These fish are plentiful right now, and feeding aggressively
Surf anglers are catching a variety of fish on the beaches of the Carolinas. And one of the hottest biting species right now is pompano. These tasty fish will put up a good fight, and they don’t require any special gear or techniques.
Medium-light to medium rods with 2500 series spinning reels are great for these fish. Ten to 14-pound test line is plenty strong for pompano. Sand spike rod holders are always good to have on the beach, and helpful when targeting pompano.
Many surf anglers do their best to cast past the breakers. That’s good for a variety of fish, but not for pompano. Anglers usually catch them in the rough part of the surf, closest to the beach. When the waves crash, then the water turns white, that’s where you’ll usually find pompano. That’s especially true if that area has a slight dip in depth there, and that’s something you’ll have to look out for when the tide is out.
Natural baits are good, Fishbites are too
Pompano eat a variety of foods, including bloodworms, shrimp, small crabs, and clams. Sand fleas are tough to beat for pompano, but while they are plentiful on some Carolina beaches, they are more difficult to find on others. Right now, anglers are catching a lot of pompano on Fishbites. These prepackaged baits are a combination of artificial and natural ingredients that stay on the hook a long time and disperse scent trails as part of the bait dissolves.
A basic surf fishing rig with two hooks and a pyramid sinker get the job done for many anglers. But some anglers prefer to use a Carolina rig with an egg sinker. This allows the bait to roll around in the surf more than the pyramids. And lately, that seems more attractive to pompano than baits sitting more stationary.
Size 1/0 circle hooks are good for pompano. These fish usually grab a bait and run with it right away, so circle hooks are very effective. Most anglers prefer to make a cast, then put their rod in a rod holder. This works great with circle hooks, allowing the pompano to effectively hook themselves.
Anglers using Fishbites for pompano should resist the urge to check their bait after every missed strike. Seeing the rod tip bend hard, then back to normal usually means a fish pulled on the bait but didn’t get hooked. Fishbites are very tough and fish often bite at a piece numerous times before finally hooking themselves or yanking the bait completely free of the hook.
Click here for some tips on catching summertime mountain trout in western North Carolina.