Cobia, ling, lemonfish, crab cruncher, you can call them what you want, but they are all a part of the craze! They quickly become the focus of anglers in Pensacola, Navarre, Orange Beach, Destin, and Panama City when the month of April arrives.
They make seasonal migrations along the coasts in search of water in their preferred temperature range and normally start arriving around Pensacola in late March.
One of the best things about cobia is that they aren’t limited to anglers with fishing boats. They are caught at all of the Gulf piers including Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier and Navarre Fishing Pier along with piers in Gulf Shores, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City.
The majority of them caught in Pensacola, Destin, or Orange Beach are sight fished whether it is off a boat or on one of the beach piers. On the pier a two to three ounce bucktail jig is the bait of choice because the heavy jigs can be thrown long distances.
Jigs can also be used on a boat, but since you usually don’t have to throw far or compete with other anglers there are some better choices. Live eels more times than not are the best bet, but cobia will also take mullet, pinfish, croakers, catfish, and crabs.
You’ll want to choose a real with a good drag that will hold at least 250 yards of line. Some of the favorites of Pensacola anglers are Van Staal 250, Penn 750ssm, Shimano Stradic 8000, Shimano Spheros, and Shimano Saragosa.
Most anglers fishing Pensacola choose a rod in the seven to nine foot range. Custom rods with wire guides are the most popular, but a factory rod will work just fine. Look for the specifications to be something like 15-30 or 20-40 pound line.
Selecting the right line for cobia fishing takes us to a whole new subject. On the fishing piers it’s nearly impossible to compete any longer without using 30-50 pound braided line by Sufix, Fins, or Power Pro. The majority of boat anglers are still using Momoi, Ande, Sufix, or Trilene 20-30 pound mono line.
A variety of different straight, circle, and treble hooks are used by different people, so you just have to try different ones until you find what fits you. If you’re using a treble be sure it’s a 4x strong and use either a Gamakatsu or Eagle Claw. The best circle and j hooks are produced by Owner and Gamakatsu, look for something in the 6/0 – 8/0 range.
There is no need to use a weight when ling fishing considering they are swimming on the surface. Just rig with a 30-50 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and ninety pound swivel.
Charters are also readily available to take you cobia fishing in Pensacola, Orange Beach, Destin, Pensacola Beach, and Navarre. If you are in the Pensacola are be sure to give Hot Spots Charters (http://www.hotspotscharters.com) a call, they are some of the best in the business.
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