The Florida State Record for Cobia is 130 lb 1 oz, and was caught near Destin. No wonder Destin is the Cobia Capital of the World! Imagine a fish of that size! Cobia are some of the strongest fighting fish because of their beefy muscular make up and their innate tenacity. The Cobia is a powerful fish and a thrilling catch and is one of the most sought after game fish and once hooked the thrill really begins with line coming off a screaming reel and the angler unable to do anything but hang on! Cobia are considered an inshore/near shore species and sight fishing is the best method to find these tasty brawlers and works even better if your vessel is equipped with a tower or raised platform. Cobia can be found in all waters off of the coast of Florida and down into the Keys.
The appearance of the fish in local waters is temperature driven and most Cobia anglers start watching the water around mid March for the fish to show up. Cobia are generally found in near shore and inshore waters with inlets and bays – the fish like structure and are frequently found around buoys, pilings and wrecks in these areas. Cobia spawn in spring and early summer and can be found throughout the summer months. Experienced Cobia anglers will look for turtles, manta ray and floating debris to find Cobia- the fish enjoy the easy pickings from the rays as they dig up the bottom foraging for their own dinner.
Cobia are a versatile game fish caught on fly and spinning tackle both. They can be found in offshore waters, near shore waters and on the flats. So no matter what your equipment, type of boat or level of experience there is A COBIA IN YOUR FUTURE!
Best bait and tactics for catching Cobia.
The BEST TACTIC for hooking and catching Cobia it to BE PREPARED! Cobia have a reputation for being extremely finicky when it comes to live baits and lures so have several rods baited and standing by with a variety of offerings. Cobia frequently travel in at least pairs and sometimes threesomes – have several stout rods rigged and ready to go at the fish opportunity. Live crabs and small fish are good bait for cobia but eels and live pinfish and a variety of artificial baits work well especially bucktail combinations with plastic tails. My favorite bait for cobia is an artificial eel made of surgical tubing with a lead sinker at the head. Live baits for cobia include spot, menhaden, mullet, minnows, perch, eels, shrimp, crabs, and clams. These use of these live baits vary with season and location and only experience can tell you what to use and when. Keep bait near the surface or, if cobia are deeper, add just enough weight to get the bait down and still retain its movement. Medium to heavy tackle is generally a good idea to land these fish that average 30 pounds and as every true Cobia hunter knows can easily go over 60 pounds. Fishing for cobia along pilings with a weighted eel is a favorite tactic of experienced anglers.
Cast the reel so it drops alongside the pilling and drops down- if you don’t get a strike the first time keep trying until you have covered all angles before moving on.
A word of caution, Cobia are a tough hard fighting fish and large specimens when gaffed and boated have caused anglers to lose equipment, be injured and have damaged boats. Have a plan when you get that fish over the side- have a fish box open and ready and the decks cleared so you can easily in one coordinated move land the fish and move it to the fish box.
Good recipes for cooking and eating Cobia.
Cobia are excellent table fare and are also great raw for sushi or sashimi. It can also be used as a replacement for fish such as tuna, if people are looking for an environmentally sustainable alternative, as the texture and flavor are quite similar. Did you know that Cobia grows three times as fast as salmon and has been commercially produced in Asia, particularly in Taiwan where it is stocked in about 80% of ocean cages. Here are a few good Cobia recipes to try out- but nothing can beat a hot charcoal grill and a little Italian seasoning splashed on top!
Lemon Butter Cobia
Ingredients: 1 lb. cobia steaks 1/2 fresh lemon 1 tbsp. butter 1 tsp. olive oil 1/2 tsp. Old Bay crab seasoning or equivalent
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain steaks and lay in a casserole dish coated with olive oil.
Squeeze lemon juice over steaks, coat with butter and sprinkle with seasoning.
Bake for 10 minutes or until fish is white on the outside and still slightly pink in the center.
Baked Cobia with Italian Herbs
1 lb. cobia steaks 1 cup crushed bread crumbs 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano 1/2 cup melted butter
1. Rinse fillets and allow to drain in a colander. If necessary, blot away excess water with a paper towel.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Dredge fillets in butter and roll in dry season mixture. Place fillets on a greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 375-degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes. The fish is cooked when it is white and flakes easily
Mainly used in deep sea trolling, outriggers are a pair of long poles fitted on both sides of a boat that holds fishing lines away from the boat. It is usually made of fiberglass and aluminum, and is tilted at an angle between 70 to 80 degrees.
