How to Catch and Prepare Cobia

How to Catch and Prepare Cobia

The Florida State Record for Cobia is 130 lb 1 oz, and was caught near Destin. No wonder Destin is the Cobia Capital of the World!  Imagine a fish of that size!  Cobia are some of the strongest fighting fish because of their beefy muscular make up and their innate tenacity.  The Cobia is a powerful fish and a thrilling catch and is one of the most sought after game fish and once hooked the thrill really begins with line coming off a screaming reel and the angler unable to do anything but hang on!  Cobia are considered an inshore/near shore species and sight fishing is the best method to find these tasty brawlers and works even better if your vessel is equipped with a tower or raised platform.  Cobia can be found in all waters off of the coast of Florida and down into the Keys.

The appearance of the fish in local waters is temperature driven and most Cobia anglers start watching the water around mid March for the fish to show up.  Cobia are generally found in near shore and inshore waters with inlets and bays – the fish like structure and are frequently found around buoys, pilings and wrecks in these areas.  Cobia spawn in spring and early summer and can be found throughout the summer months.  Experienced Cobia anglers will look for turtles, manta ray and floating debris to find Cobia- the fish enjoy the easy pickings from the rays as they dig up the bottom foraging for their own dinner.

Cobia are a versatile game fish caught on fly and spinning tackle both.  They can be found in offshore waters, near shore waters and on the flats. So no matter what your equipment, type of boat or level of experience there is A COBIA IN YOUR FUTURE!

Best bait and tactics for catching Cobia.

The BEST TACTIC for hooking and catching Cobia it to BE PREPARED!  Cobia have a reputation for being extremely finicky when it comes to live baits and lures so have several rods baited and standing by with a variety of offerings.  Cobia frequently travel in at least pairs and sometimes threesomes – have several stout rods rigged and ready to go at the fish opportunity.  Live crabs and small fish are good bait for cobia but eels and live pinfish and a variety of artificial baits work well especially bucktail combinations with plastic tails. My favorite bait for cobia is an artificial eel made of surgical tubing with a lead sinker at the head.  Live baits for cobia include spot, menhaden, mullet, minnows, perch, eels, shrimp, crabs, and clams. These use of these live baits vary with season and location and only experience can tell you what to use and when. Keep bait near the surface or, if cobia are deeper, add just enough weight to get the bait down and still retain its movement. Medium to heavy tackle is generally a good idea to land these fish that average 30 pounds and as every true Cobia hunter knows can easily go over 60 pounds.  Fishing for cobia along pilings with a weighted eel is a favorite tactic of experienced anglers.

How to Catch and Prepare CobiaCast the reel so it drops alongside the pilling and drops down- if you don’t get a strike the first time keep trying until you have covered all angles before moving on.

A word of caution, Cobia are a tough hard fighting fish and large specimens when gaffed and boated have caused anglers to lose equipment, be injured and have damaged boats.  Have a plan when you get that fish over the side- have a fish box open and ready and the decks cleared so you can easily in one coordinated move land the fish and move it to the fish box.

Good recipes for cooking and eating Cobia.

Cobia are excellent table fare and are also great raw for sushi or sashimi. It can also be used as a replacement for fish such as tuna, if people are looking for an environmentally sustainable alternative, as the texture and flavor are quite similar.   Did you know that Cobia grows three times as fast as salmon and has been commercially produced in Asia, particularly in Taiwan where it is stocked in about 80% of ocean cages.  Here are a few good Cobia recipes to try out- but nothing can beat a hot charcoal grill and a little Italian seasoning splashed on top!

Lemon Butter Cobia

Ingredients:
1 lb. cobia steaks
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Old Bay crab seasoning or equivalent

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drain steaks and lay in a casserole dish coated with olive oil.

Squeeze lemon juice over steaks, coat with butter and sprinkle with seasoning.

Bake for 10 minutes or until fish is white on the outside and still slightly pink in the center.

Baked Cobia with Italian Herbs

Ingredients

1 lb. cobia steaks
1 cup crushed bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 cup melted butter

Directions:

1. Rinse fillets and allow to drain in a colander. If necessary, blot away excess water with a paper towel.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Dredge fillets in butter and roll in dry season mixture. Place fillets on a greased cookie sheet.

4. Bake at 375-degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes. The fish is cooked when it is white and flakes easily

What Kind of Bait Do You Use to Catch SNAPPER in the Gulf of Mexico?

