Surf Casting Florida
Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.
When is the best time to fish for pompano?
The best time to fish for pompano is whenever the water temperatures in your area are between 65 and 75 degrees. That is the sweet spot for pompano. Yes you can catch them a few degrees below and above that temperature range but that is the best water temperature range.
The best time to fish for pompano is also about getting the right tides. Pompanos can be finicky so you need to know what parts of the incoming and outgoing tides are best for your region. Different regions and underwater topographies will determine the best tidal ranges to catch pompano in your local waters.
I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, mangroves, oyster bars and just about everywhere else in Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below, I will give you different scenarios that will teach you when the best time to fish for pompano in your area might be.
Let’s get started.
Watch the video below to learn the best lures and techniques to catch pompano.
When is the best time to fish for pompano during low tide?
The best time to fish for pompano during low tide depends upon a few things. Is the water temperature in the comfort zone of a pompano where you are fishing? Is the underwater topography sandy or rocky? Are you fishing the last few hours of the outgoing low tide? Are there waves or is it flat?
Let’s look at a few different scenarios that might apply to your beaches where you like to target pompano. If you don’t have the right water temperatures, then there is no sense in fishing for pompano. Make sure the water temperatures are in the range that pompano won’t want to avoid. If it is too hot or too cold the will not be there.
If the beaches where you are have a series of sand bars, then you can catch a ton of pompano on the outer sand bars with the outgoing tide. Pompano love to school up on the back sides of the outer sand bars where the tides will bring clams, crabs, sand fleas and anything else tasty right to them.
Often times the back sides of the outer sandbars will have a slightly deeper trough behind them. This is where you need to get your baits out to. They may be 80 or more yards away so you had better have a long surf rod and relatively heavy weights to get out that far. You might need a 14 foot rod and a 4 ounce weight to get to the back side of those far away sand bars.
If you can get out that far, you will want to fish the last couple of hours of the outgoing tide. That is your best time to catch a limit of pompano during the outgoing tide. During the first few hours of the incoming tide you can do quite well on the outside sand bars too. The only difference is the pompano will tend to be on the beach side of the outer sand bars during the first part of the incoming tide. You will want to put your baits on that side of the outer sand bars.
If you are on a rocky beach with a reef line, then that is going to be harder to fish during the outgoing low tide. You will have to find a deep spot on the beach side of the reef that stays a little bit deeper than the rest of the reef if you want to find fish. It doesn’t have to be very deep. It can be 24 inches deep and that may be enough of a sanctuary for pompano to feel safe and find food.
You will want to get your baits right in the middle of the deeper depressions on the beach side of those reefs during the last few hours of the outgoing tide. That is the best time to fish for pompano during the lower parts of the tide.
The best wave scenario is one that has about a 1 or 2 foot swell coming in. That is enough wave energy to dig up the clams and crabs that the pompano want to eat. BUT it is not so much wave energy that you won’t be able to keep your baits in one place.
When the waves get too big it is very hard to fish for pompano. Your baits might end up right back on the beach if the waves are too powerful. When there is a one to two foot swell is perfect time to go pompano fishing.
When is the best time to fish for pompano during high tide?
I like the last 3 hours of the incoming tide and the first 3 hours when the tide changes from high to outgoing again. That is the easiest time for surf fishing for those pompano. They might be right next to your feet if there are lots of sand fleas on your beach.
This is great because you don’t even need a surf rod most of the time. You can use your normal sized fishing rod because you might not have to cast out farther than 40 or 50 feet most of the time. The friction of the waves on your fishing line will be a lot less too. That means that you can usually go with much lighter weights on your pompano rigs.
High tide is the best time to fish for pompano but you can catch them during just about any part of the tide. It is just easier to get at them during the higher parts of the tide.
When is the best time of year to fish for pompano?
The schools of pompano can be caught in Florida from November through April. When and where they will show up to your area of Florida between those months depends upon how far north or south that you are. The northern parts of Florida usually get the first schools of pompano in late Fall. Southern Florida often doesn’t get the schools of pompano until December. It all depends upon those water temperatures that those finicky pompano like.
Pompanos are the darlings of surf fishermen from Virginia to Texas and everywhere in between. They are an addiction for some fishermen and a high paying commodity for others. They are very welcome visitors to the beaches of Florida for sure.
The best time to find them is between that Goldilocks temperature zone of 65 to 75 degrees. If you can figure out where those temperatures exist along the beach, then you have a great shot at finding some pompano.
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