March Madness is here – bring on the cobia! This is the historic time frame here along the central east coast of Florida that the migration of cobia swims by. Although anglers catch them all year long, this is usually the best time. The water is warming back up to the 70-degree mark. Free-swimming cobia are the most fun to target, a few things must come together though. One being sunny skies, you must be able to see into the water a little bit and two, try to get as high as possible.
Hungry cobia are not picky fish nor are they the smartest. Bait of choice is a buck tail with a whole squid hooked on it. This gives a natural look and smell. There are many different types of baits and lures people use. Even the steel (spoons) works well at times when they are debating what to eat at the boat.
Sometimes, live bait matters, Bunker (also called pogies or menhaden shad) and pinfish work great. It’s fun to watch a cobia go nuts trying to eat a live bait. Sometimes there are days that you will see 30 fish and maybe only 2 will eat or get ‘Fired Up’ on a jig. Not many cobias turn down a live fish. Some say they will never turn down a live choice shrimp or their magic swim bait etc. Fishing is just what it says, fishing.
Gear of choice is a 7-foot-medium action rod with a light tip to allow jigging the lure, and enough backbone to stick the hook. Line is 40lb braid and a 50lb mono leader. When using live bait, try an 8/0 circle hook and hook the live fish through the back of the head. Cast forward and past the fish. For jigs – you cannot reel faster than a baitfish swims. Do not let the jig go down, or the cobia may never come back up.