The Florida Pompano, Trachinotus carolinus
Silvery overall with yellow on under- side. 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, 4 ounces.
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 and—with varying depend- ability—dead 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 well— those with epoxy heads or lead eyes.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing; Casting; Drifting.
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.