Surf Casting Florida
Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.
Where are pompano found?
Pompano can be found along the beaches, inlets, inland sand bars, inland islands, around bridges with sandy bottoms in the grass flats and just about anywhere else where there is sand and food for them to eat. They will school in very large numbers as they migrate around the state searching for food and their optimal water temperatures.
The optimal water temperatures for a pompano are between 65 and 75 degrees. You can catch them in water a few degrees lower or higher but that 10 degree range is their favorite. Pompano are fast growers and grow about a pound a year if there are enough available food resources for them.
I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, mangroves, grass flats and just about everywhere else around Florida for more than 40 years. I have found pompano in all sorts of different places over the years. Pompano can be found on the beaches, inlets, inland islands, bridges, grass flats and just about anywhere else where there is sand and food.
In the article below, I will teach you the best places where you can find pompano.
Let’s get started.
Watch the video below to learn where to find pompano off of the beach.
Where are pompano found on the beaches?
When most people think of pompano, they think of them on the beaches. Beaches and pompano go together like peanut butter and jelly. Pompano will travel down the beaches of Florida based upon the water temperatures that they are comfortable in.
The sweet spot for pompano is around 65 to 75 degrees give or a take a degree or two on either side of that range. They are moving North and South to find those warmer or cooler water temperatures that they like.
In other words, they will head North when the water temperatures move towards the 80 degree levels where they are. Conversely, they will head South as the water temperatures move into the low 60s where they are.
During the lower parts of the tide, you can find the pompano out on the farthest sand bars they are looking for pockets of deeper water where they can still forage for food. During the higher parts of the tide, you can find the pompano much closer to the beach. They are often feeding right along the trough 5 or 6 feet from the beach during the higher parts of the tide.
You can find pompano anywhere from the outermost sand bars to right at your feet during the various tide levels at the beaches that you are fishing at. Your job is to cast your baits out to various distances until you figure out where the pompano schools are where you are fishing.
Where are pompano found around inlets?
Pompano have an up and down relationship with inlets. Inlets are very dangerous places for the pompano to cross during their migrations. There are lots of sharks that will eat those schools of pompano when they attempt to cross the inlets so they are very wary of inlets.
On the other hand, pompano will use the inlets to travel inshore to feeding grounds around the sand bars that are usually formed my the strong currents that are associated with the abundant sand bars that from in and near the inlets all over the state of Florida and anywhere else that pompano migrate to.
In my area, last winter, the pompano moved into the inshore sand bars, island, grass flats and stayed within the Indian River Lagoon. The other fishing guides like me presume that they stayed in the river because the shark activity was so intense around the local inlets in our area.
The assumption is that the pompano came into the inlets to feed and the sharks kept them from coming out and running down the beaches as they normally would. It was the inshore fishermen who were catching all of the pompano last year instead of the surf fishermen that would normally get the lion’s share of the pompano off of the beach.
Pompanos love to forage for food in the deeper cuts between the sand bars that from around inlets. The key to catching them is to get your baits down to the bottom quickly. If you don’t, then you will often end up catching jacks, bluefish and ladyfish instead of those delicious pompano.
When you are fishing with pompano jigs or other lures you really have to bounce those lures on the bottom to get the bites that you want. In the middle and upper parts of the water column you will run into those other species of fish that you don’t want to catch.
Watch the video below and learn more about catching pompano with lures where they are.
Where are pompano found on the grass flats?
Schools of pompano often make there ways to the grass flats to forage for crabs and shrimp around the sandy potholes and sandy outskirts of the flats. When I catch them on the grass flats it is normally accidental. I love to drift the grass flats targeting speckled trout, snook and redfish with small plastics on an 1/8 ounce jig head.
Pompanos will sometimes eat small fish and you can catch them with small jigs on the grass flats. All grass flats have sandy spots in and around them. They have sandy channels, sandy potholes and the sandy outer boundaries where the grass flats end are all great spots to find pompanos inshore.
Jigs are your best bet for catching pompanos on the grass flats. You will want to bounce those jigs in the sandy parts of the grass flats until you figure out where the pompano schools are feeding. They will move often on the grass flats so be prepared to move with the schools if you can keep up.
Where are pompano found around spoil islands?
Florida has many thousands of natural islands and spoil islands cause by dredging the channels around the state. Whether they are natural or man made does not matter to the pompanos. All that they care about is the sandy channels that are usually on at least one side of those islands.
As the tide comes and goes around those islands, it brings food to the pompanos. The current will sweep up small crabs and shrimp and the pompano are waiting to gobble them up. This is another great spot to use a jig on the sandy bottoms to catch pompanos with lures. You can also use a pompano rig if there is not a lot of dead grass to foul your hooks.
A pompano rig with small pieces of shrimp is a great way to catch pompanos around the inshore islands of Florida. I often see commercial pompano fishermen anchored in deep channels between the spoil islands in my area. They will have 6 different rods set up all around their boats to maximize their catch once they find the schools of pompano.
Where are pompano found around bridges?
Pompano can be found around the bridges whose pilings are surrounded by sand. You have probably noticed that pompano and sand go together. If you want to catch pompanos, then find a place with some sand and food for them. The pompano will come in from the beaches and feed around the pilings of the bridges near those inlet mouths.
You can find pompano miles from the nearest inlets but the ones close the inlet mouths with a lot of current flow are often the best ones to find the pompano at. It is very easy to tell when the pompano are running around the bridges.
The pompano fanatics will be shoulder to shoulder on those bridges seeking out those delicious pompanos. The favored approach to catching pompanos on the bridges is vertical jigging.
The bridge fishermen will have pompano jigs or banana jigs and let it sink to the bottom. Then they will give it a couple of quick twitches to make it rise off of the bottom by a foot or so. Then they will let it sink back to the sandy bottom again. That technique is a very effective one to catch the pompanos when they are foraging around the bridge pilings.
Pompano can be found in all sorts of different environments. They are usually found along the beaches but they are also found inshore around islands, bridges, sand bars, grass flats and just about anywhere else that has sandy spots for them to forage for their favorite foods.
The key to finding the pompanos is to know the water temperatures where you are seeking them out. They like a certain water temperature range and if you can find that range, then you can catch a ton of pompanos.
You need to find the correct water temperatures, sand and food to find the pompanos in your area. If you can find those three variables, then you will increase your chances of catching some delicious pompanos for dinner.
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