[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s years go by, more and more migratory fish are showing up earlier. Ten years ago we would look for the spring cobia run in April. Last year, they showed up in February and if the trend continues, they may very well show up in January this year. Many will be caught around manta rays that frequent the near shore waters. Quite often they are found from the inshore bar (around eight miles out) and the beach. A little farther offshore cobia often follow bottom fish to the surface, as they are being caught. It’s hard for the cobia to resist a live bait presented in front of them. Always keep some live bait and a spinning rod rigged with 60-pound test leader and a nice circle hook ready to go. The latter will come in handy if a few dolphin show up as well.
Snapper fishing has been a little different for us lately. We’re used to going after fat mangroves that will gobble down a big bait with 80-pound test leaders. After the thermocline we went through last summer, the snappers have been a bit more finicky. Scale down the tackle big time! Try 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader, as long as 20 feet or so. Even longer if you’re specifically targeting mutton snappers. Finish your rig off with a 4 OT circle and just enough weight to hold bottom. If you know where to catch some smaller live baits in the river, like pinfish or mahoras, you’re in for a great day of fishing offshore! Watch for yellow tail, mangrove, vermillion and mutton snappers using this combination. Try the 50, 75 and 95 foot reefs for best results.