When being used, outriggers are lowered to an angle nearly the same level as the water’s surface. At the edge of each outrigger is a pulley with a cord, attached to which is a quick release clip that holds the fishing line. Once a fish strikes, the line is released so that it can be landed with the use of the traditional rod and reel.
Generally, outriggers improve the chances of a fish striking because not only does it allow the angler to cover more ocean space, it also permits the use of multiple lines. Because outriggers allow the use of multiple rods and reels, anglers can troll as many fishing lines as it may allow, thus, simulating a school of bait fish. It also allows the leader out of the water, thus, preventing bubbles that may scare the fish away.
Outriggers also hold the fishing lines at a distance from both sides of the boat, spreading the lines far enough to prevent the risk of tangling. With more lines in the water, the angler can set them at different distances and depths that can create a variety of natural patterns to increase the chances of a strike.
The shallow, rocky reefs are also home to many fish species, however, trolling in these grounds are dangerous. With the use of outriggers, the fishing boat can stay in the safe deeper water while the lures are positioned to graze the shallow waters.
Florida Bill Fish- the Marlin, Sailfish, Sword Fish, Spear Fish and Saw Fish
In fishing, it is extremely important for anglers to know what types of fish there are in a certain location, like Florida. While tuna is one of the most abundant species in Florida, there is also another species of fish that thrives in the Florida waters just as much. These other species are known as bill fish.
Bill fish is a common term applied to large predatory fish that are known for typically being large in size with long sword-like bills. Some of the most popular bill fish that have been identified include sailfish and marlin. In addition, these species can be found in the migratory, pelagic, and all oceans.
In Florida, however, there are specific species that are found in abundance in its waters. Some of the bill fish found in Florida includes the following:
Sailfish –is a bill fish that is blue to grey in color and has an erectile dorsal fin which stands for its sail.
Blue marlin – also known as the Atlantic blue marlin, is a popular game fish and has high fat content.
White marlin – is an elongated fish with an upper jaw that forms a spear and has dark blue to chocolate-brown color.
Striped marlin – a species of marlin known to be one of the biggest game fish, weighing at 190 kg.
While there are other fishes that are also found in Florida, a number of anglers travel to Florida for a chance to catch bill fish since these fishes are sometimes deemed a bit aggressive and hard to capture making it more challenging for them. To catch a billfish is one of those memorable moments in an angler’s record that beats capturing the often common snappers.
Come explore a iOutdoor Fishing Adventure on your next visit to Florida setting kite on your favorite offshore species!
Joe Del Giorno was able to break free on his last day in port after his 270 foot Coast Guard Cutter made a last minute decision to dock at Port of Miami. After removing the second largest amount of Heroin from the ocean on Coast Guard record, we knew the fish gods where going to bring a smile to Joe at some point in the day as a reward for his great service.
The day stated with a frown however, as a storm with no end in sight decided to great us at Homestead Bay Front Park where we thought we would be leaving in search of Lemon Sharks and Bonefish on the flats. Seeing the storm on radar made our decision to head back north and change gears for Tarpon that had been holding in a few areas.
With the mullet run in full effect north of Miami, I was happy to see the start of it here in Miami with finger mullet showering near the Tarpon areas. A few spot cast with the net and we were loaded with 4-7 inch finger mullet and decided to let them jitter nervously in between rolling Tarpon. These Tarpon are generally lock-jawed and some of the hardest to catch in Miami but they could not resist the jittering and soon there was the blast of a Tarpon and the scream of the rod. With several jumps, long screaming runs and hour of Joe’s great fighting technique; we landed the monster Tarpon estimated at 120lbs. It was Joe’s largest to date and something he will never forget.
