Very few fish get the locals as excited as do pompano when they start to “run”. While they fight as hard as a fish three times its size, the incredibly delicious flesh is the attraction. Pompano fishing is fun and they are fantastic eating! These smaller cousins to the permit are caught in the passes, over the grass flats, and off of the beaches. Small jigs, live shrimp, and sand fleas are the top baits. Often times the fish can be seen “skipping” on the surface as a boat drives over them, giving away their location. They bunch up, once a pompano is hooked, that area should be worked thoroughly.
Both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass are top spots to hit when pompano fishing. Pomano use the passes as a vitual fish highway as they travel back and forth from the bay and Gulf of Mexico. Small, heavy jigs that bounce off the bottom while the boat drifts catch a lot of pompano. A small piece of shrimp can be added to help get more bites. Pomano fishing can also be productive on the grass flats inside the passes. The same jigs that work well for speckled trout will catch pompano when they are around. Live shrimp work well, too. Patchy grass with open sandy spots are generally more productive that areas of solid grass.
Pompano are a favorite target of anglers that surf fish the Siesta Key beaches. Mole crabs (better known locally as “sand fleas”) are the best bait and can be caught right in the surf and used immediately or bought frozen at local bait shops. Fresh shrimp are the second choice, followed by small jigs. Cooler months are good times to target pompano in the surf, especially when the water is clean. Whiting and other species will be landed as well.