Pompano (Florida Pompano)

Species Identification

There are nearly two dozen different subspecies of pompano, most of which are valued for their food. The following descriptions will touch on some of the more popular subspecies, but the focus will primarily be the Florida pompano, a hugely important fish to both commercial and recreational fishing.


Pompano have a similar look to mackerel but have a deeper body. They have a forked tail, blunt noses, and are all silvery in color. The Florida pompano has a bluish-green tinge as well as a bit of yellow below the jaw line and belly.

Maximum Size

Pompano tend not to grow bigger than few pounds, but there are major exceptions. The biggest, the African pompano, can grow to weights of up to 50 pounds (23 kg), reaching lengths of well over 4 feet (120 cm). The Florida pompano weigh roughly 3 pounds (1.3 kg) on average, but anglers have caught 8-pounders (3.6 kg).

Growth Rate

Generally very fast.

Geographic Range

The Florida pompano swim in coastal waters from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to southeastern Brazil. They are uncommon north of Chesapeake Bay; especially common along the Florida coast.Other species of pompano can be found all over the world, primarily in tropical or coastal waters.


Pompano value saline waters and avoid brackish sea all together. Florida Pompano tend to stick to shallow depths though some have been caught at recorded depths of nearly 200 feet (60 m). Surf flats are ideal, away from clear waters.

Life Span

Generally no more than 4 years, but specimen have been caught in the 7-year-old range.


Shrimp and crabs are a favorite food for pompano, comprising the primary diet for many pompano species. Small fish are preyed on as well but to a lesser degree.


Florida pompano spawn through two major periods of the year: April to June and September to October. Pompano tend to spawn over sandy bottoms offshore.


Mackerel, tuna, sharks and large birds the pompano's main predators. For Florida pompano that swim near beaches, brown pelicans are the biggest threat.Information courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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