperature between 70-to-80°F. Although in depends on the year, pompano usually start appearing in northern Florida around October, and are well dispersed throughout the state by December or January. As the water starts to warm in the spring, most of the Florida pompano have migrated back north by April or June.

Where to Catch Pompano

The most popular area to target pompano is in the surf. This can be done either from shore, or from an ocean-side pier. The best time to fish the surf is in moderate wave action, just enough to stir up the small crabs and clams that the fish love to eat. The other popular area to target pompano is inshore, where the fish move during days of either too low or too high of wave activity. Here, they’ll mostly move with the changing tides, feeding in the sea-grass on high tides.

Tackle for Pompano

Florida pompano can be targeted in either the surf or inshore waters, and by several methods such as shoreline, pier, or fly fishing.

Spinning tackle for pompano fishing

A medium spinning reel spooled with 10-to-14 pound test line is suitable for both moderate surf conditions and inshore fishing. On heavier surf days, a larger reel, one that can hold around 20-pound test line may be desired for casting the large sinker needed to keep your bait in place.

 Bait-casting tackle for pompano
A bait-casting setup is recommended on days of rough surf when you need to cast your line farther to avoid the breakers, and in areas where you will be targeting the fish in deep channels under structures. The extra leverage of a bait-casting reel will allow you to pull the fish up before they wrap you around the piling – remember that pompano are members of the jack family, and pack a punch for their size.

Using flyrods to catch pompano

Fly-fishing for pompano is a highly underrated method for catching this great fish. Since the pompano’s mouth is fairly small, flies mimicking a small shrimp or crab are very effective for catching them. The best areas to fly-fish for pompano are the sea-grass flats and surf zones (when wave periodicity is longer – several seconds between each wave).
Baits for pompano
The diet of Florida pompano consists of primarily invertebrates – crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels. Although they will eat small fish as well, use what they eat most of the time as bait. Sand fleas are by far the most appetizing, but shrimp, squid, clam, small blue crabs, and fiddler crabs all work well, too.

Lures for pompano

Many lures are marketed as “pompano jigs.” These jigs mostly mimic shrimp, and are big enough to catch a pompano’s eye, while small enough to allow a hook set in their small mouths. There are many other lures that will work as well, such as common freshwater pan-fish jigs, small spoons, and other small jigs. They key is that all of these are pretty heavily weighted, as pompano feed primarily off the bottom.

From Henry & Fred @ Snook-Nook - Jensen Beach

Surf anglers had a less than favorable week starting rather nicely then came the wind, went from 2oz to  4oz in a very short time.  From a 3/4 oz spoon for Blues and Mac’s to a 3oz just to get it out there. It is Sunday and the wind finally slowed, Blues,Macs and Jacks topped the list but there were few Pompano to report just no anglers to report, must have all been blown away.

        East side or west side of the river just depends on the wind direction. 

Catch 365

                  "Timing the Tides"

Snook, more so than many other inshore gamefish, feed heavily based on the tide.  Lazy by nature; snook use the tide to their advantage, letting baitfish and shrimp sweep right over their heads where they become easy targets.  However, finding just the right part of the tide is a bit more complex.  Too much current can be a problem, as can too little current.  The end result (for most places) isn a 30-45 minute window of primetime feeding conditions.  Learn how to find that window, and your snook catches will skyrocket! (Hint...Your going to have to sit through a lot of tide changes, watch a lot of boring hours tick away, and give away a lot of hours of sleep to really get those windows nailed down!)

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Inshore there was a few reports of some reds around Harbor Branch on soft baits. The snapper have been around the bridges and the channel edges live shrimp have produced the best. The beach fishing has slowed down with the bait disappearing hopefully it will show back up soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Palm Beach Report

  photo courtesy of Larry "Fishman"Finch
The beach fishing along the Treasure Coast has been great this week. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, jacks and pompano are all biting. Spoons are working extremely well. There are still some tarpon hanging around but most of them are a little too far out to catch from shore. Boats running along the beach are having success though.Trout and redfish are both being caught n the west side of the Indian River, and snook are biting around bridges and deeper docks.The beach fishing in Jupiter has also been very active, with pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and jacks all being snagged. There are still some mullet around but not in big schools, and you'll also see the occasional snook and tarpon. Casting spoons has been very effective. In the Intracoastal Waterway and Loxahatchee River, jacks, snook and tarpon are all biting around mangrove edges, bridges and docks. The best action is, as you'd expect, at night. Ladyfish and jacks are being caught in the surf along Palm Beach. Those fishing early in the morning are also reporting some snook and tarpon. Jacks and small snapper are being caught in the Intracoastal throughout central and southern Palm Beach County, but the best bite is still snook around bridges and docks after the sun goes down. Jacks, bluefish and sheepshead are all being caught in the Intracoastal near the Lantana bridge, and moonfish and sand perch are hitting at night.  There are still some decent mullet schools around the Boynton Beach Inlet and the beaches in south county. As a result, ladyfish, jacks, snook and tarpon are all being caught in the surf and near bridges in the Intracoastal.

The bass fishing has definitely improved on Lake Okeechobee. Better numbers and sizes of fish are being caught, and you can now hook them throughout the day - not just early in the morning, although that is still the most productive time to be out on the water. The fishing will continue to get better in the next few weeks, and November should be an excellent month for bass fishing. If the weather conditions will allow, your best bet is fishing the outside edges. Areas such as East Wall have been on fire this week. Artificial lures and live shiners are both working well, so it's a matter of preference. However, on windy days, throwing artificial lures back in the grass is the way to go.
 The current water level on Lake Okeechobee is 15.75 feet.
report courtesy of Palm Beach Post