The Pompano Rig: How To Rig

If you are planning to surf fish, then the pompano rig is your go-to. It is not only effective and simple, but it works an absolute treat at catching pompano – which you could probably tell by its name.

However, it is also an ideal method to use for catching the likes of sharks and whiting. In this article we are going to take a look at what the pompano rig is, how to set it up, and other interesting facts and tips to get you going.

So, let’s get to it!

What You Need To Set It Up

Whilst not as basic as something like a drop shot, it is still pretty simple. There are situations where you might need to use different equipment, but if you would like a starting point, then these are the things you might want to use for the rig setup:

  • Pyramid sinker (around 3 to 4 oz)
  • Mono line (choose 25 lb)
  • Orange beads
  • Snell floats
  • Circle hook
  • 2 snap swivels
  • 2 barrel swivels

Step-by-Step On Tying A Pompano Rig

Here are the basic steps to tying a pompano rig:

Step 1

You will need about five to six inches of the line, but don’t worry, once you are finished, there will be less of it. This just gives you plenty of line to work with. 

Step 2

Using a clinch knot, tie the snap swivel to the end of the line.

Step 3

Around 10 to 12 inches up the line, tie it using a dropper loop.

Step 4

Again, around 10 inches tie another dropper loop, and do it again 10 more inches up.  So, there should be 3 dropper loops.

Step 5

The first dropper loop you did needs to be fed through a float, followed by a bead.

Step 6

Using a quick switch knot, connect the hook to the end of the dropper loop.  

Step 7

Repeat both steps 5 and 6 with the remaining two dropper loops.

Step 8

Lastly, the barrel swivel needs to be tied to the line’s other end. Finished!  

Best Ways To Catch A Pompano

If you are thinking about catching pompano, then the beach is going to be your go-to.

It doesn’t matter whether you are fishing in the early hours of the morning, or have decided to go fishing after work in the evening sunset, make your way to that darn beach!

You might find that as the day goes on, you become less successful. This is because pompano tend to move away from the sandy beach as the sun is rising, preferring the deeper water in daylight.

This means that if you are planning to fish later in the day, think about using a longer rod or a heavier pyramid sinker. Also, if you have been sitting for around 20 minutes after a cast, remove it from the water.

Either you have been unlucky, or something else has taken the bait.

If this is the case, just move and find somewhere else to fish. Here are a few other things to look at:


When fishing for pompano, be mindful of the type of water conditions you might be facing. One of the best times to actually fish for the pompano is when the surf has begun stirring the crustaceans around.

You will notice this because the water is active, yet not going overboard. 

Also, make sure the water is clean, as it is much better than fishing in dirty water.

However, if you find that the water is dirty and rough, whilst you should avoid it, using live bait will give you a better success rate during this time. 


When fishing, one of the things you really want to avoid is accidentally separating both the rod and hook with your fish on the end.

When it comes to a pompano, you will want to let a rolling wave take the fish all the way to the sand, rather than you putting pressure on it.

This way, you can avoid, or at least minimize, the chances of it happening. 

You will find that the majority of those who fish use circle hooks. Once they reel the pompano in, they can apply too much pressure to the pompano and its mouth. So, try and stick with the tip above. 


Bait to Use When Catching Pompano

Whilst you might be used to using something soft and plastic to imitate a worm, when it comes to surf fishing, you might want to try something else. Here are some examples:

Small Fish

The pompano is known for eating small fish, but did you know that it also classes mussels, crabs, clams, and shrimp as its prey?

This means you can use something like shrimp as bait. To find smaller fish and crustaceans, search a deeper cut, somewhere like a sand bar or right in the middle where there is a grassy flat.

Usually the crustaceans become washed up in the water from the grass and the pompano might wait to catch them. 

Whilst you can use frozen shrimp if you really need to, fresh shrimp is ultimately the best to catch pompano. They have a much higher success rate compared to frozen shrimp, but that does not mean you can’t catch them at all. 

To use, make sure the size of the shrimp suits the size of the hook, so change accordingly. To make the most of the shrimp, think about breaking it into smaller pieces too. Though if you are a little too squeamish, you can avoid that!

Sand Crabs

Otherwise known as mole crabs and sand fleas, they are easy to use and are a great option when trying to catch pompano.

All you need to do to catch one is to put your hands underneath the sand around the surf and scoop up. 

Once you feel something squirming in your hand, it is likely to be a sand crab! They are also a lot bigger than you might think, so be prepared for that.

Once you find one, put it into a bucket that is filled with sand and water. When you need one, just pick it out. Then, hook it using the front of the sand crab’s body. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When Fishing For Pompano, What Is The Best Bait To Use?

The best bait to use is both live shrimp and sand crab. You can also use dead bait such as shrimp, clams, and crabs, but you will always do better with live bait. 

What Are The Best Months To Catch Pompano?

If you are planning to fish for pompano, then do so in the months of April, May and November for the highest success rates.

If the conditions of the water and temperature are preferred for the pompano at other times of the year, then it is worth fishing then too. 

What Is The Best Water Temperature For A Pompano?

When it comes to the ideal temperature for a pompano fish, then it is around 68 degrees. However, it varies because you are able to catch a pompano in temperature from the early 60s, all the way up to the 70s. 

Does A Pompano Like A Sand Flea?

Absolutely they do! Also known as sand crabs, they are one of the most popular forms of bait for catching a pompano. They are said to be the favorite food of a pompano. 

You can find them by putting your hands under the sand near the water and scooping up. There is a high probability that there will be one or two in your hand. 

Place them in a bucket full of sand and water and use them when needed. 

Final Thoughts On Using A Pompano Rig Setup

The pompano rig is simple and effective at not only catching pompano, but other fish too. It is an easy one to use, because if you live by the beach, you don’t even need to travel far to catch pompano fish.

All you need to do is have some patience and the right technique, and soon you will be catching a ton of pompano fish to take home for fish dinners. 

Whilst you can use a boat, there is nothing that beats sitting on the beach and fishing. We hope you have enjoyed this article. Find out more about fishing by looking at the rest of the website.

Happy fishing!

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