This past week was the perfect time to target Cobia for the smaller boat guys like myself. The 22′ ft Pathfinder Tournament Edition equipped with a tower and upper controls was the perfect set up, but any smaller flats skiff, kayak, or canoe could have done the trick as well. With light winds, clear skies and calm seas, the conditions couldn’t get any better. I had fly angler Panos G. from NYC both Thursday and Friday on the bow armed with a 12wt flyrod. Panos is one of the best, and dedicated fly anglers that I know. For the first part of the day these Cobia will follow the flies multiple times to the boat, nudge the fly and just turn away. A lot of guys on boats around us thought that were silly for flyfishing for them. We could have easily thrown a cobia jig on spin tackle at these fish and easily caught 20 that day, but Panos stuck it out on the flyrod and his dedication paid off! Being from NYC, Panos is used to Striper and False Albacore fishing which involves a fast 2-handed stripping method. He used this method on the Cobia and it seemed to work well! If you stop a fly for a second while a Cobia is trailing it, he will lose interest and turn away. After Panos, got the method down, he started getting the eats which was the first stage, trying to get a good hookset and keeping the fish buttoned with it’s hard headshakes was the second stage. After losing 3 fish that came unbuttoned, we finally boated a beautiful 20-25lb Cobia on fly! Once that first fish was succesfully landed, Panos got the techinque down to a science and started hooking into more fish and landing another one pushing 30-35lbs after several other losses. From what I’ve witnessed, catching Cobia on the fly is not as easy as I thought it would be, it took several fish for us to finally figure out what to do and what they like. Panos did a great job on the bow and he will be back in a couple months to target giant Tarpon that run the beaches on the Space Coast during the early Summer months. Great work Panos!
Saturday I took my brother and friend Bobby out to fish a Cobia tournament that the Central Florida Offshore Anglers club organized. We stayed away from the 300 boats that were working close to the beach and started working an area way deeper than everyone else.. We caught 5 fish out of 7 hooked off of rays, baitpods and free swimmers, our heaviest fish weighed in at 38lbs which didn’t come close to the winning fish which was 57lbs I believe.
Cobia will be hanging around thick for a good while…..hopefully the conditions will get better so we can target these great tasting fish again soon!
-Capt. Willy Le