The Florida pompano lives in the surf zone that laps Alabama’s sugar sand beaches year-round, but the tasty fish are more plentiful when the water is warmer from March through October with the peak fishing season in the spring.
The most common bait for pompano is a chunk of peeled shrimp, although many anglers will dig up sand fleas (aka mole crabs) at the surf’s edge or use a suction pump, available at local tackle stores, to slurp up ghost shrimp from the wet sand. Adding a chunk of Fish Bites (a material soaked in fish attractant) can enhance your bait, and sometimes a chunk of Fish Bites is all you need to catch pompano.
A double-hook rig with the lightest pyramid weight the surf will allow, preferably no more than one ounce, is what most anglers use, although a variety of lead weights can be used depending on surf conditions. When the surf is a little robust, the pyramid sinker keeps the bait from being rolled around in the surf. Stick with smaller hooks from a size 8 to 1/0. Some anglers prefer Kahle hooks, while others will use a small circle hook.
Look for spots along the beach with the clearest water, where the fish can sometimes be spotted in schools of three to six fish. Cast your bait in 5-8 feet of water and sit back and enjoy the soothing wave action. The pompano can sometimes be found on the second bar from the beach and can be accessed by wading or by boat.
Avoid areas with high concentrations of swimmers for obvious reasons. Look for low-traffic areas with clear water and low to moderate wave action.