March is finally here, and here come the pompano! Our Northeast Florida waters have been very chilly ever since Christmas. That was when the pompano left for destinations far to our south, like Pompano Beach! Now it’s our turn to catch these Silver Nuggets of the Surf. When the water temp reaches 64 degrees and above, it’s on!
The two main ingredients you will need, are great baits and sharp hooks. The baits of choice are live sand fleas, fresh clams, and fresh or dead shrimp. After that, are the frozen versions of those same baits. Fishbites are also an excellent choice. I have been fishing their product for the past ten years and have had great success with it. My favorite flavors are sand flea and clam; usually, one of each on a two-hook rig. The rigging is simple and goes by several names such as double dropper, two-hook and pompano rig.
The best part of using the aforementioned baits and rigs, is that you will also catch a lot of other species as well. On a typical March day, you may land whiting, blackdrum, bluefish, spot, croaker and a handful of other suspects. Set your drag light when you put it in the rod holder, because there are big bonnethead sharks and stingrays that will also crush these baits.
The next most important key to your success is knowing where to cast your bait. Longer casts do not equal bigger fish, or more fish. Learning where to cast can be had from hiring a guide like me, someone else who is very successful most of the time, or from YouTube! Just search “reading the beach”. On YouTube you will find several videos that include drone footage that really pinpoints what you seek out in the surf. The things you will be looking for are sandbars, runouts, holes, troughs, sloughs, pumpouts, and riptides. There are several names sometimes for the same things. Just learn to read the surf and fish the most fishy looking spot you can find.
I am so looking forward to filling my cooler with my favorite dinner–grilled pompano. Next month will even be better, as the pompano run will be in full swing as they return to our waters.
Till then, tight lines and good fishing. See you on the beach!