Fish Facts » African Pompano
Like many of the Carangidae, the African pompano is a deep and laterally compressed fish, with the deepest point of the body located between the origin of the dorsal and anal fins and having the head and tail tapering either side. The dorsal and ventral profiles are equally convex, with a major distinguishing feature of the adult being its more curved head compared to Alectis indicus' more angular head profile. The species has 4 to 7 visible spines in the first dorsal fin followed by a single spine and 18 to 20 soft rays in the second dorsal. The anal fin has two spines followed by 15 or 16 soft rays, while the pectoral fin is long and curved. The skin of the fish appears scaleless, but has minute, embedded scales scattered on the body. The lateral line has a strong and moderately long arch dorsally, with its posterior section having 12 to 30 scutes. A juvenile exhibiting filamentous anal and dorsal fin raysThe juveniles are distinctive due to their 'threadfin' appearance of having trailing anal and dorsal fin filaments which recede with age. During maturation, the species also becomes more elongate and more like that of other genera of jacks. The body is a silvery-metallic blue to blue-green colour above, being darkest on the head and upper shoulders while the underside is more silvery. The juveniles have 5 chevron-shaped dark bars on their body, with a black blotch at the base of the third to sixth soft dorsal fin rays. The base of the filaments is a dark blue to black, with all other fins pale to hyaline in appearance.
The young prefer shallow reefs. Adults may be found over shallow reefs as well, but tend to work deeper as they grow. Best fishing grounds are usually around deep wrecks.
The African pompano is a schooling predatory fish which takes predominantly a variety of crustaceans including decapods, carids and copepods, as well as cephalopods and small fish.
The large size and good table fair offered by the African pompano have made the species popular with both recreational and commercial fishermen, although different sources rate the flesh quality differently. The species has been implicated in a number of ciguatera cases, suggesting larger fish should probably not be consumed. The attractive appearance of juveniles make them possible aquarium fish, but they do not survive well in captivity. Adult African pompano are most often taken by hook and line methods, such as trolling although don't often make up a high percentage of catches. Juveniles are occasionally taken by beach seines. The species is marketed both fresh as well as dried or salted. The fighting prowess and good table fare attract anglers to the species in many parts of the world, with easily accessed areas such as Florida having a strong recreational fishery for the species, as well as more remote areas such as Thailand and a number of Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Tackle for larger fish must be robust, with 50 lb line on a large overhead or threadline type reel needed to prevent the fish from taking cover in underwater structure on its first run, especially on reefs and wrecks. Smaller fish are often taken on light tackle, often requiring a skilled angler to be able to land the fish in these situations. They can be caught on both bait and lures, with small live baitfish or large prawns the choice of baits rigged on strong gauge hooks. Lures are often jigs or streamers worked on deep reefs and wrecks, although they have been known to take a trolled lure or rigged bait. In rare cases, they have even been known to hit saltwater flies on sinking lines and poppers at the surface. The recognized record for a recreationally caught African pompano is 18.8 kg. In Florida, the species has a minimum size limit of 24 inches and only two fish are allowed per vessel per day.
The smallest specimens have the longest fins, and young "Thread fish" of a couple pounds and less were once thought to be a different species. Adults are common at 15-30 pounds and grow to at least 50 pounds.
The species is found in tropical waters worldwide, with adults often inhabiting coastlines while juveniles are usually pelagic, floating with ocean currents.
Wikipedia, Scott Martin's Champion Pro Guides Services
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