Fishing, may it be recreational, charter, or commercial fishing, has been a way of life for a lot of local New Smyrna families for many generations. In fact, right now is the perfect time of the year to fish for Cobia. We took a day to go scouting the waters to find Cobia. In this blog we will share some insight of Cobia & capture, up close, the nature of finding these fish nearshore. Not only are they an exciting catch but they taste delicious too.
What are Cobia?
Some people often mistake young Cobia for suckerfish and the mature Cobia for sharks simply because of the dark coloring and shape of their heads. Cobia can grow up to over 5 feet and weigh over 120lbs. Cobia is the only member of its fish family, rachycentron and rachcentridae, making this fish truly unique, just like its mouth watering taste.
Some local’s consider it a fresh, clean, buttery flavor. I considered it to be more of a sweet, almost nutty taste that was very different from any fish I have tried before and it was absolutely delicious.
How do I find Cobia?
The short answer is, almost EVERYWHERE! Cobia are warm water fish & as we all know Florida is warm year round. Whether you are still fishing, casting, trolling, drifting, on or off shore, there are many opportunities to reel one in.
Cobia prefer water temperatures around 70 degrees so as the season of cold fronts begin, Cobia migrate towards south Florida between New Smyrna Beach & Key West. The harshness of winter determines how far south the fish will travel & when spring turns they head back up the coast. Some local’s go out in their boat’s to scout for giant Manta Ray’s and do what is called sight casting. A technique shared amongst fisherman from novice to professional. You don’t necessarily need a boat to find one but it does make things a lot easier. On our search we headed down the coast line of New Smyrna, Ponce Inlet, reaching all the way down to the Canaveral National Seashore searching for what looked like dark colored tarps in the midst of the beautiful ocean blue. As one of the three of us yelled out a time “3 O’CLOCK” indicating a sighting of a manta ray in the correlation to where the boat was facing. The captain would quickly shift the direction, speed and focus on the location of that direction. As we slowly approached what looked like a giant hole in the ocean, you could see the massive wingspan of what is known as a Manta Ray slowly gliding across the water like a bird through the sky. My goodness, it was gigantic, bigger than the boat we were in. Right underneath the Manta Ray’s you can see what looked like torpedos strapped to a B-52 fighter jet. It was the Cobia fish. Apparently this fish is a master hitchhiker of the sea and can be found swimming underneath turtles, whales and in our case, manta rays. In the midst of slowly approaching this giant, they gently casted out their fishing poles in a very precise way to not hook the ray but to get close enough so that the hitchhiking Cobia could see the bait & go for it.
There is a wide variety of bait you can use to catch Cobia such as pinfish, squid, crab & shrimp. We had a couple of different options and used some shrimp & jigs on our lines.
Where can I find Fishing Gear?
If you are looking for fishing supplies, we highly recommend NSB Outfitters. Check out our recent blog featuring our locally owned fish shop here:
What are some good Recipes for Cobia?
This fish can be grilled, broiled or sautéed and doesn’t require much seasoning.
Here are some recipes from around the web:
We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day on the water looking for Cobia that were hitchhiking under Manta Ray’s. We wanted to share this experience & information with our local community. We hope that it encourages someone just getting into fishing, to try something new or help inform them on what this tasty fish is all about. Thank you for reading this blog & please share if you know someone interested in Cobia or fishing in general.