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Stinky's Pompano Tourney & All Day Happy Hour Starting 7 AM

March 27, 2017 by Manny Chavez

It’s always fun to watch the Pompano action heat up on SoWal Beaches at this time of year.

Experienced local anglers can be seen on the beach, or on a sandbar perched on “pompano ladders” sight-fishing for the perfect cast. Adding to the excitement each Spring are salty anglers and newcomers joining together in the spirit of camaraderie and competition for Stinky’s annual Pompano Tournament. This year's 7th annual edition runs from April 1st through May 15.

The 45-day event is bigger than ever as the event will coincide with Stinky’s Fish Camp’s 10th anniversary. Tourney registration is $50 with $2,500 in cash and prizes to be awarded. Also, a Youth Division has been added (ages 6-15) with a $25 registration fee.

Pompano will no longer be the only “keeper” fish out of the water this year with Red Fish catches also qualifying for prizes.


Read a story about Beach Fishing for Pompano in 1945 by Grayton Beach Resident Tuff Smith

Tournament winners will be awarded as follows: 1st place, $1,000 in cash and prizes; 2nd place, $750 in cash and prizes; 3rd place, $500 in cash and prizes; 4th place, a, $200 gift card; and 5th place, a $50 gift card.

 “Winning Pompano usually come in weighing at 4-5 pounds," says Kelli Misener, Bait Shop General Manager. "But last year, local angler Jim Horton came in on the last day of the tournament with a 7.2 pound stud Pompano that blew the competition out of the water!”

The State record was almost broken! Tourney weigh-ins begin at 8 a.m. April 1 and close at 8 p.m. May 15. The weigh-ins are serious business. “We have a ‘Fresh Detector’ team on board to make sure the entrants aren’t bringing in any mutilated or modified fish,” cautions Lori Schmitz, Stink’s Bait Shack Manager.

The kickoff party is on March 31 from 7-10 p.m. at the Bait Shack (5994 W. County Hwy. 30A). Registered anglers will receive their swag bags (valued at $100) at that party. Those who have registered prior to April 1 will receive free food and beer tickets for the next-day Anniversary Party. The event will feature the music of the amazing Forrest Williams Band. So get the party started by calling 850-622-BAIT.

Tournament managers Kelli Misener, Lori Schmitz, and Andrea Reid are looking forward to this event and they are locked, loaded and ready to roll! Everything you need (if you don’t already have it) can be purchased at the shack…bait, rods and reels, nets, etc. can all be purchased daily.

Stinky’s Bait Shack is probably the only bait shop with its own bar offering Happy Hour from 7 a.m. until closing. “Some anglers come in early in the morning, realize our Happy Hour is already running, and kinda put the fishing part on hold,” laughs Kelli.

“At this year’s Anniversary Party, we will probably have three large hogs cooking all day and they, along with our huge birthday cake, will be served starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, says Kelli.

“With our crawfish boil beginning at 11 a.m., the festivities go all day long. The pigs are usually eaten in the first 30-45 minutes, explains Kelli.

“They’ll be fighting for the tail,” laughs Lori. The popular Duck Phat band will perform at Stinky’s Fish Camp.

Stinky’s Bait Shack and Grayton Scuba Co. have now merged with Andy McAlexander’s Scuba business now located at the Shack. Scuba and snorkeling gear are now available for purchase/rent along with certified instruction/classes utilizing the new Grayton Beach artificial reefs which are already teeming with amazing marine life.

The Bait Shack is really a one-of-a-kind operation in the area. The days start early there with fishermen sauntering in at 7 a.m.-ish ; overflow from the next-door Stinky’s Fish Camp starting around 11 a.m.; and then late afternoon until closing has the bar working it for happy patrons.

The three self-proclaimed “Bait Girls,” Lori Schmitz, Kelli Misener, and Andrea Reid, literally know everything that needs to be known to provide you with what you need for fishing the local lake and Gulf waters.

If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” proclaims Lori. “We know it, we talk it, we do it. We know how to fish….we ARE the ‘Bait Girls’!”

With Grayton Scuba Co. now on board, Stinky’s Bait Shack now offers various scuba/snorkeling activities along with Fishing Charters, Sunset Cruises, Bayou Running, and River Tours. Starting this Summer, paddle boards will be added to the expanding rental/purchase menu.

Always thinking ahead, the Bait Shack team is already planning their Fall Stinky’s Beach to Bay Grand Slam Fishing Tournament scheduled for Sept. 17-Oct.31. A $50 registration fee will get you in for a chance to fish for $2,000 in cash and prizes.

The Captain’s Party for this event will be held Sat., Sept. 16 with their Oyster Festival also being planned for this day. Be there or be square as this super fun gig will include oyster shucking contests, food demonstrations, free oyster roasts, oyster painting contests, casting contests and of course, live music!

For tournament registration or more Bait Shack information, please call 850-622-BAIT (2248). Visit web: www.stinkysoutfitter.com or Facebook.  Location: 5994 W. Cty. Hwy. 30A, next to Stinky’s Fish Camp.

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All about the glorious Pompano!

"Pompanos" /ˈpɑːmpən/ are marine fishes in the genus Trachinotus in the family Carangidae (better known as "jacks"). Pompano may also refer to various other, similarly shaped members of Carangidae, or the order Perciformes. Their appearance is deep-bodied and mackerel-like, typically silver and toothless with a forked tail and narrow base. Of the 20 described species, most are valued as food. Some species are considered prize delicacies and game fish. A similar species is known as the permit, T. falcatus; two United States Navy submarines are named after it. The Florida pompano, T. carolinus, reaches about 45 cm (18 in) and 1.5 kg (3.3 lb), while the permit reaches about 90 cm (35 in) and more than 14 kg (31 lb).

  •     Greenish gray on back, shading to silvery sides
  •     Fish in dark waters showing gold on throat, pelvic, and anal fins
  •     Deep flattened body with small mouth
  •     No scutes
  •     22 to 27 soft dorsal rays; 20 to 23 soft anal rays
  •     Origin of anal fin slightly behind origin of second dorsal

Habitat: Florida pompano are common in inshore and nearshore waters, especially along sandy beaches, along oyster banks, and over grassbeds.  They are often in turbid water and may be found in water as deep as 130 feet.

Behavior: These fish spawn offshore between March and September.  Florida pampano feed on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas.  Local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.

Additional Information: State Record: 8 lb 4 oz, caught near Port St. Joe. Similar Fish: Permit, T. falcatus, palometa, T. goodei. The permit is deeper bodied; dorsal body profile not strongly angled at insertion of second dorsal fin; pompano rarely grow larger than 6 pounds, permit common to 40 pounds

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Manny Chavez

Manny and his wife Kris moved to the Emerald Coast in 1992. After 16 years as staff photographer for The Houston Post, Manny has successfully transitioned to creative weddings and beach portraits.

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