Cobia Image Source: Marine Creations Taxidermy

From Deer Stands to Cobia Towers

With hunting season coming to an end, many outdoor lovers look to the Gulf of Mexico for a fishing adventure similar to the experience of sight hunting for deer. Cobia season answers that call! Warmer weather and rising water temperatures signal the beginning of Spring’s migration of Cobia, a hard-fighting game-fish. Leave your camo, stands, and rifles at home. With a charter outfitted to catch Cobia, we include the boat, bait, top-notch equipment, and Cobia catching experience that will have you and your group screaming, “Fish-on,” before you can tell the difference between a shark and a strike from this local favorite!
Spring is the Optimum time to go Cobia Fishing in Destin, FL

Spring Cobia Migration

Original Migration Map Source: The University of Southern Mississippi

Where to Find Cobia

Water temperature is the key to a plentiful Cobia population: 68-70 degrees is optimal.They’re spotted cruising inshore flats and channels along the northern Gulf Coast and show up around mid-March to early April in response to the warming surf. While migrating, Cobia travel northward along the coast of Florida, then westward into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. You can target Cobia while fishing nearshore along the shoreline, but they may surprise you by taking your tolling or bottom fishing bait. Cobia can be tricky to locate at times for the average angler, especially if you are not familiar with Destin fishing. An abundance of Cobia nearshore on day one is not guaranteed on day two. They may spread out and head for deeper waters offshore, in any area that provides them with both plenty of food and ample shelter to hide from larger prey. An experienced charter captain offers the best chances for a successful hook up while targeting Cobia.

Spring Cobia Fishing is Huge in Destin

Spring Cobia fishing in Destin is huge! Destin is home to the Cobia World Championships Tournament, as well as the HarborWalk Marina Annual Cobia Tournament, and the Hog’s Breath Cafe Annual Cobia Shootout! The Spring migration of Cobia introduces the kick-off to warm weather fishing in the Destin area. Locals and visitors alike head out for a chance to hook up with this prize catch, as Cobia is a favorite among anglers of all ages.

One of the most amazing features of the Cobia World Championships Tournament is that Harbor Docks utilizes the funds collected during the event to accomplish the Take-A-Kid Fishing Day every November, which offers 500 underprivileged children the opportunity to experience a once in a lifetime deep sea fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico out of Destin, Florida. Watch the video below to learn more about the World Championships Tournament, and how Cobia fishing is carried out in Destin.

Cobia World Championships from Harbor Docks on Vimeo.

Experienced Destin Charter Boat Captain Key to Successful Cobia Game Fishing

As plentiful as Cobia can be around Destin, they’re not all that easy to find. The most popular method of fishing for Cobia is called “sight fishing.” The fish are often spotted around markers, ships, rigs or anything else that can provide cover for them. Once spotted, fishermen cast free-lined live sardines, crab, or good sized shrimp out in front of them with twenty-thirty pound test line (Cobia are incredibly strong!) The only problem with this method twisted lines after only a couple of battles with a fish. Free-spool reels can be substituted with heavy jigs in place of live bait. The advantage of these is no line twist. Either way, smooth operation of tackle is imperative and you should rely on your charter boat captain to make good recommendations regarding choice of tackle and gear.

Sight Casting for Cobia

Image Source: Saltwater Sportsman

Once the Cobia is Hooked, the Thrill Begins

Cobia Destin, Florida

Cobia caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

The Cobia is a muscular, powerful fish and a thrilling catch to make. Once the fish is hooked, expect lots of line to come screaming off the reel – and watch those fingers! At this point you can’t do much more than hang on. And even after the fish is into the boat, the battle may not be over! Cobia have been known to damage boats and equipment and in cases of unnecessary danger, injure the fisherman, too. The key is to keep the fish under control using a smooth single motion which is something your charter crew can help with. Beware of the 7-10 dorsal spines on top of the Cobia’s that stand erect when the fish is threatened, ready to gouge anything that gets in their way. Rely on the experience of your charter boat crew to keep you safe and ensure your catch is successful.

Cobia is a Prized Catch in More than One Way

The meat of Cobia is white, flakey, and very mild and some say it even has a slight lemon flavor. It’s sometimes actually referred to as the “lemon fish.” Most recipes that call for a white mild tasting fish are well-suited to cobia meat. Its firm flesh makes it perfect for grilling. If you decide to harvest the fish to use it for food, the Cobia must be netted or gaffed and placed on ice immediately. The first mate on board your Destin charter boat will most likely prepare the fillets and package them for you. A single large fish will provide enough steaks to feed your family for several meals, or enough for a fish feast!

Check for a special discounts on Spring Cobia fishing in Destin.