An Angler’s Guide to Pompano Beach Fishing
Jun 21, 2020 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

From relaxing trips on the reefs to high-octane adventures offshore, Pompano Beach fishing has it all. The city is well-known for its natural and artificial reefs, rich offshore spots, and deepwater wrecks. Each year, anglers flock to its landmark municipal fishing pier that just recently received a major upgrade.

Aerial view of Pompano Beach with fishing boats leaving the bay

Pompano Beach also attracts anglers to its various annual tournaments and special events. These include a Sailfish tournament in February, a seafood festival in April, and the Fishing Rodeo in May. It’s a community fully focused on the sea, boasting an impressive charter fleet and experienced captains.

Pompano Beach Fish Species

The list of species inhabiting the waters surrounding this city is a long one. Containing fish of all shapes and sizes, the fishing grounds here are hardly defined by their most popular targets. Still, listed below are the species most anglers hope to find on their visit to Pompano Beach.

Sailfish

Famous for their acrobatic displays, Sailfish are among of the most prized sportfishing species in the world. Traveling along the Gulf Stream’s warm waters, these beasts migrate past the Gold Coast in the winter months. This is when “Sailfish Alley” truly comes alive with action and opportunities for record-breaking days! 

Three anglers standing on the deck of a boat, holding a Sailfish

The local portion of the Gulf Stream sees Sailfish’s movement typically restricted to a pretty narrow stretch of the waters, along the continental slope. This allows anglers to employ techniques such as live bait trolling and kite fishing with live bait with deadly effectiveness. Even while you’re after other targets, fishing in this area might see you hook a Sailfish if you’re lucky.

Mahi Mahi

Both professional and recreational anglers, enjoy targeting Mahi Mahi. This is mostly due to their feisty nature, which makes them a worthy challenge on any day. They regularly move in schools and swim close to the surface. Mahi Mahi can often be found near floatwood or any similar floating structure. If you see something floating offshore, it is very likely worth checking out.

Adult angler and a child angler holding a Mahi Mahi on a boat

Mahi Mahi are abundant throughout the offshore waters, especially at depths of around 120–150 feet. Relying on artificial baits has proven to be the most successful strategy for catching them. Since they also make for excellent table fare, any successful Mahi Mahi trip also comes with an appropriate dinner celebration once you get home.

Wahoo

Despite having only a two-year lifespan, Wahoo quickly grow to impressive sizes, creating lifetime memories for anglers all over the Atlantic coast of Florida, from Key West to Jacksonville. If you’re interested in going after this rascal, you’ll want to be on the water during full moon periods from July to August. Wahoo also enjoy underwater structure and water movement, making the local waters their perfect playground.

Three anglers holding a large Wahoo on a boat

The ideal depth to troll for Wahoo is about 175 feet. However, given their lively nature, you can also find them in both deeper and shallower waters. They are fast, and furious, and can swim up to 60 miles per hour. Be ready to cover lots of ground. Many captains will troll in a zig-zag pattern, covering various depths and waiting to hear the screaming of the drag!

Kingfish

King Mackerel holds this regal name with good reason – they are big predators, sometimes reaching weights of up to 50 pounds. Kingfish are famous for their impressive leaps, spins, and explosive runs. They owe this temperament to being insatiable feeders, hitting both live and dead bait, as well as spoons and large plugs. They like to lurk for prey along ridges and wrecks, stalking schools of smaller fish.

Three anglers Standing on a boat, holding a King Mackerel

These fish heat up and migrate north through local waters in springtime, both inshore and offshore, and can even be caught right off the beach or pier. They travel in schools and generate nonstop action, keeping anglers that target them always on the edge. Testing your skills against a King is an experience every angler should have in their collection.

Grouper and Snapper

A rich reef system and plenty of wrecks means that Pompano Beach has no shortage of productive bottom fishing spots. Good news for any angler wanting to reel in any of the Grouper or Snapper species calling these waters home! These critters are prime targets for anyone looking to catch themselves a dinner. This is, partially, why you’re not able to target Grouper year-round.

Lady angler holding a Grouper on a boat

Grouper and Snapper are also great targets for families looking for a fun day on the reefs. Bottom fishing is likely to keep everyone engaged by providing consistent action throughout the trip without traveling too far offshore. As an added bonus, you’ll have the chance to reel in a whole range of other bottom fish lurking below.

How to Fish in Pompano Beach

So, what type of adventure should you go for? It all depends on how you want to get to the fishing grounds. Pompano Beach allows anglers the option to experience the local waters in a wide variety of ways. Below are some of the most popular choices, catering to various tastes.   

Charter Fishing

Getting on a private charter is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your day. Set several hours aside and explore the rich offshore fishing grounds that the city built its reputation on. Most captains will tailor the trip to your wishes, allowing you to visit multiple spots and get a taste of everything this fishery has to offer, especially on longer trips.

Center console fishing boat speeding away from the shore

This means you can choose to spend a portion of the time testing the bite at a couple of offshore deepwater wrecks, before moving on to Sailfish Alley. You can take a break from fishing and go snorkeling on the reefs or dedicate the entire day to chasing a particular species, looking for the catch of a lifetime – just pick your adventure!

