© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2002
Some call them golden nuggets. Others call them silver ghosts. One thing's for sure, Florida pompano can't be called wimps. These feisty fish will pull your drag again, and again, and again.
Now is the time to fish for pompano along sandy beaches and gulf passes from Egmont Key to Clearwater Pass. Schools can be found in the narrow swash channel that runs parallel to the beach.
Pompano take a variety of live baits: shrimp, sand fleas, and especially crabs, fiddlers in particular. Fiddlers are easy to find at low tide on the white, sandy edges of mud flats. The small holes they live in give them away. Take a small spade to dig them up and a bucket to keep them in. Some local tackle stores even sell the small crustaceans. Use a slip sinker rig with at least a half-ounce weight and a small No. 1 hook. Hook the crabs through the leg socket to keep them lively.
If you're interested in chasing pompano with artificial bait, there's only one real choice. The jig. Dragging the jig along the bottom creates small puffs of sand that imitate a crab when it gets uncovered from the tide and pops up. Yellow and white are the most popular colors. The current strength will dictate the size of the jig head. Start with a three-eighths ounce; if it's hard to keep it on the bottom, switch to a half-ounce. Keep your jig in constant contact with the bottom to create those small puffs of sand.
-- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.