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African Pompano

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Alectis ciliaris

OTHER NAMES: Thread fish, Cuban Jack, Flechudo

RANGE: Most African Pompano are encountered on the lower half of the Atlantic Coast and in the Keys. They also are found throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean.

HABITAT: 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.

DESCRIPTION: A large, flattened fish with silvery or pearlescent sides and a distinctive blunt, steeply sloped head. Forward rays of the dorsal and anal fins are very long and threadlike in young fish, and these "streamers" sometimes hang on until adulthood, although they usually are lost as the fish grows.

SIZE: 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.

FLORIDA RECORD : 50 pounds, 8 ounces

FOOD VALUE: Excellent.

GAME QUALITIES: One of the toughest light-tackle customers around, the African fights much like other big Jacks, but uses its flat side to even greater advantage, and exhibits a peculiar, circling tactic that puts the angler to a thorough test.

TACKLE AND BAITS: As one of the pets of the light-tackle fraternity, most African Pompano are caught by jigging deep in the vicinity of wrecks or offshore drop-offs with spinning and bait casting tackler; or by fishing deep with light ocean tackle and live bait. They generally hang too deep to interest fly fishermen, although a few have been caught by blind-fishing over wrecks with sinking lines, or by chumming them to the surface with live chum. A variety of heavy jigs and large streamers will work especially if trimmed with silvery Mylar. Pinfish, Pilchards and similar small fish are the live baits of choice. Africans are occasionally caught by trolling over the reefs with feathers or rigged baits.

FISHING TECHNIQUES: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.

REGULATIONS: Not less than 24" fork, 2 per person per day.

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