How to Catch African Pompano in St. Petersburg, Florida

How to Catch African Pompano in St. Petersburg, Florida

Table of Contents

Most Deep Sea anglers only catch a few African Pompano in their life, as they’re hard to target. But at YACHTFISH Fishing Charters, we catch many African Pompano in St. Petersburg every year thanks to active fresh water springs on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico!

If you want to see us in action, watch our video with The Crew Platform. And if this is your dream catch, we’ll help you make it happen! BOOK NOW at

The Secret to Catching African Pompano in St. Petersburg, FL

African Pompano are found all around the world and they’re actually pretty simple to catch in terms of technique. But the problem most people have is knowing where to find them and how to hook them before the dozens of other species get there first.

Our secret is tracking and recording the location of fresh water springs!

Locate Fresh Water Springs

Fresh water springs are found in the Gulf of Mexico and throw up tons of nutrients. This attracts a lot of hungry fish that also get pushed up by the fresh water springs including African Pompano!

We’re super lucky on the Gulf Coast because you don’t get these kinds of springs so much on the east coast of Florida. There, you have to go over wrecks, artificial reefs and rock bottoms. But that’s not as easy as fresh water springs off the west coast of Florida .

So how do you find fresh water springs? We use our onboard technology to locate the cracks in the Gulf bottom that are shooting up the fresh water. Also, most importantly, we always save the coordinates for future trips! The bottom finder screens show us the hotspots and all the fish nearby. That combined with decades of experience recording these locations make it a fool-proof way to catch African Pompano in St. Petersburg, FL.

Read Related: How to Go on a Deep Sea Fishing Charter in St. Petersburg, FL

How YACHTFISH Fishing Charters Catch African Pompano

  • On our most recent African Pompano trip we went out deep-sea fishing on our 32 foot SeaVee open fisherman approximately 45 miles off St. Petersburg, FL.
  • We then go bottom fishing over our favorite fresh water springs, but around 60-70 feet down we get bites even without hitting the bottom.
  • Once our rods bend hard at over 90 degrees, we’re pretty sure it’s African Pompano.
  • Then the fight is pretty simple. You need to be strong, but it’s nothing dramatic.
  • These fish lay sideways, so we just grab them right out of the water. And trust us, they are stunning!
  • In around 2 hours, we got 30-35 fish of different species, from Kingfish, Cobia and Grouper to traveling Wahoo and African Pompano! These migration fish love to congregate around the fresh water springs.

What Rig Should I Use for African Pompano?

  • As we said, our set-up is pretty simple for catching African Pompano in St. Petersburg, FL.
  • We recommend 3-4 arm lengths of fluorocarbon, a 25 lb test of any kind and some 50 lb braid on the reel (of any color). It’s simple fishing. Just be careful with the drag.
  • Our hooks are heavy duty to prevent the fish from bending the hook out. YACHTFISH Fishing Charters uses custom made hooks of ¼ ounce or ½ ounce (depending on the wind).

We Use Ghost Anchoring

  • You have to get the location of your boat spot on. If you’re off by 40-50 feet, you’ll struggle. The answer is ghost anchoring.
  • We’ll anchor, sit for 10 minutes to judge the drift, pull the anchor then reset.
  • You must anchor uptide from the structure. This is key! If you’re uptide, you’ll be targeting directly over the fresh water spring hotspot.

What Bait for African Pompano?

  • As always, bait is crucial. But again, it’s nothing too complicated.
  • We usually use oily, scaly Herring.
  • They’re great firm bait, which is better than Spanish Sardines (that other people use).
  • The trick is to cut them diagonally, at an angle, so they don’t touch the line.
  • The smell entices the Pompano in!
  • When they get on a spot with bait, the African Pompano will be out in numbers.
  • Hook your Herring through the bottom of their mouths, and up through the top.
  • You can be sure Amberjacks will arrive as soon as we throw the bait.
  • You can also use a chum line drifting over the fresh water springs.

Does The Moon Affect African Pompano Fishing?

Yes, but YACHTFISH Fishing Charters’ secret techniques always go well. In our opinion, November, December, January, February, March and April are the best months to target African Pompano in St. Petersburg, but the whole year is actually very good if you know what you’re doing.

Read Related: The Secret Tricks to Catch Hogfish in St. Petersburg, Florida

Regulations for Catching African Pompano in St. Petersburg, FL

Can I Keep My African Pompano Catch?

Yes! As long as they’re not smaller than 24 inches to the fork, you can keep it and eat it!

We’re allowed 2 fish per day, per boat.

How Does African Pompano Taste?

African Pompano are delicious eating fish. Truly excellent! We’ll filet your fish as soon as we get to the docks. Then you can take them to the nearby restaurants around St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach where they’ll prepare a delicious fresh meal.

Fried, grilled or blackened – they’re so good!

When Can I Fish For African Pompano in Florida?

The FWC Regulations allow year-round fishing of African Pompano from St. Petersburg, FL!

African Pompano Facts

African Pompano are stunning! They’re truly some of the best-looking fish you can find in the Gulf. They’ve got huge eyes on their shimmering metallic bodies that just get your jaw dropping when you pull them out.

  • Metallic-blue color on backs, fading to white bellies
  • Deep and compressed bodies
  • Steep and rounded heads
  • Can grow up to 42 inches and 40 lbs
  • Dorsal fin starts in front of anal fin
  • Juveniles have long, threadlike rays at the front of their dorsal and anal fins
  • Great fighters and excellent to eat!

Book an African Pompano Fishing Charter in St. Petersburg, Florida


If it’s your dream to catch African Pompano in St. Petersburg, Florida then go with people who know their stuff – YACHTFISH Fishing Charters.

Booking in advance is highly recommended for deep sea fishing, as demand remains high all year.

YACHTFISH Fishing Charters has enjoyed over 20 years of experience in St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Tampa and Clearwater and guarantees you a catch every time! We welcome all ages and all skill levels, from young novices to experienced anglers.

CALL or TEXT: YACHTFISH CHARTERS (727) 433-4200 to book a deep sea fishing charter in St. Petersburg today! Or BOOK NOW at

YACHTFISH will provide an unforgettable experience second to none with Fishing Charters departing daily from St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Tampa and Clearwater.

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About the Author...
Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas

Captain Matt Douglas is the founder of YACHTFISH and is a licensed United States Coast Guard 100 ton Master Captain. Captain Matt grew up on the waters of Tampa Bay and lived and worked in Costa Rica for over 11 years. He has extensive experience in Central America, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Florida. Captain Matt is a tournament-winning captain who has an intense passion for boating, fishing and creating life time memories for his Clients. These passions, combined with his experience, were the catalysts for YACHTFISH. Captain Matt is laser-focused on what he enjoys the most, and knows the best, in Tampa Bay and Costa Rica.
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