What's hot: Pompano fishing has been steady even if the weather hasn't. Gulf passes and bridges are holding good numbers of the speedsters.
Tackle: A 7-foot spinning outfit with 8-pound mono or 12-pound braid will get the job done. On the terminal end of the line, add a few feet of 15- or 20-pound leader. Most pompano are taken with artificial jigs.
Tactics: The line, "They're easy to catch when you're in 'em," applies to pompano. These schooling fish will move as they feed, and the trick is to stay with them. Drifting the passes or around bridge pilings lets anglers cover ground and locate the school. This might take several passes along the length of the bridge or across the channel. Once located, move uptide when the bite slows and drift the same area. If the drift doesn't produce fish, change the drift line to get back in them.
Tip: Pompano tend to feed on crustaceans on the bottom, so an angler needs to make sure the jig reaches the bottom each time. An angler might be plagued by ladyfish if it works high in the water column. Let the jig sink all the way, take up the slack line and snap or "jig" the rod tip straight up. Let the jig sink and repeat.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 560-6762.