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Cobia Fishing in Florida: An Angler’s Guide

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So you want to go Cobia fishing in Florida. Good choice! These fish are a great target for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re fairly easy to catch, meaning they’re a suitable target for both novices and expert anglers. And secondly, they taste great and there are plenty of them. This makes Cobia a delicious, healthy, and sustainable food choice.

Cobia are also easy to identify, although you could mistake them for small Sharks at first glance. However, apart from sharing horizontal pectoral fins and similar colorations, the two aren’t related. In fact, Cobia are one of a few fish that have no close relatives at all! They’re solitary swimmers, but you’ll find them in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide – including most of Florida.

In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the best places to hook Cobia in the “Sunshine State,” how you can land your next prized catch, and few rules and regulations to keep in mind. Let’s dive in!

Where do Cobia hang out and what do they eat?

Cobia feed on a diet consisting of Blue Crabs, Stingrays, and bait fish including pinfish and eel. This protein-rich diet plays a big part in why Cobia grow so fast. In some cases, fish will measure over 40 inches in just two years.

Their diet also tells us a lot about where we can find them. Cobia are very aggressive eaters so you’ll often find them around structures that hold a lot of bait fish. These could be buoys, navigational markers, or both nearshore and offshore reefs and wrecks. To sum it up, any large structure where bait fish gather is usually a good place to cast a line.

Where in Florida can I fish for Cobia?

The short answer is, pretty much everywhere! Cobia are warm water fish, so you’ll find them year-round in the south of Florida. If you’re fishing the Atlantic coast, however, there are some migration patterns you should keep in mind. Below, we’ll get into the specifics.

  • The Keys: This is where those Atlantic Coast Cobia hang out during the winter. You’ll find them in great numbers around Key West Harbor and the surrounding wrecks from December–April.
  • Atlantic Coast: Come late March, Cobia start to make their way away from the Keys and up the coast. They’ll hit Daytona Beach first, before moving north towards Jacksonville. By June, Cobia fishing in Florida’s northernmost coastal cities hits its peak.
  • Gulf of Mexico: You’ll find Cobia in the Gulf year-round, but there are two peak seasons to be aware of. The offshore waters around the Panhandle are brimming with fish in early spring, whereas the nearshore waters along the Gulf’s entire coast are best in summer.
  • Sandbars: If you’re looking for inshore Cobia fishing action, hit the sandbars around Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor in spring. Migrating Cobia make a fantastic run along the beaches, creating excellent opportunities for fly anglers and sight fishers.

FishingBooker, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.comMar 18, 2021


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