What Kind of Bait Do You Use to Catch SNAPPER in the Gulf of Mexico?

What Kind of Bait Do You Use to Catch SNAPPER in the Gulf of Mexico?The Snapper, particularly the Gulf Red Snapper, is one of the most prized fish to catch in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only is it known for its tasty meat but also for its display of strength in the fishing sports world. It thrives in abundance in the Gulf of Mexico due to the favorable warmer climate and rich marine life in the area.

They key to successful Snapper Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is a wide variety of bait. Remember that just like any game fish, Snappers are very discerning creatures, that one bait may not necessarily be effective the next time.

Of course, you can choose between artificial and live bait. It is observed, however, that Snappers take artificial baits with less vigor compared to natural bait. That is why, when choosing artificial lures, always bring along different kinds and sizes since Snappers to have a range of choices.

Although artificial baits nowadays may have the best in technological advancement, it doesn’t mean that live bait won’t do anymore. In fact, Tarpons respond the most to live baits. Snappers can eat absolutely almost anything although they have developed a preference for small fishes such as sardines and cigar mirrow, and crustaceans. In fact, the Red Snapper derives its reddish tint from its diet of mostly shrimps.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Snappers can be caught in waters as deep as 30 feet to 300 feet. They tend to cluster at the bottom of the ocean and prefer rocky reefs, ridges and ledges, and artificial refuges such as shipwrecks and oil rigs. Also, note that in the Gulf of Mexico, there appropriate regulations cover Snapper fishing.

What Kind of Bait Do You Use? to Catch SNAPPER in the Gulf of Mexico.

What is Sea Sickness, Why Does it Happen, and How to Prevent It?

What is Sea Sickness, Why Does it Happen, and How to Prevent It?

Sea sickness is a form of motion sickness and occurs after spending some time on a craft on water. This type of sickness is brought about by the rocking motion of the craft and is characterized by nausea and in extreme cases, vertigo.  Some people are vulnerable to the condition after only a minor stimulus while some are immune, and others immune through exposure.

Causes or Triggers for Sea Sickness

Sea sickness is not a virus and is not infectious. There are some factors that can bring on sea sickness relatively quickly. These include going below deck for extended periods of time, looking through binoculars for long periods, and staring at objects your brain will interpret as stable (reading, needlework, and the like).

Preventing Sea Sickness

There are some methods to help deal with sea sickness without the use of medications. Here are some tips to help prevent sea sickness:

  1. Staying busy and keeping your mind occupied like fishing.
  2. Staying on deck in the fresh air.
  3. Take deep breaths and drink plenty of water.
  4. Don’t cruise on an empty stomach.
  5. Try and sleep off the sickness.
  6. Cruise in relatively calm waters.
  7. Cruise in vessels equipped with stabilizers to help eliminate the rocking motion that causes sea sickness.

All of these tips will help distract your brain from the rocking motion. Keeping occupied is important as it helps trick the brain into believing that you are uncomfortable from the constant rocking motion of the vessel. The fresh air also helps eliminate the sickness rather than staying indoors or in your cabin the whole time. While it may also be best not to cruise on an empty stomach, it should be remembered that fatty and spicy foods are not the best type of food to stock on before going on a cruise as this can trigger sea sickness.

What is a rigging needle?


A rigging needle is simply a needle used for rigging bait to help aid on offshore fishing such as:  Trolling, Kite fishing, or live-bait fishing. One end has a hole where the thread is placed while the other end is sharp to be able to penetrate the bait/lure body.

How to Rig the Bait

Of course, there are many different ways to rig your bait, lure, etc. In general, you have to understand that something that you are about to rig to the line. What is it made of? Does it have a head and a body? What is the shape and type of its head? These are just some of the things you have to deal with.

Learn when to use a leader and what leader to use. Select the bait or lure. Cut several pieces of bow string (or other sturdy string), prepare strings as many (or more than) as your lures/baits. Get some pieces of Dacron or similar material. Glue all these stuff together and use a rigging needle to stitch them securely, making sure to arrange them in such a way that you will maximize your chances of landing as many fish as you can.

There are needles readily available, though you can also make your own.

Making Your Own Rigging Needle

What you need is a piece of wire coat hanger, file, hammer, and a drill with a 1/8” drill bit. It is quite simple to improvise a rigging needle. First, untwist the coat hanger and cut off a 12” piece (make it shorter or longer, depending on your bait; 12” is good for rigging eels). Use a file to sharpen one end. Use the hammer to flatten the opposite end. Drill a hole in the flattened portion and that’s it – you’ve just finished making your own needle.

