Palometa (Trachinotus goodei)

This small species is a member of the Carangidae family of jacks and pompano.


A bright silvery fish with a deep body, the palometa may be grayish-green and blue above and yellowish on the breast. It has dark, elongated dorsal and anal fins that are bordered in a bluish shade and a black-edged tail. It also has four narrow bars that vary from black to white and are located high on the sides. Traces of a fifth bar appear near the tail.

It is similar to the Florida pompano, but the front lobes of the dorsal and the anal fins are blackish and very elongate (the tips reach back to the middle of the caudal fin).


The palometa rarely reaches 1 pound in weight and is usually 7 to 14 inches long; 18 inches is its maximum length. The all-tackle world record weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces.

Spawning behavior

This species is thought to spawn offshore in the spring, the summer, and the fall.


Palometa feed on crustaceans, marine worms, mollusks, and small fish.

Other Names

gafftopsail pompano, joefish, longfin pompano, sand mackerel; French: carangue quatre; Portuguese: galhudo; Spanish: palometa, pampano.


In the western Atlantic, palometa extend from Massachusetts to Argentina, as well as throughout the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and Bermuda. They are common in the eastern and the southern Caribbean, occasional in the Bahamas and Florida, and uncommon to rare in the northwest Caribbean.


Inhabiting waters up to 35 feet deep, palometa generally form large schools in clearwater areas of the surf zone, along sandy beaches and bays, occasionally around reefs, and in rocky areas.