Party Boat Fishing

Pompano Beach is a great place to go party boat fishing, offering a very cost-efficient way to have fun. You’re likely to experience a highly-eventful day, with all kinds of reefs serving as a home to Snapper, Porgy, Triggerfish, Amberjack, Grouper, and others. What’s great about Pompano Beach is the fact that the seafloor drops to about 100 feet very quickly, allowing for an action-packed day even on the slowest of boats. 

A party fishing boat with a group of anglers on board

Despite being a great alternative to more expensive private charters, party boats look to cater to the needs of multiple people at the same time. This means the captain may not have the time to guide you each step of the way. More experienced anglers should be fine though, as Barracuda, Tuna, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, and Bonito are sure to occupy your attention throughout your trip.

Kayak Fishing

For many, the affordability and eco-friendliness of using a simple kayak is an appealing alternative to large, gas-guzzling boats. As kayak fishing continues to grow as a popular sport, Pompano Beach is emerging as a major hub. The warm water, large accessible beaches, and year-round fishing opportunities make it the perfect location for this kind of sport.

A lone angler fishing shallow waters from a kayak

While kayak fishing has been around for years as a way to catch small fish, it’s recently gained popularity as a fun, inexpensive way for competitive fishermen to put their skills to test and reel in big catches. In Pompano Beach, experienced kayak anglers have a chase to reel in some of the most notorious deepwater brutes such as Kingfish, Sailfish, and Tuna.

Shore Fishing

Being located in Southern Florida means Pompano Beach has year-round access to shore fishing targets that are rarely caught in the northern parts of the state. This makes it a pretty popular type of fishing locally as it’s capable of producing quality catches such as Pompano and Permit, without having to rent a charter. And although many of the top targets will be out of reach from shore, it’s a great budget option for visiting anglers.

An angler fishing from a beach as the waves are coming in

When talking about local shore fishing, it would be impossible to forget mentioning Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, also known as the Fishermans Wharf. Its recent reopening brought joy to all anglers looking for the best shore fishing in town.

Pompano Beach Fishing Spots

In addition to being informed on what the best targets are and what types of experiences are available, knowing what some of the popular local spots are will greatly help you in finding the perfect trip. To assist you in this, here are some of the most productive grounds available in the nearby waters.

Aerial view of the new Pompano Beach fishing pier

Pompano Beach Fishing Pier: This Pompano Beach landmark has just recently been reopened for fishing after being greatly upgraded in the city’s latest development project. It features wide fishing platforms, plenty of shade to dodge the heat, and excellent fishing opportunities. The rocky bottom surrounding the pier makes it very good for Snapper fishing but species such as Mackerel, Snook, and Cobia are also possible targets. 

Natural Reefs: Part of the Florida Reef Tract, the natural reefs off the coast of Pompano Beach are impressive in both their size and richness. Composed of the Inner, Middle, and Outer Reef, the Reef Tract provides multiple productive spots at various depths. The list of species available here includes anything from Snapper and Grouper to Kingfish and Cobia.

Artificial Reefs: Beyond the reefs, lay decommissioned vessels that have found a new purpose in the waters of Pompano Beach. Now, artificial reefs, such as Okinawa and Lady Luck, serve as habitats for some of the fishery’s tastiest species. The list of targets varies from wreck to wreck but they all hold some worthy challengers.

Sailfish Alley: If you’re visiting Pompano Beach with the goal of landing your next trophy catch, you won’t be able to do better than to pay a visit to this world-famous stretch of water. As its name suggests, this spot is most famous for legendary numbers of Sails that pass through. Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Kingfish are all possible targets here as well.

When to Visit Pompano Beach

Pompano beach has a versatile fishery and year-round availability of exciting game species. So whenever you visit, there’ll be something to do. However, if you’re looking to test your skills against fellow anglers in a local tournament or if your desired target has a strict open season, you’ll want to time your trip accordingly.

Pompano Beach Fishing Tournaments

An angler holding on to a bent rod, battling a fish

Catering to various types of anglers, tournaments in Pompano Beach cover a wide range of experiences. Visit during the summer months and you’ll be able to compete in events like the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament, Ladies Fish-Off, and The Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo. Winter months are all about Sailfish, and so is this season’s tournament – the Pompano Beach Sailfish Challenge. 

From intense events designed for the most die-hard fanatics out there to fun-filled affairs providing visitors with top-notch entertainment and plenty of memorable moments, Pompano Beach has it all. The dates for these tournaments move around so be sure to get the most up to date information before booking your trip.

Fishing Seasons and Regulations

To preserve their stable populations, certain species are closed for fishing during various parts of the year. This includes different Grouper Species which are off-limits during the first four months of the year, Hogfish, can be targeted May–October, while Permit closed season lasts April–July. 

Hands holding a Hogfish on a boat

You’ll also need to make sure to obtain the necessary fishing licenses for everyone in your group. If you’re fishing aboard a registered Pompano Beach fishing charter, this will be already taken care of as you’ll be covered by your captain’s charter license.

Pompano Beach: An Angler’s City

Aerieal view of Lighthouse Point form Pompano Beach

From the moment you hear its name, it should be clear that Pompano Beach lives and breathes fishing. The city has worked to preserve its reefs, create more fishing spots, and make visitors fall in love with its beauty. Through work and dedication, the city has become a world-class playground for anglers. All you have to do is show up and have the time of your life!

“Have you ever been fishing in Pompano Beach? How was it? Let us know in the comments below. We love a good fishing story!”

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