<p>Beautiful weather, tons of bait, and slick calm fishing days help me to realize why I love Florida fishing this time of year. There are very few places in the world where you can come into contact with all three of these scenarios and on top of that there are over 20 different species of fish to choose from during this time of year. The Redfish, Speckled Trout, Grouper, Tarpon and Sharks are some of the more note worthy species that are targeted during this time of year but no other species offers both captain and angler the challenge that a Cobia (or Ling) can give. Whether on spinning, plugging or flyfishing gear pound for pound the Cobia will test you and your gear. Sight casting is the primary method of fishing and it's not uncommon to encounter schools of 4-6 fish. Pinfish, Eels, Pigfish and WhiteBait are by far some of their favorite baits, but very rarely will a hungry Cobia turn away any lure, plug or fly within 5 feet of their faces.
Cobia like structure and most of the Channel Markers, Wrecks, Reefs, and Oysters Bars provide prime habitat for these foraging scavengers. When targeting these particular areas a running and gunning method is used to cover more water in a shorter period of time. Most Cobia are spotted on or around these structures just hovering on or below the surface. While running I tell most of my clients to keep an eye out for bait pods, manatees, and stingrays. Cobia love an easy meal and bait pods provide tons of easy food while most manatees and stingrays stirrup the bottom making finding tiny pray an easy and effortless job for the Cobia.
During a recent 2 day stretch my clients Jay, Nancy Allen and I spent 2 days running and gunning around some of the Nature Coasts most notable Cobia hangouts. We found Cobia on Oyster Bars, Rays, Markers and along tons of local structure. On our first day while fishing a reef in 18 feet of water we had over 9 Cobia come up to our chum slick in a matter of hours. Of the 9 6 were caught with 2 being keepers meeting the 33" Slot limit. Most of the Cobia that were hooked this day were accompanied by one or more Cobia making a pitch-bait rig a must. My choice for a pitch bait is a 7" Berkley Gulp! Jerkbait attached to a 6/0 Circle hooked rigged right through the nose of the bait.
Day 2 was just as productive with 11 hookups. 5 fish were landed with 4 being keepers and 1 short. Our ratio for keepers was great but Jay and I would have loved to have the 60+ pounder that swam off twice with our Pinfish.
Cobia fishing is a blast and can definitely be some of the most exciting fishing the Nature Coast has to offer. So if you're interested in trying your luck at some great Cobia fishing give Red Hot Fishing Charters a call today we're in the Fishing Memories Business.
(We are also still booking for the Cobia Big Fish Tournament during the first weekend in June. If interested please call or email for information)
Capt. Kyle Messier
About The Author: Captain Kyle Messier
Company: Red Hot Fishing Charters
Area Reporting: Crystal River and Homosassa
Bio: Capt. Kyle Messier is a full-time professional fishing guide with over 15 years experience fishing the inshore and offshore waters of Florida. Capt. Kyle's home waters off the world famous Crystal River and Homosassa area produce a number of speices including Redfish, Speckled Trout, Tripltail, Shark, Black Drum, and Largemouth Bass. Inshore light tackle fishing is his specialty, but as long as an area is wet he can figure out a way to catch fish in it.