The pompano is a member of the jack family that is often found in the surf of beaches and is known as one of the best eating fish that anglers and commercial fishermen love to target. Their scientific name is Trachinotus carolinus. The most common names you will hear anglers refer to them is: Florida Pompano, common pompano, Atlantic pompano, sunfish, and surf jacks.
Pompano has a very distinctive look but often times get confused with their cousin the permit. The Florida pompano have deep, compressed and short look to them. They are a toothless fish with a forked tail and a very narrow base. They are always a silver color with a darker greenish dorsal fin and a yellow color on the belly. The first dorsal fins are low on their back and are made up with six separate spines. The anal fins are made up of 20 to 24 rays. The other distinct feature of a pompano is their blunt snout.
Pompano average size will range from 12" to 22". They can reach a size of up to 26". The average weight of these fish will range from a couple pounds all the way up to 9 pounds.
Pompano are a commonly found in coastal waters or gulf of Mexico in the beach surf, in around structure like bridges, docks, and other sandy areas that hold crustaceans. They are found in most inshore and nearshore waters. They love to feed in and around sandy beaches, oyster bars and over seagrass beds, often in turbid water. You can get lucky and catch them in deeper offshore waters.
Pompano live a life on shrimp, crabs and sand fleas. Pompano cruise the beaches looking for sand fleas and small crustaceans to feed on. Any type of crab like blue crabs will be targeted by pompano. Shrimp do not stand a chance when it comes to pompano fish. It is a diet on invertebrates that allow for pompano to have such tasty meat.
Pompano fish take about a year of life to reach sexual maturity. At this point most fish will be 8" in length. The typical spawning season for pompano is April thru June and often occurs all the way through September. Female pompano can lay over 100,000 eggs during this time keeping pompano populations going strong.