Cobia Fishing Basics

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Cobia are migratory fish that can be found inshore and offshore.  Inshore, anglers find these fish in bays, rivers and along the beaches.  Cobia are usually targeted inshore under rays and schools of bait fish.  It is common to see cobia swimming underneath rays inshore and nearshore.  Offshore, cobia can be found on reefs and wrecks, although, some cobia will be found near the surface under rays and balls of bait fish just like you see them inshore.

How to Catch Cobia

You can fish for cobia with a bottom rig or by sight fishing for them on the surface.  If you find these fish feeding near the surface, there is no need for a weight.  Just throw a live bait fish on a hook and let it swim freely.  If the cobia is hungry, it won’t take long for them to strike the bait.  The best baits to catch cobia are live baits such as crabs, shrimp, pinfish, mullet and other small bait fish.  Cobia aren’t too picky when it comes to eating, so most bait fish will work for cobia.

Eating Cobia

Cobia taste excellent and there are many recipes that you can find to prepare your catch.

Inshore Fishing for Cobia

Cobia can be found throughout the inshore waters.  One of the most popular ways to fish for cobia inshore is to sight fish for them on the flats.  Cobia can often be found swimming under rays on the shallow water flats.  Anglers look for rays and once they find them, it is common to see a cobia or two hiding underneath the ray.  You will not always find cobia under the rays, but at times, you can find several fish under them.  Cobia are not too picky when it comes to what they eat.  Crabs and most small bait fish will draw a strike from these cobia.  Lures such as jigs, crankbaits and soft plastic baits will also work for cobia.

Offshore Fishing for Cobia

Cobia can be caught offshore throughout the water column.  You can find cobia on the reefs and wrecks that will also hold grouper and snapper.  When fishing near the bottom with live bait fish on the reefs and wrecks, don’t be surprised if you run into some cobia.  Just remember, cobia are migratory fish that are mostly caught from late spring through summer.  If you are fishing offshore and you spot a ray or a big ball of bait fish during this time of year, there is a good chance that some cobia will be around.  If you make sure that you have a rod ready for fishing just below the surface, you will be ready when you run into a ray or a school of bait fish.  You never know when you may run into them and if you do, they are fairly easy to catch with live bait.  They also taste delicious, so it’s a good idea to have a rod ready for them just in case.

Cobia Fishing at Night

Cobia are often targeted at night from late spring through the summer off of bridges and piers.  The key is to fish the bridges and piers that have good lighting.  Even though, you can catch cobia at night in these spots, these fish are not nearly as abundant as some of the other fish that are caught from these spots.  Most of the boaters like to target cobia during the day because the fishermen usually sight fish for them.  Most of these anglers do not target cobia at night.  If you can find the fish, they can be caught as they feed throughout the night.

Migrating Cobia

Cobia are migratory fish and there been studies that have shown some fish moving as many as 15 miles per day over several months.  Starting in the spring, cobia can be found migrating from south Florida up north along the Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Coast up to the Carolinas.  Some of the best fishing for cobia takes place in the nearshore waters from late spring through summer and these fish move into some of the most popular saltwater fishing destinations in the country.

Spawning Cobia

Cobia spawn during the summer months at the mouths of bays and in offshore waters.  At times, cobia can be found spawning in estuaries and shallow bays.  Cobia can spawn between 15 to 20 times over the course of a few months.


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