Not long after, a rod slams down and a 80lb Tarpon sky-rockets towards the boat spitting a scale free mullet at Joe and me all the while landing head first 3 feet from the boat. It was incredible and you could actually see the Tarpon as he shot under the boat and out of site into the deeper water. Next up was a 30lber that Joe was able to land in about 10 minutes and take another photo. Shortly after we decided to try another spot that had been hot and we found it to be warm. Joe quickly jumped a 75lb Tarpon that may have provided the most spectacular jump of the trip. At this spot Joe was able to catch a monster Mangrove Snapper for day time fishing on a finger mullet which we released and fun with several 5-8lb Jacks that exploded on the finger mullet.
We had some great conversations and it was a great day for Joe as he caught his largest Tarpon ever. It certainly was a pleasure to fish with someone providing such a great service to our country. I look forward to Joe’s next stop in port.
One of the most memorable challenges anglers all over are bound to take is to tackle the Silver King or the tarpon in the waters of Florida. The Megalops atlanticus is commonly known by the name Tarpon. Anglers flock from different parts of the world to fish in Florida because it is here that many great numbers of Tarpon migrate to.
Tarpons up Close
There is little known about the Tarpon because it has no food value compared to other fish. What is known about the Tarpon, however, is that these are prehistoric animals dating back as far as 100 million years. Tarpons also possess a unique organ called the swim bladder which enables them to breathe from the atmosphere. Tarpons, in their early stages of life, typically stay in shallower waters. However, once they grow to about two feet, they move to larger bodies of water. Tarpons are usually found in deep, man-made canals and holes far up the coastal rivers of Florida and in the upper reaches of large bays.
Never go out tarpon fishing unprepared and without any foreknowledge whatsoever. What are being caught are not little fishes but giant ones that can actually exhaust any novice fisherman. The key to successful tarpon fishing is to find northbound schools on the beach. This situation usually presents itself after the first full moon in June. Compared to southbound tarpons, northbound tarpons are hungry and are more likely to stop for bait.
After the right type of tarpon is found, proper presentation and good bait is all that is needed to make the catch. Anglers should distance themselves from their targeted tarpon from a 50-foot gap. With tarpon fishing, overcastting is always a good idea. Next is to land the bait in just the right depth. The bait should be thrown so that it would sink around 8-10 feet just barely above the tarpon’s head and line of sight. Remember, tarpons are easy to spook fish. Once a tarpon is spooked, anglers risk losing not just one tarpon but the whole school of them. Lastly, when a tarpon hooks on to the bait, anglers should most definitely hold on.
For novice fishermen or anglers new to tarpon fishing, Florida offers many tarpon fishing charters. With their help, visitors will be guided on the right equipment, the right fishing technique, and as well as the right bait to use for successful tarpon fishing in Florida.
Florida boasts of having over 8,000 miles of coastline as well as 4,500 miles of inland waterways. With this much water for cruising, it is no wonder that boating is such a popular sport in the state. Many boaters often find themselves cruising over Florida waters and its waterways for the sheer beauty of it. Many types of boats have graced the waters of Florida ranging from mega-yachts to wooden skiffs. In Florida, owning a boat is as normal as owning a car.
The wonders of boating in Florida are further enhanced with its waterways, passages where boats can pass through for maximum boating experience. There are many waterways maintained by the Florida Inland Navigation District, the two most common and popular are the Intracoastal Waterway or ICW and the Okeechobee Waterway.
The ICW is also known as “the ditch” and is a natural but dredged channel. This channel extends 500 miles down the east coast of Florida to the tip of the Keys. This is a very popular boating route because it runs through rivers, creeks as well-dredged canals, giving boaters an extremely great variety in boating experience.
The Okeechobee Waterway, on the other hand, is composed of 135 miles of boating route. Extremely popular during the summer, this waterway runs along the St. Lucie Canal from Stuart, across the lake, then on to Sanibel Island via the Caloosahatchee River.
Just as cars park in a parking lot, boats do so as well but in ports. Boats aren’t just anchored anywhere. There are many great places to anchor in Marathon including across Ponce Inlet in front of sandbar of the Island; the anchorage in Boca Chica Harbor; and the bayside by Sand’s Cut. Brevard County also has a great place to anchor such as sand Island across Marathon Inlet.
Boating Rules and Regulations
It is recommended that before purchasing a boat or even before boating in Florida, especially for those new in the area, to get acquainted with the state’s boating rules and regulations for a safe and legal boating experience.