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Cobia caught on an inshore fishing trip

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Inshore Cobia Fishing

Mother & Son Team Find Big Ling on Florida's East Coast

Thursday April 27, 2017

Cobia are exciting coastal game fish that live and wander both inshore and near shore on Florida's coastlines in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. These large brown fish can be found on many of the wrecks and structure near shore and are often seen free swimming or laying on the surface around bait pods or large coastal animals like sharks, manta rays or whales. It doesn't take much to attract the attention of a cobia for a loitering location, a buoy, floating trash or Sargasso seaweed can make any cobia feel like they're at home.

Cobia are aggressive feeders and excellent table fare for the seafood connoisseur, their flesh is white and tasty and is often eaten raw in the form of sashimi or sushi as fresh cobia has no fishy taste and has texture that is pleasant to the palette.

Fishing the Cobia Migration

Each year cobia migrate up and down our beaches during spring and fall as the water temperatures change during each season. During the spring cobia migrate northward as the water temperatures rise and south as the water temperatures fall accordingly. What's the right water temperature, you might ask? The experts all agree that water temps need to be at least 68 °F with 72°F being the temperature that will get them to move onward. So the "rule of thumb" being that cobia will move northward in the spring as the water approaches 68°F and continue northward as it starts to exceed 72°F. During the migration in the spring a temperature gauge is a critical fishermen's tool for spring running cobia.

Homesteading Cobia in Florida

Favorable year-around conditions can cause cobia to stay put and not migrate. It seems that inshore & near shore wrecks can hold cobia from migrating if the conditions are favorable with food and temperatures. "Cobia aren't very particular about their needs, they just want a place to hang out where the water is warm and there's plenty of food, they're into ocean loitering", explains Captain Richard of Lagooner Fishing Charters. "I've seen them swimming around the buoys inside Port Canaveral and on manta rays in the surf with less than three feet of water. Wrecks and structure attract bait and the cobia are soon to follow if the temperatures are favorable."

"Cobia aren't very particular about their needs, they just want a place to hang out where the water is warm and there's plenty of food, they're into ocean loitering"explains Captain Richard Bradley

When is the best time to catch cobia on Florida's east coast? Best bets are mid to late March, but that's entirely up to the winter water temperatures. Milder winters can cause cobia to travel north as early as January and harsh winters can push them into April or even May, but March is the target month for anglers to catch the annual spring migration, the fall migration southward is not near as dramatic.

Summer cobia fishing involves constant attention to conditions and observing structure, bait pods and other factors. Warmer water can always be inviting for the homesteading cobia during the hottest time of the year, so keep your eyes open and look for the loitering cobia off the bow or maybe swimming in the boat wake off your stern.

Cobia are hard fighting, heavy fish that never seem to give up the battle even after they're boated. Average size of this fish seems to be over 25 lbs with 35-40 lbs not uncommon. Brown to black colored with no teeth, short spikes on their backs and plenty of "BIG FISH" attitude. Cobia are often mistaken by anglers for sharks and can be seen freely swimming near the surface near flotsam or structure. For the most part cobia are dark brown but can have some color fluctuation due to genetics or habitat.

Both INSHORE and NEARSHORE inhabiting inlets, bays, and among mangroves; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, and wrecks. During the spring and fall migrations they can often be seen free swimming along the coastline.

We often find cobia swimming near the surface near floating sargassum seaweed or flotsam. Prior to the 1980's cobia would frequent navigation aids but this has become less of a habit due to angling pressure.

One of the preferred ways to catch cobia consistently is to simply bottom fish near wrecks and structure. Cobia respond well to live bait and find comfort and food source near large bottom structure.

As a note you should always look around large marinelife for swimming cobia. Large sharks, manta rays, whales and turtles can often hold cobia that relate to them as traveling companions or hitchhikers.

Remarks

spawns in spring and early summer; feeds on crabs, squid, and small fish. Target this fish in early spring or late winter (feb-april). Cobia are often seasonal so make your reservations during this time of year.

Cobia Fishing Information & Photos

Port Canaveral Cobia
Family Cobia Fishing
Cobia with Manta Rays
Offshore Cobia
Schooling Cobia Offshore
Site Fishing Cobia
Inshore Cobia Fishing
Central Florida Cobia
Cobia Captain Charters
Cobia Fishing

Regulations

Minimum size 33" to fork 1 per harvester or 6 per vessel per day, whichever is less.

State Record

103 lbs., 12 ozs.

Cobia Fishing on Inshore Waters along Florida's Coastline.

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: October 27 2016 12:38:53.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

"I've fished with Captain Richard of Lagooner Fishing Guides for years and we've never been disappointed. The very first trip with our Captain, he pulled up on a sandbar and waded my young eleven year old son toward tailing redfish in the shallow inshore waters allowing him to catch his very first redfish. Immediately afterward, Richard took us on an hour long boat ride to catch our limit in cobia in a speedy flats boat. That was one exciting day of inshore fishing I will never forget and I'm sure my son and niece will have fond memories of too. I can't wait to get back to the inshore waters on Florida's East Coast." Cindy

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Fishing Reports

April 2017
Indian River Fishing Update

April of 2017 is looking to be an impressive month for large schooling redfish and post spawn sea trout. The lagoons are alive with life, there are plenty of baitfish and the weather has been consistantly more cooperative as the season heads torward warmer months and fairer weather. If the skies are clear and the seas are calm, I've been taking many of my anglers on cobia fishing excursions out of Port Canaveral during the calmer days of March and April for the spring migration of north running ling or lemon fish as many on the gulf coast call them.

If you are not up to catching fish in excess of twenty five pounds on spinning tackle and want to stay on the lagoon, there is still plenty of offerings on the Indian River Lagoon and other inland waterways from Sebastian and northward to the Mosquito Lagoon. The clear water flats across from Titusville and north toward Mims and Scottsmoore have plenty of redfish action, but keep in mind the opportunities for anglers to catch those migrating cobia and oh! Did I mention tripletail?

Fishing Forecast

April - 2017 Fishing Forecast

April flowers and spring fishing have taken over the Banana River Lagoon during and this month is a smorgasborg of fishing for anglers as the water temperatures are rising and spring is in the air. Look for the Banana River to produce some very nice Sea Trout and great redfish as both species are starting to move away from the deeper winter haunts and into the flats near sandbars and islands. Snook may be a great challenge for anglers that can cast accuratley against mangroves and docks.

NOTE: Cobia and Dorado are good opportunities for anglers during the this time of year in the offshore waters near the Banana River Lagoon.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953
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Cocoa Beach, FL
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Inshore Charter Fishing in the Banana River Lagoon near Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Capt Richard and Capt Gina are awesome...! Very accommodating and they surely will guarantee anyone that goes out in the water with a great time!
It's been awhile since I've gone charter fishing with them but I still remember every single moment I was out with them. Thank you Capt Richard and Capt Gina. Keep up the great work and more success to you guys. Fish ON....!!!

about Lagooner Fishing Charters on June 26, 2015

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