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Pompano are one of those fish that are a welcome species to all who catch them. They fight like crazy, almost like a jack, since they are indeed in the jack family. They have the same basic bodies as their cousin, the jack but pompano have a wider body and a much bigger tail. This allows them to skip on the surface of the water and even jump.
When targeting pompano, or trachinotus carolinus, it's best to use light tackle such as 8- to 10-pound test on a light spinning outfit when fishing in a boat. Or, you can use a surf rod with 20-pound test when either pier or beach fishing, using a pompano rig with a large pyramid sinker attached.
Pompano will bite flies, jigs, shrimp, or sand fleas when fishing close to the bottom in a school of pompano. Most pompano are caught near the beaches in shallow water, however they do frequent bays, rivers, grass flats, inlets, and sand bars. I have even caught them in the Loxahatchee River, both in Tarpon Bay and near the River Bend Bridge.
Pompano don't grow very big; a 4-pounder is a jumbo for its species. The world record is just over 8 pounds. If you catch a larger one, you probably caught a permit, another cousin of the pompano.
Permit grow to the world record size of 56 pounds, and if you look closely, their bodies are more round. Pompano are yellow, while permit are almost pure silver in color. Permit also have a larger tail, with a black marking just under the pectoral fin.
On the table, pompano have been described as one of the best tasting fish in the world. They are strong and oily, but the taste is very palatable to most seafood lovers. Since pompano have oily flesh, it's probably best to bake or broil the fish with a nice lemon butter sauce,.with some almonds, parsley or capers. This is the time of year when pompano run. Give it a try.