Year-round residents of south Florida, cobia have been spotted migrating northward in the spring, and back down south in the fall. They travel in small schools and are often accompanied by large rays. As a matter of fact, some anglers use the tips of the ray’s wings breaking the surface of the water as an indicator that a school of cobia may be nearby.
Though usually caught offshore, there are plenty of tales of cobia being caught in the passes and backwaters of the southwest coast. In north Florida. Anglers without boats can fish for cobia off the piers that stretch into the Gulf of Mexico. Cobia feed primarily on fish, squid and crab and have been known to follow larger marine life like sharks, turtles and rays in hopes of scavenging a free meal or two.
In addition to being prized for their excellent flavor and texture, cobia are powerful gamefish. Known for their long runs and their tendency to head for structures, cobia require patience, skill and a sturdy rod and reel set up to land. With a maximum length of 78 inches and a max weight around 150 pounds, these dynamic fish can put up an outstanding fight.
The most common artificial bait used for cobia are brightly colored jigs. Curious by nature, cobia are attracted to sound and movement, so noisy sinking or diving plugs work too. Eels, pinfish, bluerunners, grunts and crabs also work well as live bait.
Sleek and thrilling, cobia continue to be a favorite among new and experienced anglers. Once one of these beauties is hooked and the reel starts screaming, the game is on! It’s easy to see why this fish is a perennial Florida favorite.