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Cobia Fishing Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) - also known as Black Kingfish, Black Salmon, Cabio, Crab-eater, Lemonfish, Ling, Runner, Sergeant Fish, Aruan Tasek, family name Rachycentridae. They prefer water temperatures 68 F to 86 F. along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Cobia spend the winter (December – March) in the harbors and around the wrecks and reefs of the south Florida Keys. In late March, early April they migrate up the Atlantic Coast reaching Fernandina Inlet in late May, early June. Along the Gulf Coast, Cobia inhabits the Panhandle area in late February, early March. They reach the Gulf Coast in July - August.
The Cobia is a large, long, slim bodied fish with a long, broad depressed head, a protruding lower jaw. Its distinguishing first dorsal fin is composed of 7 to 9 independent, short, stout, and sharp spines that are not connected by a membrane. The Cobia is a sleek and extremely strong fish. They range in size up to about 150 lb. The largest Cobia ever caught in Florida USA weighed about 104 lbs. An average size fish will weigh 20 to 40 pounds. Their eyes are small and their lower jaw projects slightly past the upper jaw. On the jaws, tongue and roof of the mouth are bands of fibrous teeth. Their bodies are smooth with small scales, their dark brown coloration grading to white on the belly with two darker brown horizontal bands on the flanks. These may not be prominent except during spawning when Cobia lighten in color and adopt a more prominently striped pattern. The large pelvic fins are normally carried horizontally. When boated, the horizontal pelvic fins enable the Cobia to remain upright so that their vigorous thrashing can make them a hazard.
The cobias congregate at reefs, wrecks, harbours, buoys and other structural oases. They may also enter estuaries and mangroves in search of prey. Worldwide in tropical and warm temperate waters both offshore and inshore. Adult cobia seems to prefer shallow continental shelf waters. They particularly like buoys, pilings, wrecks, anchored boats, flotsam, etc., and will sometimes congregate around these objects. Cobia feed primarily on crabs, squid, and other fish. Cobia will follow larger animals such as sharks, turtles and manta rays in hope of scavenging a meal.
The cobia is a highly rated, hard-hitting game fish that is prone to long, powerful, determined runs and occasional leaps. Preferred fishing methods are trolling with lures or baits, bottom fishing, jiggling, chumming, and spin casting. They can be caught on crustaceans (which are why they are nicknamed crab-eaters in Australia) as well as on smaller fishes. Good baits are squid, crabs, small live fishes, cut baits, and strip baits. Spoons, plugs, and weighted feathers can also be used. Cobia is hard fighting fish that demand a sturdy rod and reel setup. Your rod should be at least 7 foot in length with a med-fast action tip. Since Cobia are known for long runs that seem to never end, ensure that your drag system is well maintained and working properly. Equipment for spinning and plug casting should be a medium to medium heavy rod and reel with 12# to 20# line. Cast lures in front of moving fish so that the lure is reeled across the Cobia’s path. Brightly colored, jigs Bucktail (in white, lime green, yellow) and noisy sinking or diving plugs are popular choices.
Equipment for trolling or bottom fishing from boat, bridge or pier would be a medium heavy rod and reel with 20#- to 30# line (Minimum 200yrds.) 2 – 4oz egg sinker on line above swivel, 3’ 40#-50# shock leader with a 4/0 to 7/0 O’Shaughnessy hook. Use live grunts, eels, pinfish, bluerunners or crabs as bait.
Cobia rates among the very best in taste and texture of seafood.
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