SCIENTIFIC NAME :
Ling, Crab Eater, Lemon fish, Bacalao
All Florida coasts; widespread throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean,
although seldom plentiful.
All the way from shallow inshore waters to the deep sea. Most Florida
Cobia winter in the southern reaches of the state of offshore, migrating
northward in the Spring to cover both coasts. Dramatic runs occur along
Panhandle beaches in April. Cobia love to hang around navigation
markers, wrecks and artificial reefs, where they swim both at the
surface and down deep. They also escort wandering Mantas and other large
rays, and many are caught around those hosts. Juveniles are frequently
caught incidentally by trout fishermen over many Gulf Coast grass
flats-and same big ones too.
In the water, Cobia look very much like sharks. The usual color is brown
or dark gray above, whitish on the underside, with a dark stripe running
from gills to base of tail. The striped appearance is more vivid in
juveniles. Several rather sharp fins on the dorsal surface extend from
behind the head to the dorsal fin.
Common from 20 to 50 pounds; sometimes up to 80 pounds, and possibly to
100 or more. World record 135 pounds, 9 ounces.
FLORIDA RECORD : 114 pounds, 8
Excellent, smoked or fresh.
A strong but unpredictable fighter. Usually clicks off fairly long, fast
runs, and can fight deep with great stamina; however, many individuals
put on lackluster fights if not pressured too hard saving their best
efforts for after they are boasted!
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Surf tackle is the best bet for pier fishing and for boat fishing when
long casts with heavy lures are called for. Since Cobia are notorious
for wrapping lines around buoys and wreck structure, most anglers use
30-pound-test line or heavier. Once clear of obstructions, however, even
large Cobia can be successfully fought with spinning, bait casting and
fly tackle although a minimum of 10-pound line or tippet is advisable.
When gaffed "green" (not tired), Cobia can-and often do smash up the
inside of a boat. Jigs and large streamer flies are the most-used
artificial lures. Spoons and swimming plugs often work well; you might
wake them up with a surface plug, popper or tube lure. Live baitfish,
such as Pinfish, Mullet, Cigar Minnows, Grunts and Jacks work best, but
live shrimp, crabs, dead fish or squid are good too.
Casting; Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.