What's hot: Pompano along the beaches are in good numbers. A stroll at sunrise along the shoreline near pass openings will provide a surprise to those with a rod and reel. Watch the swash channel, the area with a slight depression from wave erosion. You must look for the fish, but once you seen one, more will be easily spotted. Pompano ride the wave in, turn flat to stay submerged, then go out with each wave. Larger pompano can be caught from area bridges (along with mangrove snapper) using pompano jigs tipped with pieces of shrimp.
Techniques: Before the beaches get crowded is the best time to find pompano and snook, and don't be surprised if you catch a whiting or two. A good pair of polarized sunglasses is a must to see these white-bodied fish in the waves.
Tips: Use extremely light tackle and light fluorocarbon leader. You can use frozen sand fleas or catch sand fleas in the swash channel, putting them on a No. 1 light hook with a split shot. If you see sand fleas rolling near the swash channel, it's a good sign pompano will be near. And you can use a pompano jig, yellow or yellow and white, with light tackle.
Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center at (727) 518-7637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.