Pompano h-o-o-o. The cry has gone out all over Palm Beach County. The pompano are running up and down the beaches with anglers catching their limits on an almost daily basis.
For those who are not familiar with this delicate, white flakey fish, you are missing out on possibly the single best part of living near the Atlantic Ocean during the spring.
Pompano are best when cleaned, skinned and broiled with a light mayonnaise coating, but also are sumptuous fried, baked or grilled.
The size limit for pompano is 11 inches to the fork of their tail, and each angler is allowed six per day. The average fish tips the scales at 2 to 3 pounds. This time of year produces several fish larger than 5 pounds.
As you make plans for this weekend, count on the pompano bite early in the morning. Take a bag of frozen shrimp or sand fleas and enjoy catching, as well as eating, this fine inshore species.
Offshore report: Last weekend was blown out by a passing cold front that clashed with a high-pressure system to create very unfavorable conditions on the seas. As we move into April, the winds are switching back to southeasterly, but also bringing showers in the afternoons. Up-to-date reports are almost impossible to come by, but it is a sure bet that this wind and weather switch will have the dolphin and sailfish fired up. I recommend live bait. Blue runners, goggle eyes and ballyhoo work incredibly this time of year. It is worth the extra effort to fill your bait well prior to running offshore.
If you have bait left over after trolling, hit your favorite wreck, reef or rock structure. Amber jacks are devouring anything they can find. These fish are not timid, nor easy to catch. They have been known to make grown men cry in agony from the back- breaking fight.
Inshore report: As I mentioned previously, pompano h-o-o-o. Pompano are being caught along the beaches and on the piers in the area. They are feeding heavily on sand fleas, shrimp and pompano jigs. Using a "bagley cannon ball pompano jig" is working well, but fishing sand fleas is most productive.
Several anglers have reported large schools of bluefish and jacks running the shoreline. I personally like to throw a "heddon zara spook" that has been modified, drilled out and weight added, to generate an exciting top water bite. The beach is really the best spot this week and is not to be missed. Get out early to avoid any potential afternoon showers.
Is there something more you would like to see in this article? Send an e-mail with your suggestions.
Rob Fielding is an addicted angler and the owner of Sharkey's Tackle in Jupiter. For more information, call (561) 630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.