Fishing for Pompano In The Wild
Looking for signs of Pompano on the Flats of Tampa Bay Florida

Pompano Fishing Calendar

| Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall |

Winter
(December through March)

Outlook: Fair.    

Summary: Look for widely scattered fish of the 1-2 lb. variety on the grass flats with some better size fish in the passes. Probably not a primary target, but worth trying as you happen on a school. Look for pompano skipping across water like a flat rock while drifting, or under motor power as this seems to startle them. Once sighted circle around and quietly anchor upstream as one fish sighted means a whole school nearby. This time of year sees the majority of the fish in and around the passes where the typical pompano jigs are most effective. These jigs are 2-3 inches in length with 1/2 -1 ounce round heads with a short nylon skirt that extends just past the hook. Yellow, white and yellow and white are effective colors. Therefore short stubby versions of the clouser minnow are the most effective flies as the clouser is the fly fisherman’s idea of a jig. Sinking lines are also recommended in different sink rates depending on water depth and current.  

Advantage: N/A    

Disadvantage: The pompano action this time of year is fair at best, better things to come in the Spring and Fall.  

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Spring
(April through May)

Outlook: Fair, but should improve as season progresses.  

Summary: Early Spring sees most of the pompano in the passes where they are better suited to spinning rather than fly fishing. Its still possible to catch them here on the fly but is less appealing in the deeper water. Look for pompano to make a return to the flats as the season progresses. Its preferable to hold off the fly tackle and do your searching with spinning gear until school is located, then switch to clousers and sinking fly lines. Once a spot is located make note of it for the future because they will tend to frequent the same spots. Pompano can be found at times on almost any grass flat with more than 3' of water, but for best results, concentrate on flats that are a little more sandy than grassy.  

Advantage: Action should improve as We get closer to summer.  

Disadvantage: Not a primary target yet, maybe more so towards end of Spring beginning of Summer.  

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Summer
(June through September)

Outlook: Excellent.  

Summary: Early summer should see pompano taking the flats by storm. Once good flats are located they should produce all summer. Still you should drift and cast to locate school before breaking out the fly gear, this can help your arm stay fresh so you will be ready when the time is right. Once fish are located, circle around and anchor and you can cast from the boat or if fish seem thick you may enjoy some wading. If you want to wade but you’ve located fish in water that’s a little to deep, just search same area but closer to shore as you are likely to fine more pompano nearby. Sinking lines and yellow and white or chartreuse and white clousers are hard to beat . Just work the fly off bottom with sharp 3-4’ strips. Sometimes pompano will pick at the fly several times before catching up. If you feel like you are getting these short strikes, just continue the retrieve because if you are working with a tight line with rod pointed straight at the fly then the fish will hook himself if you let him catch up to it . Just give a good strike strip when you feel them so that if you miss the fly has just moved a short distance where the fish can resume his pursuit. Yes, from now through December, depending on the weather, pompano can be the most fun and most consistent fish on the flats.  

Advantage: Summer time pompano are as hot as the weather.  

Disadvantage: You may have to plan your trips early and late to avoid the heat.  

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Fall
(October through November)

Outlook: Excellent.  

Summary: Look for the hot fishing of summer to continue even when the weather starts getting more comfortable. All the trends of summer pretty much hold true through the fall season. Look for the pompano in the same places (sandy grass flats) and the same tactics (clouser minnows, sinking lines). The only thing that may be different is that the size fish may drop from 1- 1/2 to 3 lbs. to 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. Don’t worry though because even a pound size pompano is a ball of fire that will make surprising runs that will take the line out of your hands and pull line off the drag. Yes fall is a great time to be on the water as the temps are more comfortable and the fish are willing.  

Advantage: Welcome relief from the heat of summer with great fishing opportunities.  

Disadvantage: Season could be cut short if the cold arrives early.  

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For more information, or to book a trip contact: 
Captain Scott Graham 
IN THE WILD OUTFITTERS 
17454 Hwy. 301 
Dade City, Florida 33523
Phone: (352) 567-0543
E-Mail: Baysnooker@aol.com
 

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