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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

Saturday August 19, 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

August 2017
Indian River Fishing Update

It's still very hot temperatures during the dog days of August on the Indian River Lagoon. Fishing is best done in the early morning hours and then it's off to deeper waters for small trout, ladyfish and other mixed bag fishing. Occassionally you'll find a few fish in the flats during the day but for the most part it's an early morning bite for both redfish and sea trout. Snook have been very productive at night and during both morning and evening bites at Sebastian Inlet and it's surrounding shallow water flats. Most big snook are coming out of their spawn patterns and heading toward the inlet to wait for this falls mullet run and other late summer and early fall bait runs.

East Florida's Indian River lagoon always has something to offer anglers during anytime of the year, but you'd better wake up early or be willing to fish at night to catch some of the better fish in August. During the summer of 2017, make it a point to settup a trip on the IRL and some of it's inlets and waterways.

The breeding redfish in late August will start in the later part of the month and into September. If you want to catch a giant redfish, this is the time of year to do it. Look for the best opportunities in the northern end of the Indian River and the Banana River Lagoon.

Fishing Forecast

August - 2017 Fishing Forecast

August is another hot month on the Banana River Lagoon for temperatures but not as good for fishing. Look to the ocean out of Port Canaveral to be more productive or try some fishing down at Sebastian are during the hottest summer months. Redfish can move into the deeper flat regions of the Banana River during the later part of August in preparation of the spawn in September, but these will be the larger redfish and not the slot size that many enjoy for a meal. Look for next month to be a better month for the Banana River and then into the early winter it will even get better. If you're really looking to fish on the Banana River set up a half day evening trip or an early morning pre-dawn trip for snook and reds.

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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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204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL
USA

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and 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.

Had a blast with Captain Richard too bad weather didn't cooperate he still put us on some fish.
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