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Cobia: Rachycentron canadum


Gulf State Waters

(north of Monroe/Collier county line)

Minimum Size Limit: 33" fork length

Daily Bag Limit: 1 fish per person, maximum 2 per vessel

Atlantic State Waters

Minimum Size Limit: 33" fork length

Daily Bag Limit: 2 fish per person, maximum 6 per vessel


License Requirements: Saltwater Products Licsense (SPL), Restricted Species Endorsement (RS)

Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: spears, gigs, hook and line, seine, cast net

Habitat and Fishing Tips:

Often mistaken for a shark or shark sucker, the cobia species is dark brown with a single dorsal fin and occasionally found tagging along with sharks, rays and turtles. Young cobia are more active than adults and are colored conspicuously with alternating black and white horizontal stripes with splotches of bronze, orange and green. Like many of the pelagic species, cobia are highly mobile but also attracted to buoys, channel markers and other floating objects where they feed on fish, crabs, shrimp and squid. Cobia prefer water temperatures above 68 degrees and migrate south in October to avoid cold water temperatures in the northern parts of the state. Anglers often target them visually around buoys, over grass flats and along sandy beaches. This visual targeting, and the subsequent chase, often results in “spooked” cobia that can be difficult to catch. While a hungry and “un-spooked” cobia will take almost anything, live eels, pinfish or blue runners have proven to be irresistible to even the most finicky cobia. A wide range of tackle can be used depending on the location and bait. Spinning or bait-casting tackle with 15 to 30 pound test is commonly used.