Steel Pompano

Steel Pompano, Trachinotus stilbe

The Steel Pompano, Trachinotus stilbe, whose common Spanish name is “Pámpano Acerado”, is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, which are known collectively as “Jureles and Pámpanos” in Mexico.

The Steel Pompano has an overall “pompano-like” appearance with an oval shaped strongly compressed body with a width that is 41 to 45% of standard length. They are an overall dark silver color with lighter sides and belly. They have a white bar down the rear of the head (that fades quickly with death) and the caudal fin has dark margins. The head has a rounded snout that is extendible. The dorsal fin has six short stout isolated spines followed by 25 to 26 rays. They anal and dorsal fins that have very low long pointed lobes of equal size and length. They have short pectoral and minute pelvic fins. The caudal fin is very deeply “V” shaped and the lateral line is straight and they lack finlets or scutes. The Steel Pompano has 43 to 53 short gill rakers. The body is covered with oval scales.

The Steel Pompano reach a maximum of length of 50 cm (20 inches). They are a coastal schooling pelagic species found demersal inshore over sandy bottoms and around rocky offshore islets at depths up to 75 feet. This species is virtually unknown to Mexican waters of the Pacific with only one documented fish from the Revillagigedos Islands; the fish photographed below documents a significant range extension and the presence of the species in the Sea of Cortez. Very little is known about the behavioral patterns of the Steel Pompano.

The Steel Pompano can be confused with the Paloma Pompano, Trachinotus partensis (no white bar at rear of head, long pelvic fins) and the Whitemouth Jack, Uraspis helvola (first dorsal fin a small triangle, no white bar at rear of head, inside of mouth white, modest sized anal and dorsal fin lobes).

Steel Pompano, Trachinotus stilbe: Fish caught off the surface on a flylinned sardine off the Gordo Point, 5 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, February 2007. Length: 30 cm (12 inches).
Steel Pompano, Trachinotus stilbe: Fish caught off the surface on a flylined sardine off the Gordo Point, 5 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, February 2007. Length: 30 cm (12 inches).