Pack a surf rod or three if you're headed to the beach along Florida's Atlantic Coast. I just got word that surf fishermen on Amelia Island are intercepting the first of the fall pompano run. It looks like we'll have a big run this year.
Each fall as coastal water temperatures cool schools of delicious pompano head south along both of Florida's coasts within range of any angler with a surf rod.
A couple of nor'easters will send the fish further south past Playa Linda and around Cape Canaveral. This stretch of coast is a real hot spot for "pomps." Soon thereafter by November the proverbial coconut telegraph will ring with the news that the fish are in around Sebastian Vero Beach and Fort Pierce. One solid cold front and anglers will leave footprints on the beaches of Stuart and Jupiter. Anglers in far South Florida--all the way to Miami Beach--reap the run on winter's coldest days.
Rigging for pompano and other species such as whiting that occur in the surf isn't difficult. For a complete rundown on baits rigs and tackle click here.
In short you need a couple of long surf rods with baitcasting or spinning reels loaded with braided line for casting distance. Check local rules on whether you're limited in terms of numbers of rods. Bring one light spinning rod rigged with a pompano jig in case the fish are right in the trough just a few yards off the beach.
Sand spikes are a must if you're fishing multiple rods. These rod holders stick into the sand and free your hands to fight fish rig and re-cast lines.
A bag full of pyramid sinkers of varying weights will keep in you in the game no matter how rough or calm it is. Snell hooks are best for fishing bait on the bottom--no hookset required!
Beach chair bucket and cooler. Most hardcore surf anglers use carts with tires that float over the sand to get their gear into the zone.