Cobia Fishing Tips: How to Catch Cobia

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Unlike most smaller fish, the big Cobia fish can fight hard and break stuff. They do not go down easily, and that is why catching them is no easy task.  

However, it is human nature to attempt to conquer that which is the most difficult to conquer. That is the core reason behind the enthusiasm surrounding Cobia fishing among veterans and new anglers alike.  

If you’re new to this, you’re likely feeling a bit lost and may need some directions. Do not worry because our Cobia fishing tips are exactly what will help you get started. Every veteran has gone through that lost phase but learning these basic tips and techniques is what has always helped them become overcome that.  

Things That You Must Know About Cobia Fishing 

New anglers tend to ignore a lot of these primary directions about catching Cobia, which often leads to poor results. So, let’s make sure to avoid that  

Best Time of the Year  

The Cobia fishing season starts from the first of May. The spawning season for Cobia lasts from June through mid-August. So, this period is considered the prime time for Cobia fishing.  

The Perfect Time of the Day  

Cobias are almost always available as long as you are in the right location. But the time of the day matters because it can be quite difficult to spot Cobia fish under wrong circumstances like cloudy weather. It is easiest to be fishing for Cobia when the sun is at its brightest.  

Not only is it easier to spot Cobia then but also, the higher the water temperature the more the availability of Cobia on the surface. Thus, the prime time is a period between 10 AM and 3 PM.  

Fishing Line  

For Cobia fishing, using a braided line will serve you best. These lines tend to be a lot more durable and stronger than the common fishing lines. The common ones are not apt for catching large fish like Cobia. 

Best Fishing Rods and Reels 

For rods and spinning reels, we have compiled this table comparing three of the best combinations of rods and reels out there today.  

Product Name Length  Weight  Specialty 
Penn Battle Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo 9 feet 1 kg Extremely sturdy and durable  
Quantum Throttle Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo 6.5 feet 0.5 kg Very easy to maneuver  
Zebco Roam 3SZ Combo 6.2 feet 0.4 kg Superior stainless steel construction  

Other Fishing Equipment That You Will Need 

The standard fishing gear with a fishing rod, spinning reels, line, Cobia fishing tackle, and hooks are absolute essentials. Besides that, you should keep an extra-large landing net with you at all times. Another essential piece of equipment is the gaff. They are particularly important to catch Cobia.  

Bait That Gets the Job Done  

One aspect pretty unique to Cobia fishing is the requirement of two different kinds of baits. One is dead bait, and the other is live bait.  

For dead bait, you can use any of the following: 

  • Bucktails  
  • Bunkers 
  • Crabs  
  • Shrimps  

For live bait, these are some of the best options: 

  • Eels  
  • Catfish  

Finding natural baits can be quite expensive. This is especially true for acquiring and storing live baits. To avoid these issues, artificial lures are also available so that you can use them in place of the mentioned dead baits.  

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about live baits, and so, that is something you need to be careful about when picking Cobia lures.  

The Right Place to Find Cobia Fish  

Unlike other fish, the right place for Cobia fishing greatly depends on the weather due to the difficulty in spotting them. Generally, you can find them around channel markers, bridge pilings, buoys, wrecks, and artificial reefs. But to determine the most profitable region, you need to consider the season.  

In summer, these fish can be spotted easily in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The Chesapeake Bay, particularly the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel, is considered one of the best locations for Cobia fishing from May through October in the United States as it has the best conditions during that period.  

The east coast of Florida is another great place for Cobia fishing in these times.  

In winter, Cobia fish tend to migrate south and thus abundantly available and easy to catch in the Caribbean areas of the South Florida Atlantic coast. These areas are filled with migrating Cobia around this time, but they can be a little difficult to spot and catch in winter.  

Regardless of where you decide to fish, it would be wise to first learn about the fishing regulations of that area before you go there to fish.  

How to Catch Cobia Fish: Sight Fishing and Chumming 

It should be noted that Cobias are bottom feeders, but bottom fishing doesn’t bring the desired results. To catch Cobia, you need to lure it towards the surface. Thankfully, Cobias are curious fish, and so you can do that as long as you are aware of the right techniques.  

Cobia anglers mainly follow two ways to catch Cobia depending on their skills and the circumstances they are presented with. These are:  

Sight Fishing  

To catch Cobia sight fishing is one of the more popular methods followed by anglers. We will recommend three different ways for sight fishing in this article.  