What are Outriggers Used For?

What are Outriggers Used For?

What are Outriggers Used For?Mainly used in deep sea trolling, outriggers are a pair of long poles fitted on both sides of a boat that holds fishing lines away from the boat. It is usually made of fiberglass and aluminum, and is tilted at an angle between 70 to 80 degrees.

When being used, outriggers are lowered to an angle nearly the same level as the water’s surface. At the edge of each outrigger is a pulley with a cord, attached to which is a quick release clip that holds the fishing line. Once a fish strikes, the line is released so that it can be landed with the use of the traditional rod and reel.

Generally, outriggers improve the chances of a fish striking because not only does it allow the angler to cover more ocean space, it also permits the use of multiple lines. Because outriggers allow the use of multiple rods and reels, anglers can troll as many fishing lines as it may allow, thus, simulating a school of bait fish. It also allows the leader out of the water, thus, preventing bubbles that may scare the fish away.

Outriggers also hold the fishing lines at a distance from both sides of the boat, spreading the lines far enough to prevent the risk of tangling. With more lines in the water, the angler can set them at different distances and depths that can create a variety of natural patterns to increase the chances of a strike.

The shallow, rocky reefs are also home to many fish species, however, trolling in these grounds are dangerous. With the use of outriggers, the fishing boat can stay in the safe deeper water while the lures are positioned to graze the shallow waters.

Another successful trip with happy customers..

Date: 10/15/2010: iOutdoor fishing trip,

Customer: Matt Wood

Captain: Mike Whitley

Destin Fishing

Another successful trip with happy customers.  Matt Wood and his son had a blast both days.  The father is currently leading the blackfin tuna division in the Destin Fishing Rodeo, which is a month long tournament.  I would bet it is one of the largest in the nation with all the categories and entries throughout the month.

On October 15th and 16th we had the pleasure of taking out the father (Doc Matt) and son (young Matt) fishing duo for a couple of great trips.  The two wanted to do a mixture of bottom fishing and trolling.  The first day we focused on red snapper and king mackerel.  While the second day we targeted red snapper, with the initial plan of adding amberjack in the mix.  However, Mother Nature changed our plans for the second trip and we shifted our focus on triggerfish, instead of amberjack.

Young Matt caught his very first king mackerel on Friday and had a blast catching it.  He easily caught his share of red snapper as well that day.  On Saturday, he started us out with a bonus and his first 20 pound Blackfin Tuna.  This fish gave him a fight, but was no match for Matt.  Matt later earned the nickname of Trigger-Matt for catching over 10 keeper triggerfish.

Doc Matt was just as energetic as his son and caught his share of red snappers and king mackerel.  His claim to fame moment came on Saturday while his son was winding in the tuna.  We quickly threw out a second bait and Doc was hooked up.  The fish fought hard and seemed to be bigger than the one his son was winding in.  After, what seemed to be a long battle for Doc, we boated a 25.4 pound Blackfin Tuna.  This fish was weighed and entered in to the Destin Fishing Rodeo (month long fishing tournament) and is currently leading the Charter Boat Blackfin Tuna division.  He later caught a number of nice red snapper and a red grouper.

We can’t wait to take these two fishing fanatics out again.  They never slowed down on their fishing, even when the sea conditions were rough Saturday morning.  These two definitely caught enough fish to eat a few meals with plenty of family members.

Thank you again for sending us more great customers.  Let me know if you need any further info.  Please see attached photos.  Have videos, but will have to edit before sending.

A Sport Fisherman’s best friend- a sharp filet knife!

A Sport Fisherman’s best friend- a sharp filet knife!

After a good day at sea, and coming home with your prized catch, the next step you should do is preparing your fish. However, for many anglers, preparing a catch is a gruesome task because not only can it be difficult especially to beginners but can also take time. Truth is, with the proper technique, preparing a catch should be one of the most satisfying parts of the whole fishing expedition. In this endeavor, the importance of a sharp fillet knife cannot be gainsaid since it makes fish preparation not only faster but more effective. The secret then to the best fillet is keeping the fillet knife always sharp for perfect use every time.

A Sport Fisherman’s best friend- a sharp filet knife!

