Spring Optimum for Destin Charter Boat Cobia Fishing
Warmer weather and rising water temperatures signal the beginning of spring migration of cobia…a hard-fighting game-fish. They can be spotted cruising inshore flats and channels along the northern Gulf coast. The cobia show up around mid-March to early April in response to warming surf. While migrating, this species travel northward along the coast of Florida, then westward into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Water temperature is the key with sixty-eight to seventy degrees being optimum. Your charter boat captain will help you find, and then reel in the prized cobia.
One popular method of fishing for cobia is sight fishing. They can be spotted around markers, ships, and rigs or anything else that can provide cover for them. Once spotted, cast free-lined live sardines, crab, or good sized shrimp out in front of them, using a quality spin casting combo with twenty-thirty pound test line. The only problem with this method is line twist after a couple of battles with the fish. Free spool type reels are often used with heavy jigs in place of live bait. The advantage these have over spinning reels is no line twist. Either way, smooth operation of tackle is imperative. Your charter boat captain can be relied upon to make good recommendations regarding choice of tackle and gear.
Once the Fish is Hooked the Thrill Begins
The cobia is a muscular, powerful fish and a thrilling catch. Once the fish is hooked, expect lots of line to come screaming off the reel. The angler can’t do much more than hang on. They are tough and hard-fighting. Even after the fish is into the boat the battle may not be over. Cobia have been known to damage boats and equipment not to mention injury to the sportsman. The key is to keep the fish under control as you get it into the box using a smooth single motion. Beware of the seven to ten dorsal spines on top of the body that stand erect when the fish is threatened as you are handling or unhooking, ready to gouge anything that gets in their way. Normally these spines are retracted under the skin. Rely on the experience of your charter boat crew to keep you safe resulting in a successful catch.
Cobia is a Prized Catch in More than One Way
The meat of cobia is white, flakey, and very mild tasting and some say that it has a slight lemon flavor (hence, the name lemon fish). If the angler decides to harvest the fish to use for food, the cobia must be netted or gaffed and placed immediately on ice. The first mate on board your Destin charter boat will prepare the fillets and package them for you. A single large fish will provide enough steaks to feed several families. Most recipes that call for a white mild tasting fish are well-suited to cobia meat. Its firm flesh makes it perfect for grilling.