  1. Throwing a live Bait  

This is the simplest method of Cobia fishing, but you need to be very fortunate for it to work. As discussed, live baitfish like live eels and catfish are the best bait for this task.  

All you have to do is throw them and wait for the target Cobia to catch the bait. Cobias are known to be finicky fish as they tend to play around with bait before consuming them. You have to use that to your advantage.  

When you watch the Cobia swim 10-12 inches away, you have to reel the line in as fast as you can.  

  1. Using Cobia Jig  

Many anglers do not make good use of Cobia jigs when sight fishing, and it is a shame. To efficiently use jigs for fishing Cobia, you have to throw a jig about 5-10 feet in front of the fish. Bucktail jigs are perfect for this purpose. 

Make sure the line is extra-long for this one, and let the jig free-fall into the river. Cobias, being curious fish, tend to pursue baits like these, and thus you can catch the big fish by taking advantage of that.  

  1. Making the Most of Serendipitous Scenarios  

The most serendipitous scenario in the case of Cobia fishing has to be a Cobia casually moving in front of your boat. Cobias are fearless creatures that won’t run from you. Instead, they tend to seek shade underneath boats.  

However, you can use this fearlessness against the big fish when sight fishing. Wait until the Cobia disappears underwater after approaching your boat, and then throw some of your Cobia lures. Wait for the Cobia to get trapped and reel it in as fast as you can.  

Chumming  

Chumming is relatively a lot simpler compared to sight fishing. When sight fishing, you have to rely heavily on your instincts and prepare for the right time to strike. That is not the case for chumming. It is a far more relaxed approach to Cobia fishing.  

To pull off this method of fishing, all you have to do is stuff a chum pot with as much crushed crab or any other dead bait of your choosing. Add some live bait to the chum pot as well, and then release it into the water. 

Cobia Fishing Tips That You Must Follow  

So far, we have provided the groundwork for everything you need to know to successfully catch the powerful fish known as Cobia. Finally, these tips should give you the primary idea necessary to set out and do some Cobia fishing practically.  

Don’t Sight Fish If You Are a Beginner  

While sight fishing is the more effective approach to Cobia fishing, it also requires a lot of skill, expertise, and experience.  

You need to acquire very detailed and accurate information on the properties of large Cobia and the ideal locations to fish for them. More importantly, you will also need a boat with a tower which is expensive.  

That is why beginners should look towards chumming instead. Even though Cobias are primarily sight feeders, chumming can be very effective against these sight fish as long as you know the right techniques. Lucky for you, we have already covered that in the previous section of the article.  

Carry Some Bunkers for Chumming  

Bunkers are cheaper compared to most baits, and they are quite underrated, in our opinion. A big chunk of bunkers on an 8/0 or 10/0 hook can easily attract most fish like Cobia.  

Don’t Position Boats Too Deep While Chumming  

A common mistake made by new anglers is that they take their boats out in 30-40 feet of water for chumming. Deeper water is advantageous for seasoned anglers who will use sight fishing. Sight fishing calls for you to be at least 80-100 feet into the deeper waters.  

However, shallow water is more appropriate for chumming. You should go 20-25 feet into the water body for the best results. This way, you will be able to catch more fishes other than Cobia.  

Hold the Net Properly  

To hold fish in such a way that it doesn’t tear the net or wrestle its way out of it, you need to follow a certain technique of holding the net.  

Firstly, you have to hold the very bottom of the net and pull it back towards the end of the handle. Secondly, you have to hold the handle, and the pulled back part of the net together. This prevents the net from getting tangled up with the fish and the bait.  

Finally, make sure to drop and lift the net vertically to make sure the fish doesn’t run away. The process can seem a bit complicated in text, but this video should help you understand how it works:

Try to Spot Manta Rays  

The rays are the key to spotting Cobia. This information will make your life significantly easier. As long as you can find a Manta Ray group, know that some Cobias are nearby.  

Conclusion  

Most anglers will agree that Cobias are some of the most challenging fish to catch. However, the bragging rights for being able to catch one are extremely high as a result. If you want to cash in on that opportunity and earn some bragging rights for yourself, we believe you are now well-equipped to start on that journey.  

By following our Cobia fishing tips, you should be able to do that without the risk of making significant mistakes. But you should keep in mind that you will make mistakes, and it will take some time for you to be able to successfully capture the larger fish.  

This is why you need to be persistent. As long as you are persistent and do not give up, you will become one of the successful anglers in no time.  


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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.