How to Catch Cobia – Gold Coast
Cobia/Black kingfish: Rachycentron canadus (Linnaeus)
Want to know how to catch monster Cobia off the Queensland coast. Author Anthony Coughran explains how.
Cobia are a frequent visitor to our shores all year round. But mainly thicken up in numbers over the winter months. There is a few reasons why they build up in numbers at this time of the year.
- The whale migration.
- The slowing of the currents on our reefs.
- our reef species spawning.
- The annual mullet and tailor run.
- White Bait run.
- Manta ray migration,
How to catch monster Cobia
Cobia habitat and movements
Big Cobia will sit beside reefs, in crevices and behind reef ledges. “ Like lazy dogs” They do this to conserve energy and to pick off any loose bait that comes their way. These magnificent fish will shadow whales and feed off the protein rich excrement and any bait fish using the whales as cover. In addition Cobia also shadow the manta rays in a similar tradition to the whales. They will sit on and around reefs and structure like wrecks in 5m of water and out to depths of up to 100 metres.
Cobia Size and bag limits
* A size limit of 75cm and bag of 2 for Qld.
* No size limit and a bag limit of 5 for NSW.
Distribution, where and how to catch Cobia
Cobia can be found from Fremantle in WA right around the top end and back down the east coast in Qld and northern NSW.
The best time to catch a cobia
From the start of May to November. But you will still get the odd one through the warmer months too.
Best places to catch a Cobia
Most local reefs around the 18 and 24 fathom mark that hold bait and good number of small reef fish. Furthermore ledges, shale next to reefs, wrecks, man made structures, reefs with high populations of crabs/crustaceans and Around large bouys and FADs as well.
Live baits are definitely the best baits you can use on Cobia. Yakka’s, pike, slimies, mullet, tailor, squid or cuttlefish, crabs, small Bonnie’s and even small squire and bream. They will also hit a wide range of dead baits as well. Butterflied, large strip baits, whole fillets, whole squid, prawns and combos all work well too.
Best set ups to chase Cobia
- Live bait set ups:
Lines 30lb – 80lb braid or mono to 60lb – 150lb leader on a 40lb – 100lb rod with a 6000 – 12000 reel.
- Artificial set ups:
30lb – 60lb mono or braid with 40lb – 100lb leader.
A 30lb – 100lb rod with a 5000 – 12000 reel.
Live bait rigs
60lb to 100lb leader with a running pea sinker to a double hook snell rig is perfect for Cobia. The small sinker will keep the live baits head down. Sinker weight will depend on current and wind. But smaller the better. This Allows your bait to drift to the bottom in a more natural state. But allows more time in the water column getting to the bottom. Which in turn means more hook ups. Fishing an open bail arm will help you keep in contact with the bottom. However there’s a fine line between drifting a foot above the bottom and being in the Reef. A down rigger will help you get your live baits in the strike zone and is a handy tool for trolling reefs to cover more ground and find the fish.
Anchor and Drift Fishing
You can use a similar rig to your live bait rigs for drift baits. A small pea sinker to a double hook or single hook. Allows your baits to drift along the bottom nicely.
Still one of the best ways to catch Cobia on the Gold coasts close reefs. For reefs offshore, a 3/4 – 2 ounce jig head couples with 3- 9inch plastics are the go. Coupled with 30lb- 80lb leader. Jerk shads, grubs, wrigglers, paddle tails all work well on Cobia. Colour depends on the day. But bright colours at dusk and dawn and natural colours once the sun is established. Squid and crab plastics also work really well.
Micro jigs also work well Cobia. 20g to 300g jigs work well. Colour and weight depends on the day. Slow pitch, flat blat and flutter jigs work the best.
Fish preservation and cleaning
When caught Firstly you want to bleed you fish as it will let all the blood out of the muscles and flesh. A quick slice of the gill lining. Secondly a brain spike and straight onto ice or into an ice slurry will keep your catch in the best eating condition. In fact Cobia are a great eating fish. the flesh is very nice crumbed, deep fried, pan fried, baked or steamed, in a salad or on a sandwich. Just add a few herbs, spices, lemon and garlic or what ever floats your boat and get into them.
Cobia also go by the names of blackie, black king and crab eater.
There is a lot of different species of fish in our waters. So having a fish ID app, fish ID books like Grants guide to fish or a fish almanac will help you identify the species you have caught. Which mean there will be no confusion when you get back in or with dpi. Or you can ask us. But if you are unsure take a pic and throw it back. You can always ask us when your back in. It’s not worth it if you don’t know what it is.
If you would like any additional information on chasing these hard fighting brutes, drop us a line we will help you out. For Gold coast fishing charters bookings click here. On behalf of The team at FFGC and True Blue fishing charters we wish everybody safe travels and fishing fun. Thanks AntFFGC.