AKA: pompano

Description: A Florida pompano has a deep, laterally compressed body with a short, blunt snout. It has six small spines in front of the dorsal fin and two spines in front of the anal fin. In the water, the pompano appears to have a golden belly and fins with whitish-platinum sides. When removed from the water, the pompano turns dark greenish-blue on top and silvery-white on the bottom.

Size: Florida pompano are usually smaller than 3 pounds.

Sometimes confused with: permit, crevalle jack

Habitat: Florida pompano are abundant in high salinity, nearshore and inshore waters, especially along sandy beaches, oyster banks and grass beds.

Eating habits: Adult pompano feed on small surf clams, amphipods, crabs, shrimp and mussels.

Life cycle: Florida pompano reach sexual maturity at around age 1 and spawn offshore between March and September. Young fish grow rapidly, reaching a length of 8 inches by the end of the first year of life.

Fishing tips: Anglers catch Florida pompano by bottom fishing with natural baits, such as sand fleas, cut bait, fiddler crabs and shrimp. They are most often caught in the surf just behind the breakers. Pompano are often taken just inside the surf zone in shallow water with soft-shelled sand fleas.

N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament

Award for harvest of fish, 2 pounds or greater.

See the list of weigh stations


Persons engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters are required to possess a Coastal Recreational Fishing License in accordance with G.S. 113-174.2.

Current Proclamations

Recreational Size and Bag Limits

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