Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine VOL 40 No 3 - SUMMER 2016 - Page 27

Pompano (Continued from page 22.) Anglers can also use other natural baits to entice pompano. Live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp and fiddler crabs also make great pompano attractants. They also eat small clams. Many people pop the head off a brown or white shrimp and peel off the shell. The peeled shrimp imitates the look and feel of ghost shrimp. “Pompano don’t necessarily need live bait, but fresh bait,” Brodie advised. “I’ve probably caught more pompano on fresh dead shrimp than anything else. I just use a small piece of dead shrimp or maybe a small live shrimp. Mantis shrimp is another especially good pompano bait. People need to use gloves to handle them because they can hit people with their claws and cut them. When I’m fishing for pompano, I put a florescent red bead on the leader as an added attraction.” When fishing from a boat, place baits close to the beach, typically in water less than three feet deep. The wave action usually creates a washboard effect, building sandbars separated by troughs or gullies. Pompano often get into the gullies to hunt for prey. Anglers might also find them around sandy points, jetties, seawalls, breakwaters or other objects. “A lot of bait accumulates in the little gullies between sandbars,” Brodie said. “Pompano love to roam the gullies along the beach looking for ghost shrimp and sand fleas. Sometimes, pompano go outside of the gullies in a little deeper water, maybe seven feet deep. Sometimes, I’ll run the boat in the shallows along the beach and pompano start jumping in the backwash. That’s a good way to locate them. When we start seeing a bunch jumping, we turn around and go fish for them.” Occasionally, anglers might catch a pompano on artificial baits. Long-rodders sometimes catch them on flies that mimic small crabs or shrimp. Other people tip jigheads with shrimp or other bait and work them along the bottom. The old double jig shad rig sweetened with shrimp can work for pompano, either when casting or slowly trolling it behind the boat. In deeper water, anglers might want to add a split-shot to the line above the shad rig. “We catch pompano on a little jig that kind of looks like a banana,” Green revealed. “Sometimes, we put a little shrimp on it. Sometimes, we just throw the lure and jig it along the bottom as we drift through the passes. Some people use a little pompano jig, just an egghead sinker jig with yellow feathers on it. Some have pieces of flashy material in the tail. Pompano like that little jig action.” Anglers can catch pompano when fishing for redfish, speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead and other species, but these finicky fish seldom show up as bycatch. However, anglers who do know how to catch them can bring home the tastiest fish in the sea and tremendously enjoy themselves while doing it. With rich white flesh, pompano often command higher prices per pound than beef, frequently higher than most other marine delicacies.\ Beachcombing Pompano Since pompano like to cruise as close to the beach as possible, they make great targets for landlocked anglers all along the Gulf Coast. “People don’t need a $50,000 boat to catch pompano,” quipped Capt. Ralph Young. “People without boats can catch them right off the beach and have a blast. Beach fishermen catch them just as well, if not better, than people fishing from a boat.” While one beach might look identical to any other, experienced beach anglers often spot little subtleties that could mean good fishing. Unseen below the waves, (Continued on page 32.) OFFSHORE FORECAST On the scale, the figure 10 represents average speed and time duration of approximately three hours of movement. This movement is followed by a three hour period of diminishing current speed and feeding activity. Each number above, or below the average number 10 represents an increase or decrease of 5 percent in strength of flow and fifteen minutes in additional or less time. As examples, a speed rating of 15 shows a current flowing 25 percent stronger than average and lasting one hour and fifteen minutes longer than average currents. This 15 rating will have four hours and fifteen minutes activity out of each six hour period of tidal cycle for that day. A speed rating of 6 shortens the time of activity by one hour and has 20 percent less strength than an average current. The longer and stronger current action always indicates the better fishing days offshore because of increased bait movement. There is no clearly defined line to indicate where the rotary currents become onshore tidal currents. It is generally accepted that waters over 5 fathoms (30 feet deep) will have rotary currents. 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