The African pompano is the largest and most widespread member of the Carangidae family of jacks and pompano, surrounded by a great deal of confusion because until recently, adults and young were classiﬁed as entirely different species. A strong ﬁghter and an excellent light-tackle gameﬁsh, it is a superb food ﬁsh and is marketed fresh or salted/dried.
IdentificationThe most striking characteristic of the African pompano is the four to six elongated, threadlike ﬁlaments that extend from the front part of the second dorsal and the anal ﬁns. These ﬁlaments tend to disappear or erode as the ﬁsh grows.
The body shape of the African pompano changes as it grows; starting out short and deep, it becomes more elongated by the time the ﬁsh is 14 inches long, and the forehead becomes steeper and blunter. In both young and adult ﬁsh, their bodies are strongly compressed, and the rear halves of their body are triangular.
The lateral line arches smoothly but steeply above the pectoral ﬁns and has 24 to 38 relatively weak scutes in the straight portion and 120 to 140 scales. Shiny and silvery on the whole, a larger ﬁsh may be light bluish-green on the back; on all ﬁsh, there may be dark blotches on the operculums on the top part of the caudal peduncles, as well as on the front part of the second dorsal and the anal ﬁns. A young African pompano has ﬁve to six ventral bars.