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Saltwater Fishing for Cobia in Tampa Bay



Capt. Patrick Wilson | 01/25/2022

Winter fishing in Florida can be a rewarding experience between cold fronts. Typically, the bite is best just before the drop in barometric pressure and when the winds from the northern states make their way south. Cobia move south and offshore toward warmer waters during the late fall and winter. Cobia found in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico during the summer move to south Florida waters in the winter, possibly spending the winter near the Florida Keys.

“A Fish with A Thousand Names”

Anglers from all across the Eastern Seaboard of the United States target this highly sought-after game fish. Depending on where you are, many refer to them as Jokers, Ling, Cobras, Brown Bombers, Crabeaters, Prodigal Sons, Black Bonitos, Lemonfish, The Man in the Brown Suit, and the list goes on. Despite a differing preference of nomenclature, it is safe to assume that anglers from all over agree that this gamefish is just as exciting to catch as they are to eat. Cobia has a mild, sweet taste to it, and it has little fat found in the meat which often makes for an excellent steak cut over a charcoal grill. As seen above, Capt. Chuck Rogers' crew of FinSanity Fishing Charters had a bountiful bite out of Port 32 in Tampa Bay.

Throughout the winter months artesian springs and powerplants like the Big Bend Power Station (a major coal-fired power plant, located across Tampa Bay) offer refuge not only to manatees because of the warm water they discharge, they also attract game fish such as cobia, sharks, and tarpon. Baitfish, like pinfish and scaled sardines, can be easy to come by during the summer months, but can prove to be more of a challenge to catch during the winter months. Leaving the dock with an arsenal of tackle is always a safe bet when the bait is sparse. Presenting a well-placed Berkley Gulp Alive Eel rigged to ¼ oz Bass Assassin jig head (rigging video below) on medium-heavy 8 foot spinning rod allowing for a long, accurate cast to an unsuspecting fish is nothing short of exciting. Be sure to stop by Reef & Reel to gear up before your next day on the water or contact Capt. Chuck Rogers to book your fishing charter 813-918-8356. Tight lines!


Video on how to rig a Berkley Gulp Eel on a 1/4oz Jig Head Link Below:

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