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 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.

Snook Migratory Habits

Snook Migratory Habits

Snook Migratory Habits

Snook are fish that live either in saltwater or fresh water. Tricky to catch, Snook are still much sought-after because of their delicious meat and the challenge of catching one. Like most fish, Snook are cold-blooded animals. Thus, they rely on the water temperature to regulate the temperature of their bodies. Cold temperatures are detrimental to the health of this fish species and sudden drops in temperature can be deadly. Thus, Snook has to migrate to warmer waters such as Flamingo in the Florida Keys when winter begins.

The migration patterns largely depend on where they are currently located, what temperature that location has, and in what direction is the warmer body of water. Snook migrating through the waters of Florida follow an east to west pattern, as opposed to the usual north to south that many fish species do.

Snook can easily move from freshwater to saltwater and vice versa. Those who have observed them swim upstream say that they stay close to the center of the water body – be it a large river or a small creek. Also, Snook love to travel during day time.

The problem with migrating Snook is that they ignore your bait, most of the time, no matter how delicious it might be. They are also easily spooked so fly fishing for Snook can be frustrating. In fact, Snook are the most difficult to catch when they are migrating. Still, if you try to be as subtle as you can, you’d probably be able to entice one to take your bait.

Snook Fishing in Florida:

Snook Fishing in Florida in the ultimate inshore fishing experience. You truly can’t beat the action especially once the snook move in during their migrations. Most of the migrations are due to mating and that search for warmer weather. Summer months are the most productive months to catch them but also the time of year that you can’t harvest them. According to FWC, Dec. 15- Jan. 31st and June 1st- Aug. 31st seasons of harvest are closed.

September 1st brings about one of the most incredible times to go Inshore Fishing in Tampa. Inshore Fishing for these elusive beasts will be one of the most action-packed fishing adventures of your lifetime!

Your Adventure Starts Today while Visiting Florida.

If you enjoyed this post about Tampa Beach Fishing, you might also enjoy our Fishing reports.

 

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.