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Cobia Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Tuesday, 23 April 2013. Posted in Fish Info

The sole representative of the Rachycentridae family, Cobia is also known as black kingfish, black salmon, ling, lemonfish and crabeaters. These amazing fish are considered a delicious delicacy and they are warm water fish - found in tropical waters of the West and East Atlantic, the Caribbean and off the coast of India, Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific. Adaptable to both temperature and salinity, Cobia are solitary fish. They will congregate in wrecks, reefs, buoys, harbours and other structural objects and even enter estuaries and mangroves. This is where anglers love catching them in Florida.

Smooth and elongated bodies, broad and flat heads, small eyes and a slight overbite are distinct characteristics of Cobia. Bands of fibrous ‘teeth’ can be found on the jaws, tongue and roof of the mouth. Small scales are dark brown with a white underbelly and two darker brown horizontal bands on their flanks, which appear more visible during spawning. Often mistaken for small sharks because of their horizontal pectoral fins, Cobia will remain upright when boated. Their thrashing is vigorous and can be dangerous, especially their sharp spines on their first dorsal fin – of which there can be between six and nine of them. A maximum of two metres in length and no more than 150lbs in weight, these fish are large and have an exhilarating attitude.

Crabs, squid and other small fish make up the common diet of the Cobia. These awesome beasts have no problem with scavenging for scraps and will happily follow sharks, whales, manta rays and turtles for their wastage. Intensely curious, Cobia is not afraid of boats and is even known to follow caught fish and watch the action. Migrating in search of their preferred water temperatures, Cobia can be seen free swimming along the coasts but they winter in the Gulf of Mexico and our VIP Fishing Charters catch them during the colder months.

Cobia is among the most thrilling game fish for anglers to catch. They fight hard and never give up, even after they have been caught and boated. This is how you can be successful when Cobia fishing in Florida:

Bait for Cobia

Using live bait always produces a fantastic response from Cobia. Crabs, shrimps, small pinfish and skipjacks and other smaller fish always get their attention.

Techniques for Cobia

Cobia takes advantage of the comfort and high food sources found near large bottom structures. Simply bottom fishing near wrecks, reefs, rocks and ridges gives the most consistent results, but they can be caught free lining live bait and slow trolling as well.

  • Dropping your line straight down below the boat is ideal for catching Cobia. A fish finder rig is a good choice and it seldom gets hung up when using this method, which is why it is preferred by fishing charter captains.
  • A live bait rig is used by more serious anglers and involves using a long leader for the bait to move freely and an egg slider to keep the weight off your bait, which must appear completely natural when swimming through the water.
  • Slow trolling in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico works well because there are many artificial reefs, wrecks, ridges, ledges, rocks and other structural objects where Cobia can be found. By slow trolling around and over these obstacles an angler will usually get a solid bite from one of these fantastic predators.

Call now to book your Cobia Fishing Charter in Florida and experience their attitude.


About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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