Pomano are a saltwater fish that are found along the coastlines of just about every continent around the world. They are a long, silver schooling species that feed predominately on the ocean floor for whatever they can find there. Their size ranges from around 10 – 90cm (roughly 4 – 35″) in length depending on the sub species.
Also known as Dart or Jacks in many area (such as the Swallowtail Dart that we catch here down under) but also called Trevally and Amberjack (although they are actually neither but do form part of the Jack family).
Pompano form part of the genus Trachinotus in the family Carangidae and are recognized by a large array of different subspecies as follows:
- Trachinotus africanus (southern pompano)
- Trachinotus anak J (oyster pompano)
- Trachinotus baillonii (smallspotted dart)
- Trachinotus blochii (snubnose pompano)
- Trachinotus botla (largespotted dart)
- Trachinotus carolinus (Florida pompano)
- Trachinotus cayennensis (Cayenne pompano)
- Trachinotus coppingeri (swallowtail dart)
- Trachinotus falcatus (permit)
- Trachinotus goodei (palometa)
- Trachinotus goreensis (longfin pompano)
- Trachinotus kennedyi (blackblotch pompano)
- Trachinotus macrospilus (Marquesas dart)
- Trachinotus marginatus (plata pompano)
- Trachinotus maxillosus (Guinean pompano)
- Trachinotus mookalee (Indian pompano)
- Trachinotus ovatus (pompano)
- Trachinotus paitensis (Paloma pompano)
- Trachinotus rhodopus (gafftopsail pompano)
- Trachinotus stilbe (steel pompano)
- Trachinotus teraia (shortfin pompano)
As above, members of the Pompano family can be found the world over along shorelines, the surf and saltwater estuaries. They feed on the bottom in all water conditions and can generally be caught at any time of the day or night.
Pompano are most often described as deep bodied and distinguished by their narrow tail base and forked tail. They are generally silver in color with small scales and a toothless mouth – although older adults often go a greenish grey color across their back.
However due to the sheer size of their subspecies, their size range is also extremely large from up to nearly a meter (3ft) in length down to around 10 centimeters (4 inches). Pompano can also be found with large variations in fin color ranging from yellow to black to orange and many have four or five little “marks” along their side as well.
Due to the vast range of species lifespan is also just as versatile. Typical Pompano found on the coastline of North America however are known to live for around 6 years.
Pompano spawn in late spring into summer by swimming together and releasing the eggs and sperm at the same time into the water. That said, other research has found evidence of Pompano spawning all year round in warmer climates.
In my experience with Swallowtail Dart, Pompano are bottom feeders who will actually eat just about anything they can find or you can put on your hook. In their natural habitats however this usually includes:
- Sand fleas
- Beach worms
And if they are anything like the species we catch here where you are, if they are around then you pretty much just need bait on your hook.
World Record Size
The largest reported Pompano caught was 8.8 lbs pounds in April 2012 by Manuel Briceno on the shores of South Florida in the United States.
Pompano Fishing Seasons
Pompano can usually be found in plentiful numbers all year round – especially in warmer climates. Like many species however they are more aggressive in the spring to summer months as they spawn.
My research highlights that they generally like water temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 26°C) although as with everything else to do with this fish, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule.
All I know that here where I live, we don’t go after Dart in particular but always seem to get a few when we are fishing in the surf all year round – even in winter with ocean temps of around 65°F.
Best Gear For Catching Pompano
Spinning reel – 4000 – 5000 – lined with mono or braid
Baitcaster reel – 100 – 400 – lined with mono or braid
Rod – around 10 – 12 ft and matching of reel size
Although they taste a just little more ‘fishy’ than most other saltwater species, Pompano are still considered to be mild in taste and can definitely be eaten – in fact they are a popular table fish the world over. The meat is generally a darker white color with a flakey texture. And being fish, they are low in calories with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.
As per most white meated species, they are best eaten by filleting and then:
- Pan frying
- Deep frying
And as they are not as large as some other such as Striped Bass etc., many choose to bake or fry them whole as well.
They can also be eaten raw as Sashimi – in fact this is a lot more common than I realized.
Check out some more information in regards to eating Pompano.