What is Cobia Fish?
Cobia fish is only the best kept fall and winter sport fishing secret on the east coast of the United States. Cobia fish are sleek, fast, and known for their torpedo like shape and powerful fight.
Big cobia fish are so powerful, in fact, they are often mistaken for sharks. Cobia can grow up to six feet in length and weigh more than 100 pounds. The world record cobia was a whopping 135 pounds, 9 ounces.
When caught, cobia fish put up a strong fight which makes them one of the most sought-after game fish in the ocean. In addition, they are clever fighters, known to feign being tired until close to, or even in, the boat.
Even baby cobias are known as exciting catches. Baby cobia have distinct coloring, with alternating black and white horizontal stripes and splotches of bronze, orange, and green.
Cobia fish are also known as black kingfish, black salmon, link, lemonfish, crabeaters, and black bonito, and are prized for their excellent flavor and firm flesh.
How To Fish for Cobia
Cobia fishing can be done year-round, but it is especially popular during the autumn months when the fish migrate to the southern parts of the Gulf of Mexico.
The migration takes them through Virginia and the Carolinas, where the late fall cobia season flourishes.
Cobia fish tend to be solitary hunters, another reason why the migratory months of the fall are a great time to go after them. During those months these fish can be found near reefs, wrecks, harbors, buoys, and other structures.
These fish are big and strong, so cobia fishing tackle needs to be sturdy enough to handle them. In addition, these are saltwater fish, so tackle needs to be sturdy enough to handle salt water.
The best cobia fishing tackle will consist of heavy spinning outfits. Rods should be seven feet in length for boat fishing and nine feet for casting. They should be rated as medium heavy.
Rods like the Penn nine-foot Battalion II, or the Carnage II Surf Spinning rod. Both are known for their quality design and are rated properly for fish such as cobia.
The rod should be matched with a 6000 to 8000 series spinning reel. This allows longer, more precise casts, even when using the lighter lures and bait cobia fish prefer.
While cobia can be caught on bait casters, anglers familiar with the species suggest spinning reels for maximum results. Look to reels such as the Shimano Twin Power SWC which have large enough spools to handle the amount of strong line needed when fishing for cobia.
Cobia Fishing Tips
One of the best ways to fish for cobia is sight casting. Especially during migration, cobia have a unique habit of swimming along the surface, another reason they can be mistaken for sharks.
This surface swimming allows savvy anglers to spot the fish and cast a lure directly in front of it. This is highly effective when fishing from a boat or the edge of a pier.
Cobias are voracious feeders and do not need much enticement to hit bait. While cobia fish do not have sharp teeth, they will still cut through weaker line. A shock leader of fluorocarbon line is best as it is less visible in the water.
Experienced anglers will want to use a 50-to-80-pound leader on a swivel. Such a leader allows better movement and strength, especially when using a lure as opposed to live bait.
Without a doubt, a white buck tail jig is the best lure, especially when paired with a soft plastic trailer.
Cobia Fishing Charters
Cobias are native throughout the eastern coastline, ranging as far north as Maine and south to the Caribbean. They are also native to Australia and other temperate ocean areas.
Because they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico, cobia fish are a favorite of those going on vacation. Be it a cobia fishing charter from Texas, or fishing for cobia in Jacksonville, FL, there are plenty of options out there.
For those new to this species, cobia fishing charters can be a great way to learn techniques to catch cobia and to experiment with different types of gear.
Charter businesses know the best type of rigs and lures to use for different types of game fish. This makes them an ideal way to experiment and learn.
Even other charters will be prepared for cobia as they often follow other game fish. Cobia are known for feeding off chum streams and will sometimes follow another catch right to the boat.
Virginia and Florida charter companies are known for keeping a few dedicated cobia rigs set up and ready to go for when these opportunistic hunters come to the boat.
Cobia Fish Recipes
As it is not commonly caught, anglers will often ask: “Is cobia a good fish to eat?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
In fact, cobia fish taste so good it was the featured ingredient in an episode of the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”
With a firm texture and an excellent flavor, cobia fetches a high price, as much as twice other fish. They have a sweet, buttery taste that is mild, meaning it can be prepared in numerous ways.
From deep fried to fresh, raw sashimi strips, cobia fish are a favorite of those in the culinary world.
In addition, cobia is known to have a range of health benefits as they are low in oil, high in protein, and have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the fish is high in vitamin B and potassium.
Since cobia have large, sturdy bones, fillets and steak cuts are the most common way to prepare the meat.
While grilling cobia fish is a common form of preparation, one of the best recipes is from Australian anglers. They will pan sear cobia steaks in a butter, macadamia nut coating.
Because their flesh is solid enough, cobia are also excellent fish for sturdier recipes, such as blackening and grilling.