Port Canaveral Cobia Fishing is coming! Every year as the water temperature starts to climb again, into the high 60’s to low 70’s the Manta Rays and Cobia show up. Cobia Fishing is easy as it is generally done within 10 miles of shore, sight fishing the fish around the rays, turtles, buoys and sometimes free swimming. As of today there have been a few caught randomly, but the everyone is still waiting on the “run” to go down.
Cobia which is also known as Ling among many other nick-names such as Brown Bombers, The Man in the Brown Suit, Brownies, and Crabeaters to name a few. They also look similar to a shark while swimming. Cobia is a long slim fish with a broad flat head, the lower jaw projects past the upper jaw. They have 7-9 free spines before the dorsal fin that can be very dangerous. They are most commonly brown or dark grey on top with a white bottom, and usually have a dark stripe running from the gill to the tail. The state record for cobia is 130 pounds 1oz caught near Destin. Most fish caught out of Port Canaveral are in the 20-30 pound range, but many larger fish find their way to the cleaning table every year.
The method most people use while Port Canaveral cobia fishing is find the water temp between 68-72 and just cruise around while looking for rays and free swimmers. Many people will sit on the t-top or be standing on the gunnels to be able to see farther. Cobia Towers are very helpful and often will have several people looking around in one. Once a ray is spotted with cobia following behind, cast a bait or jig to its side and let it sink. Once you have cleared the ray use a fast retrieval if using a jig, or keep your line tight and wait for your live bait to get smashed by a hungry cobe.
Port Canaveral Cobia Fishing can also be done near wrecks and reefs, but is usually more of a lucky surprise than sight fishing like explained above. They can be caught on the bottom or will sometimes swim up to your boat while anchored or drifting.
While sight fishing for cobia many anglers choose to use a 20 pound spinning set up with 40-50 pound fluorocarbon leader with either a buck tail jig, shrimp, eel, pinfish, or sardine on a circle hook. Really anything alive you can get in front of a cobia. Once you hook up, hold on and get ready for a fight! Cobia are hard fighting fish that brought into a boat green can cause massive damage to anyone or anything in its way. If you decide to bring a green fish into your boat, have an empty cooler or fishbox ready for it to go into where you can shut the lid and wait it out. It is advisable to use a landing net if possible, as a gaff really makes them angry, but don’t be afraid to gaff a larger fish.
Cobia is excellent table fare. My favorite is grilled with the skin on with either a mix of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, or a sauce called “Tobago Keys Peruvian Gold Grilling Sauce” that is amazing on cobia, but please do not overcook it. Many people fry it, some cube it and wrap it in bacon and throw on the grill that way, some people even say eating it sashimi is best. However you do it cobia is delicious.
And a video from years past. We will be fishing every weekend and sometimes during the week if they are running. See you out there!
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Cobia must be at least 33″ to the fork to be able to keep.
The bag limit is 1 per person or 6 per vessel per day, whichever is less.