Fishing for Cobia in Daytona Beach, Florida
More Species at The Fish We Catch in Daytona Beach
Cobia (Rachycentron Canadum) are one of the most popular gamefish caught off the coast of Daytona Beach.
Cobia are also known as black kingfish, black salmon, ling, lemonfish, crab eater and and black bonito. Among Daytona Beach fishing charter guides, they’re known simply as cobia. Cobia are fairly easy to hook but are very strong, with a lot of endurance and put up a good fight. They’re known for continuing to fight and thrash about once they’re landed in the boat so they have to be placed immediately in the catch box. Taking pictures of your catch should be done later! Cobia are found in tropical, sub-tropical and warm-temperate ocean waters around the world. In the western Atlantic Ocean, they are found throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and as far north as Virginia during the summer.
A Description of the Cobia
Cobia are a long, slim fish that can reach over six feet in length and 100 pounds in weight. Cobia have a broad head and a lower jaw that protrudes past the upper jaw. Cobia are dark brown to dark gray in color, grading to white on the underside. They typically have alternating dark and light horizontal bands along their sides which are more pronounced during spawning. A cobia’s dorsal fin resembles a shark’s dorsal fin. Many inexperienced anglers will mistake a cobia for a shark when they see its dorsal fin protruding above the water.
How Big Do Cobia Get?
When fishing for cobia off the coast of Daytona Beach, cobia in the 30 to 40 pound range are common. Much larger cobia, in the 50 to 80 pound range are frequently caught on offshore fishing trips all over Florida including Daytona Beach. The Florida state record for a cobia is 130 pounds, caught near Destin in the Florida Panhandle. However, cobia can reach much bigger sizes.
The official IGFA (International Game Fish Association) all-tackle world record for cobia is 135 pounds, caught in 1985 in Shark Bay, Australia. The biggest known cobia ever caught on hook and line was 141 pounds off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean). However, it was not certified by the IGFA (Must be weighed on an official scale). Spear fishermen off the coast of Brazil have caught an enormous cobia that weighed 172 pounds. However it too was not certified by the IGFA.
Where Are Cobia Found Near Daytona Beach?
Cobia are found in offshore, nearshore and inshore waters around Daytona Beach. Although normally associated with ocean waters, cobia will enter Ponce Inlet, just south of Daytona Beach, and the adjoining estuaries such as the Halifax River basin and the mangrove marshes in search of prey. Cobia are a pelagic, free swimming species. They are normally solitary fish except when they congregate to spawn in spring and early summer.
Cobia are attracted to underwater structures and floating objects where they feed on fish, squid, shrimp and particularly crabs. These include buoys, channel markers, pilings, wrecks and Daytona’s many artificial reefs where the normally solitary cobia may congregate where food is plentiful. They can even be found following sharks, giant rays, and sea turtles as they scavenge for food debris. In the Spring, sight fishing for cobia just off the coast of Daytona Beach is a very popular tactic of local fishing charter captains. Cobia love to swim beneath the giant rays that can be spotted breaching from great distances. There will usually be cobia swimming below the rays!
Cobia are migratory fish and spend the winter months near the Florida Keys. As Spring warms the waters, they migrate up the coast toward Daytona Beach. Spring is a great time for cobia fishing near Daytona Beach as they migrate northward. As the weather warms in the summer, many cobia will enter Ponce Inlet and the local marshes in search of food. The migration repeats itself in reverse each autumn as cobia pass through the Daytona area heading south to the Keys for the winter.
Are Cobia Good to Eat?
Absolutely! Cobia are excellent fish for eating with firm flesh texture and great flavor! Cobia are a highly sought after commercial fish species. Because of their fast growth rate and high quality flesh, cobia is one of the most popular open-water marine species for aquaculture in the world. Food Network’s popular cooking program, Iron Chef America, featured cobia as the main ingredient in one of it’s episodes entitled “Battle Cobia”.
Cobia Catch Limits
In the Daytona Beach area, federal and Florida regulations allow fishing for Cobia year round. The daily bag limit is one cobia per person per day (not counting captain and crew), or 6 cobia per boat, whichever is less. The minimum size limit is 33 inches, head to tail fork. For the most up to date Florida regulations on fishing for cobia in the Daytona Beach area, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Cobia Recreational Regulations. Of course, Captain John of Floating Time Charters is always current on the latest Florida fishing regulations!
A Great Tasting Gamefish near Daytona Beach
Fishing for cobia near Daytona Beach is something every angler can enjoy. You don’t have to be a seasoned fisherman to catch one and even the most experienced angler will enjoy the challenge! On top of everything, cobia are especially good to eat! Ask Captain John of Floating Time Charters about targeting cobia on your next Daytona Beach fishing trip!
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