Family: Rachycentridae

Description: Long, slim fish with a broad depressed head, the lower jaw protrudes past the upper jaw, dark lateral stripe extends through the eye to the tail, first dorsal fin has 7 to 9 free spines, when young, has conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripes

Where Found: Cobia are found nearshore and inshore waters with inlets and bays. They are frequently around buoys, pilings and wrecks in these areas.

Size: average about 30 pounds

*Florida Record: the Remoras of the family Echeneidae

Remarks: Live crabs and small fish are good baits for Cobia. Keep bait near the surface or, if cobia are deeper, add just enough weight to get the bait down and still retain its movement. Medium to heavy tackle is required to land these fish which average 30 pounds.  Large specimens in the 50-80 pound class are frequently caught and cherished by the lucky angler who outmatches these powerful fish. Cobia are excellent table fare.


Minimum Size Limit: 33″ fork length

Daily Bag Limit: 1 per day or 6 per vessel, whichever is less

Gear Requirements: spears, gigs, hook and line, seine, cast net

Fishing TipsCobia is a favorite sport fish for many shoreline and off-shore anglers because it is one of the few species that are found throughout Florida’s marine environment. 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 to the 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.   

**Federal Gulf of Mexico: Closed June 1-July 31; 1 fish per person per day; 0 bag limit for for-hire captain and crew