NE Florida Surf Fishing Report: Spring Pompano Run

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NE Florida Surf Fishing Report: Spring Pompano Run


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      April 1, 2024 at 10:34 pm


      It’s spring, and the pompano run has begun! Those of us who don’t have the time for road trips have been watching the reports on social media coming out daily (multiple times a day) of those who are slaying the pompano further south, and drumming our fingers as we wait for those beautiful fish to make their way up the coastline to our familiar waters.

      As tourists flood into Florida and many land-based fisherpersons return to the beach, let’s remember to be kind to each other, make room for everyone, and clean up the beaches to leave them better than we found them.

      I’m going to give you a lot of tips for pompano fishing today, so let’s get right to it!


      This time last year, we weren’t finding sand fleas at all, and even this year they are sparsely populated, at least on the beaches that I’ve been fishing. Now that there is beach restoration starting to take place on several area beaches and they are dumping lots of sand down, expect the sand fleas to find other areas to live. This is what happened last year when they were gone during all the beach restoration in Flagler County.

      Okay, let me step up on my soapbox for a minute: As you start seeing colonies of sand fleas, please remember that we can’t just strip the whole population of the sand fleas from the beaches just because they have been so hard to find in the past. I cringe when I see the posts from the commercial guys with tons and tons of sand fleas that they are delivering to the tackle shops. Just like fish have regulations to keep populations under control, I’ve started to speak out more about just taking the sand fleas that you need for fishing, and letting the rest of them go. Plus, those larger sand fleas are too big for most pompano to even fit in their mouths, and those are going to be the breeders to keep the supply up, so you might consider letting the bigger ones go when you are raking. (I’ll step down now, lol)

      With the sand fleas, I’ve found that to be a hit-or-miss bait lately. Some days it’s all the fish want, and other days they want nothing to do with them. So make sure you also have shrimp (live, fresh dead, or salted all work) and other bait options. I have talked to make people lately who have been watching our YouTube channel and have started to salt their shrimp like I showed in a video, and it is producing very well for them. Here is a link to that video in case you missed it:
      I’ve seen a lot of posts with people catching some really high-quality fish with the new strips coming out by FishGum. They are so popular that a new flavor was released for just one hour and sold out in the first 10-15 minutes! I’m trying to get my hands on some of this highly desired bait so I can try it out for myself. I can’t wait!

      When it’s really calm, make sure you have some lures with you because the Spanish Mackerel and bluefish love to hit those. Use a faster straight retrieve for Spanish.

      Weather and Water Temps

      Well, the water has been warming up very slowly this year. We are still hovering between 65-67 degrees all up and down the coast from Jacksonville to New Smyrna Beach, which explains why the pompano have also been taking their time filtering into our area. I ran a few charters an hour south recently to try to get on the pompano, just to find dirty water about the same temperature as home. We only caught one short pompano, meanwhile a friend of mine was fishing Varn park on the same morning and sent me a picture of two keeper pompano he caught! The cool thing was that he caught them on our Fishin’ Girl float rigs that I tie myself, and while he was able to snag those two awesome fish, he mentioned that he was the only one catching pompano there! Those rigs really work! To order our float rigs, visit and find out “Rigs and Tackle” page.

      The air temperature has been climbing more quickly than the water temperature, so remember to stay hydrated and have a lot of water or electrolytes with you. I have packets of Gatorade or Powerade zero that I can just dump into my water bottle if I feel like I need it.

      April Strategy

      For spring pompano fishing, I’ll share a few tips with you that I shared recently when I spoke at the Salt Strong chapter meeting in Jacksonville.

      Be aware of how pompano hit: They will typically get hooked and start swimming toward the shore, so if you miss the hit, your line will be totally slack and the rod will be straight up and down. Get reeling as soon as possible. It might not feel like you have anything on the line until you catch up with the fish. Several people did not realize this and said they probably missed catching a lot of pompano!

      Pompano are sight feeders, this is why many times, as I mentioned before, they will suck in the floats before they eat the bait. Using a rig like our float rig can help your chances of catching pompano. Use colors of rigs that match the conditions: pink and orange for clean water; yellow and green for dirty water. Red seems to work consistently.

      Be ready for the schools of pompano as they swim by. Once the school passes, they are gone. Set up near an inlet or jetty to get the benefit of the pompano school turning around and coming back through.

      Have your lines staggered before and after or on the sandbar. Pompano tend to swim somewhere in the vicinity of the sandbar. Once you catch one, put all your lines in that zone where you caught it.

      And the biggest tip—just get out there and fish! Don’t miss out on this wonderful season of the year with spring fishing. I hope this has been helpful and thanks for reading!

      Tight lines!

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