Why Sharpen Your Knife?

Using a blunt knife will not only make your task of preparing your task more difficult, it will also make your work unsightly since the cuts you would make are not clean. More importantly, using an unsharpened knife will only open you to accidents as you might apply too much pressure and inadvertently cut something other than fish meat. Learning how to sharpen your own knife will also help you economize, and prevent you from buying knife after knife whenever its edge blunts.

Sharpening Tips

When you sharpen your knife with a quality stone, the idea is to remove the metal from the edge to form a new edge. At a 20-degree angle and lubricated with water or oil, you could draw the blade around the stone in a circular pattern or across and down. Because friction against the stone causes the knife to have a feathered edge, you also need to hone it or straighten the roughened edge.

Maintaining Sharpness

Even though you regularly sharpen your fillet knife, its sharpness still depends on certain factors. If you want a sturdier knife, choose one made of raw steel as stainless steel, although may be easier to sharpen, dulls more easily.

The proper use and storage of fillet knives also lengthens their life spans. When using your fillet knife, remember that it “fillets” not “cuts”. Avoid exerting too much force on the fish meat, but simply allow the knife to slice smoothly through flesh. Also don’t use it on any other meat or thing but only fish. Lastly, after using, wash and dry it thoroughly, always keeping it safe in a clean, dry place after use every time.

Deep Sea Jacks- Amberjack. Inshore Flats Jacks – Crevalle

Deep Sea Jacks– Amberjack. Inshore Flats Jacks – Crevalle

The Jack fish or Jack Crevalle is characterized by their beautiful color of bluish-green to greenish-gold on their backs. These fish also have silvery or yellowish bellies. Its soft dorsal fin and anal fins are almost identical in size and it has a prominent black spot on the gill cover and black spots at the base of each pectoral fins. There are no scales on the throat of the Jack fish. This fish species can grow to nearly 60 pounds. Species similar to Jacks are the Caranx.

Jackfish Habitat

Jack fish or Jacks can be found in both inshore waters and the open sea. They tend to show up anywhere and everywhere but most of the time in places where there are lots of food or baitfish. Jacks often travel into fresh or brackish waters and are often seen in springs that lead to the ocean.

Jackfish Traits

Jacks school by size, the largest fish forming the smallest schools. When they sight prey, often near the surface of the water, they perform remarkable slashing attacks and with such commotion that can be seen at a great distance. When they are done attacking and feeding, they regroup again for their next assault. Jacks are known to be a predatory species and are one of the most contentious bullies in the waters.

Their main food item is fish. A food study reveals that 80% of fish were found in their stomachs, 40% invertebrates, and 2% pieces of wood. They have great swimming endurance as evidenced by their red flesh and falcate tail fin. Jacks also tolerate a wide range of salinities.

Cleaning your offshore catch! The proper technique and tools.

Cleaning your offshore catch! The proper technique and tools.

Filleting a fish is a task that many anglers detest because it is “difficult”. Indeed, filleting a fish could be difficult but it wouldn’t be so with a few tricks. If it is your first time to fillet a fish, use a sharp fillet knife – that is the secret of easy fish filleting. Compare to other methods of cutting, filleting requires only minimum force and pressure because the idea is only to let the knife slice through the meat. A sharp knife then would make this task easier as it would be effortless to guide and manipulate.

With your cutting board and fillet knife ready, here are your steps to how to fillet a fish.

  1. Clean your fish first by slipping your knife into its anus, and making a long cut up to the gills. Removes its insides and rinse.
  2. Lay the fish on its side, positioning it horizontal to you. Hold the head and make a first cut to the bone right after the pectoral fin. When doing this, angle the knife a little towards the front as it will save precious meat.
  3. Turn the fish, positioning it vertical to you. Hold half of its body, and angle your knife sideways to make the first fillet. From the edge of your first cut, run the knife towards the tail, avoiding the dorsal fin. Remember to angle the knife downwards, but also be ready to adjust when you feel your cut is already down the bone.
  4. Peel the meat back and separate the flesh from the backbone of the fish. Continue cutting the flesh, removing any sinew or skin attached to it until the fillet is freed.
  5. Flip the fish and repeat the same process on the other side of the fish.

If your first try in filleting a fish was not as easy and impressive and you would have wanted, remember to practice some more since it is a skill that improves with time. Also, before you try anything too big, try to start first with a small fish since smaller goals are easier to achieve.