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Cobia caught on an inshore fishing trip

Saltwater Fishing Charters by Lagooner Fishing Guides

Inshore Cobia Fishing

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

Tuesday December 01, 2015

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.


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


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: November 19 2015 19:06:19.

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

December 2015
Indian River Fishing Update

I can't believe we're already in the last fishing month of 2015 and on our way into 2016! But what a great year for many of my anglers and December is looking to be a banner month on the Indian River Lagoon as the big redfish are roaming the flats and loads of keeper slot sized fish are readily being caught by my anglers.

The North Indian River Lagoon including the Mosquito Lagoon is producing redfish and some very nice trout. Cold fronts are occassionally slowing down the bite, but between the fronts there are loads of hungry redfish and sea trout looking for a food source.

Central Indian River Lagoon from near Cocoa and Merritt Island including the Banana River Lagoon is producing the lion's share of bigger trout and some excellent redfish on some of the shoals and islands with surrounding shallow water flats. Look for bait and you'll find your fish...

South Indian River Lagoon towards and around Sebastian is still a consistant snook bite, but as the 2016 nears you'll see that fishery decline as fish migrate to warmer waters in the south or into the freshwater Sebastian River. No need to be concerned the spotted seatrout and redfish will makeup for the changing snook bite.

Fishing Forecast

December - 2015 Fishing Forecast

The month of Christmas welcomes in the winter months and ushers in some of the best fishing on the Banana River Lagoon. Colder temperatures will make fishing better as it concentrates the fish into winter holes where they find cooler stable waters to sit out the fronts in. After each cold front you'll find fish adjacent to the deeper holes on the flats where they'll be laid up sunning and feeding on what ever comes their way. Most of December is great fishing on the lagoon with the exception of the Christmas holidays when it get crowded as vacationers come home and have time off to go for a winter-time fish before going back north and back to work. Savvy anglers will fish before and after the Christmas Holidays.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide on the Banana River with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

Meeting Place for Banana River Fishing Charters

2550 North Banana River Drive
Cocoa Beach, FL

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TripAdvisor Review

Review / Trip Advisor

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.

Excellent people and experience! - My husband and I had never tried anything like this before so we were a bit nervous about being sea sick. Captain Richard was so nice and laid back and gave us tips and tricks to try and fight it off. My husband unfortunately was very sick even before we started to get the lines out. Captain Richard took control and told him what to do and even where to stand in the boat to make it better. Unfortunately after captain Richard tried all his tricks my husband was still pretty sick so we had to call it a day an hour early.
The day was definitely not a loss though. Even though we didn't get to catch any fish I still got to see tons of wildlife! We saw everything from dozens of turtles to Dolphins, Rays, and even an 8 ft hammerhead shark! Captain Richard is a pro and definitely knows what he's doing and talking about. I would recommend this trip for sure!

about Lagooner Fishing Charters on June 28, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

Inshore Fishing

Cobia or Ling Fishing