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How To - Cobia

COBIA FISHING  and such.....

At the Ocean Isle Fishing Center it is our goal to help you catch more fish.  We pride ourselves on working with the area's best captains and having the most knowledgeable staff.  However, it is one thing to know, it is another thing to tell, and that is where the OIFC comes in.  See the below articles, videos and links that will hopefully help you have more success fishing the inshore waters.

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Being Ready for Cobia

How to Cobia Fish


Being Ready for Cobia

Cobia are starting to show and anyone fishing offshore needs to be ready—What they want to have is a 1 or 2 oz bucktail jig in either white or chartreuse—tie that jig to 3 feet of 30# fluorocarbon and rig on Spin rod with 20-30# test- have on standby – also, have a couple of big pieces of squid thawed and ready--- when you see the Cobia- put squid on jig hook and cast to Cobia—they will either A- bite it immediately, B- act interested, C- have no interest.  A- is self explanatory- SET THE HOOK.  B- jig the jig in front of the Cobia and when it turns to investigate, pull it away.  Continue this until the Cobia will aggressively jump on the jig, then SET THE HOOK.  C- jig the bait in front of the Cobia.  If no interest, hang it off the side of the boat and let sit totally still and sometimes they’ll come up to the smell of the squid and “taste” it—when they do, SET THE HOOK.  Also, if no interest, try live bait- Pinfish are good- Also I’ve seen them actually eat a dead Cigar Minnow instead of all the rest—if you go with Pinfish or any other type of bait, use a single nose hook tied to the fluorocarbon for the best shot at a bite!  The key is to be ready and not go fumbling around when the Cobia suddenly shows up behind the boat.

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How to Cobia Fish

How to Cobia Fish


Cobia migrate thru our waters beginning in late April and peak in late May to early June. Although generally Cobia are an incidental catch, there are times when they can be targeted and always, it is a good plan to have a rod rigged and ready  when they unexpectantly show up.


Cobia will hang around offshore reefs and live bottom areas, and are often found around buoys. There are several ways to fish for them.


[1] Buoy jumping:

Using this tactic we will go to buoys and use a spinning outfit[Penn Slammer] rigged with 30lb mono and 5 feet of 50lb fluorocarbon leader. In this case we pitch a “Cobia Jig” at the buoy, let it sink and jig it back to the surface. This same tactic will work with live bait such as pinfish or live or dead eels. The spinning outfit allows you to cast to the buoy.


[2] Artificial reef/wreck or ledge fishing:

Using this tactic we go to reefs, deploy a chum bag tied off the boat stern cleat in the water, and slowly do several laps around the exact location of the reef/wreck. We will then stop over the top of the spot and either take a spinning rod/reel and drop a jig or live bait. The chum will “wake up” the Cobia which typically are handing on the bottom close to the reef/wreck. The chum will bring them to the surface where you then can throw your spinner at them.


[3] Artificial reef/wreck/ledge anchor and chumming:

Using this tactic, we do the same as #2, however in this case we anchor upcurrent from the spot. We put a chum bag on the bottom and also one on the surface. We deploy live baits, freelining to the bottom and attached to a balloon on the surface. Typical King Mackerel equipment will work for this tactic either rigged with live bait king rig or 5/0 live bait hook on 5’ 40-50lb fluorocarbon leader. Fishing in this fashion also allows for bottom fishing for sea bass or grouper and top lining for Kings.


[4] Incidental catch:

Using this tactic occurs when slow trolling for Kings, when a Cobia suddenly appears out of nowhere and attacks your bait spread. Although Cobia on occasion will eat anything, other times they will not eat. When this occurs, a live eel will not be turned down, therefore during late spring to early summer King fishing, we like to have live eels on board in case Cobia show up.


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