Surf Casting Florida
Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.
What are the best pompano rigs?
The best pompano rigs are two or three sets of hooks, floats, beads and sinkers that are all tied together with mono filament or fluorocarbon fishing line and finished off with a 1 to 4 ounce sinker.
The pompano is a favorite tourist of local surf casters. These delicious and hard fighting little fish can be found on the Atlantic Coast of the United States from Virginia; all the way around Florida and all the way west to Texas.
You know when the pompano are in town because the beach will be full of 10 to 15 foot surf rods. They will be lining the beaches of the best pompano spots when the tasty silver fish are running through the area. The key to catching these fish is water temperature. They like a water temperature from about 65 to 75 degrees. Once the water gets a few degrees over 75 they head towards cooler water. When the water temperature gets a few degrees under 65 they will head towards warmer water.
I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, mangroves, oyster bars and grass flats all over Florida for over 40 years. In the article below, I will teach you everything that I know about using the right pompano rigs to catch lots of fish.
Let’s get started.
Watch the video below to learn how to catch more pompano.
So you can let water temperature be your guide to whether the pompano are in your area. Where I live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the pompano usually start showing up in decent numbers in December. They stick around my area’s beaches, inshore sand bars and spoil islands until about the middle of April and then they head North for cooler waters.
Okay. So how do you catch a pompano? It’s pretty simple actually. You go to your local bait shop and tell them that you want 5 pompano rigs, 6 or 7 pyramid sinkers ranging in size from 1 to 4 ounces and some bait. The baits for your hooks can be frozen sand fleas, frozen shrimp, clam strips or Fish Bites.
Fish Bites are a relatively new invention. It is a stinky substance that looks like a skinny piece of gum about a 1/4 inch wide. These come in bags that are different scents and different colors. They come in clam, shrimp and sand flea flavors. Any of those 3 flavors will catch pompano.
Whether you are using sand fleas, clam strips, small pieces of shrimp or small pieces of Fish Bites, you will simply put that on your hooks of the pompano rig and cast it out into the surf. Then stick the rod in the rod holder and wait for the bite. That is pretty simple right?
Not so fast. I said that it was simple, not easy. You have to figure out where the fish are. You will want to cast your baits out in different distances from the beach until you start getting bites. You may want to cast out 60 yards to the sand bar or just cast 15 yards from where you are standing.
You have to test the area to find the zone where the schools of feeding pompano are. Once you are able to locate the schools of feeding fish then you can start catching some dinner.
Watch the video below to learn more about testing the various zones in the surf to find pompano.
It is usually a good idea to test out different baits on your pompano rigs too. You may want to have a clam flavored Fish Bite on one hook. On another hook you may want a small piece of shrimp. You might have a sand flea on one hook and a clam strip on another…… The idea is to find out what the pompano are most interested in on that day. Pompano can be finicky at times so you want to give them what they want.
What is the best pompano rig? The ones that the bait will sell you are just fine to use. They will consist of a green, orange, yellow or pink float with a red plastic bead. Those colors are very attractive to pompano and you can expect some combination of them in your store bought pompano rigs regardless of where you buy them.
The pompano rigs will be tied off from the main line in a series of 2 or 3 dropper loops that extend the floats and hooks away from the main line. The distance from the hooks and the main line will be about 6 or 7 inches. This design keeps your baits off of the sand and away from hungry crabs that love to steal your pompano baits.
Pompano have relatively small mouths so you will want your pompano rig to have 1/0 or 2/0 hooks on it but not bigger. Any bigger and you will miss most of the bites and lose your baits.
Many pompano fishermen debate the effects of different colored fishing line for different colored water conditions off of the beach. Pompano definitely prefer the blue, aqua and green cleaner waters off of the beach. They tend to avoid the brown and milky waters.
This is where many pompano fishermen disagree with what color line to use. Should you use a blue line in blue water? Should you use a green line in green water? Should you use a clear line all of the time?
My answer to you is use the clear line all of the time unless you are really serious about pompano fishing. Yes a blue line will be hidden better in blue water if it is the perfect shade. Are you going to bring 5 blue line pompano rigs; 5 green line pompano rigs; and 5 clear line pompano rigs? I certainly will not bother to do that.
Clear and pink will work just fine so unless you are fishing a pompano tournament just go with the clear or pink. If you want to make your own rigs, then use a 15 to 30 pound fishing line to make your pompano rigs. You can use fluorocarbon or mono filament line for your rigs. Both will work just fine.
I wrote another article all about the best surf fishing rod length. You can figure out exactly what size you will need to target pompano on your local beaches. You can read that article by clicking right here.
Pompano are a whole lot of fun to target off of the beach. You don’t need much more than about $200 to get yourself a decent surf rod and reel and a beach rod holder. That’s all that you need to start catching pompano. You can get everything else at your local bait shop.
You should make your own pompano rigs if you are going to get serious about surf fishing for this species. It is really fun and if you are going to fish a lot it will be cheaper in the end. I like to have 10 to 12 pompano rigs in my surf fishing backpack all of the time.
When I am not fishing with lures I will pull one out and give it a try with some fish bites.
I hope that this article helps you catch more fish.
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