SURF & PIER
Since we had a mild winter, March may be the month of the pompano. The picture of Pompzilla is from mid-February 2019. I caught it in Melbourne, with a piece of fresh clam. The water was 65 degrees. That is chilly, but it is also the temp that pompano feel comfortable migrating into. They will show up first in our southern zones of Ormond, Flagler, and Crescent Beach. A great tool to find the best water temperature is marine.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_data . When the temp gets right, 65 to 70, the pompano will be there.
What kind of bait should you use? There is a small clam that lives year round on our beaches. The correct name is Donax. They are also called Periwinkles or Coquina. There are fish that are specialized in eating clams and crabs whole. These are whiting, redfish, black drum, and pompano. They all have crushers at the back of their throats. In the spring, when the water is chilly and sand fleas are hard to come by, use clams. Either fresh from the seafood market, frozen, or salted, they all work.
The big pomps migrate first. This is because they can stand the colder water better. All of the six pound-plus fish I have caught have either been really early in the spring, or late in the fall. So when you set up, be sure to set your drags light. You may just hook into the new nine pound world record.
The standard two hook double dropper rig, is the standard in surf fishing. I prefer 2/0 circle hooks with a white float on top, and a tangerine color bead on the bottom. The fish finder or sinker slider rig works well also with the same size hook. Whichever rig you use be sure to use as much weight as necessary to hold bottom where you cast to.
DO NOT FISH IN DIRTY WATER! Do not waste your time. Sandy green is ok, but not brown surf water. Keep driving, while checking spots along the way, until you find good water. Remember, almost always, the water is cleaner on one side of an inlet than the other. January and February were so slow here in northeast Florida because of the chilly water. I am so looking forward to seeing those rods doubled over with my toes in the sand! See you on the beach!