Where and How do I Catch Pompano?

Hi Mr. Trull,

The #1 place to catch Pompano in Tampa Bay are at the bridges from the Courtney Campbell Causeway, all the way to the Skyway Bridge. If I had to pick the two best it would be the Skyway Bridge south pier area and the Howard Frankland Bridge. I would use a Doc’s Goofy Jig and have it from the 1/4 oz size up to the 3/4 size. Yellow, Yellow/White, Pink, Pink/White are the colors I would bring. Many pompano anglers swear by the pink teaser (see photo).

Because of the tide you will have to use the proper weighted Goofy Jig to get it down to the bottom of the water column. Besides using the Goofy Jigs, I like to use live bait with Sand Fleas being #1, Fiddler crabs # 2 and Shrimp #3. Whether I am using Goofy Jigs or live crustaceans, I always chum, chum, chum, with either the extra live bait I bring or chipping the barnacles off the bridge pilings. This will bring them to the area I am fishing or just plain old get the Pompano fired up to start feeding.


When using a live bait, you want to make sure your hook isn’t too big. A size #2, J-hook is what I use and if the sand fleas or fiddlers are small, I even go down in size. I also start with a very long 20-lb. fluorocarbon leader, at least 4 feet. If I am not getting any bites, I go down to 15-lb. and even to 10-lb. I do use braided line as my main line, but no bigger then 15-lb. test. I also find that when using the Goofy Jig or any Pompano jig, it is important to let it sink down the water column and work the jigs with a quick sharp snap of the wrist. If you are at a bridge you might not want it to hit the bottom, but just before it makes contact with the bottom start working it. If you’re fishing a beach for them, you want the jig to bounce off the sand bottom. Which brings me to this.

This is the time of year when Pompano fishing can be excellent off the beaches. The Goofy Jigs work good off the beaches also, but the ticket on the beach is using a sand flea. You can catch your own sand fleas at the surfs edge right where the waves break. There is a sand flea rake which makes catching them easy. Also when fishing the beach, you should use a fish-finder rig with the weight in the rig being a pyramid sinker. The pyramid sinker will hold in the sand better and not get washed out or rolled around back to the beach like a egg sinker. On the beach I would use a long 15-lb. fluorocarbon leader.

This story from years ago talks about catching the fish at our local (or many Florida) bridges.

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Captain David M Rieumont

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