Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) — also commonly known as black kingfish, crab-eater, prodigal son, black bonito, ling and lemon-fish — are on the move for the next couple of months. They are around buoys, pilings, wrecks and inshore this time of year. Live bait such as crabs and large pinfish are top bait choices; for artificials, it's hard to go wrong with an eel imitation or a bucktail jig. These fish grow rapidly so even the large fish are very inexperienced and easy to fool. When targeting cobia, start at a local boat ramp and work your way marker to marker, buoy to buoy. When arriving to a marker or buoy, I generally turn off the motor about 25 yards out and get my tackle and bait prepared. Have a bucket of saltwater up front so when trolling up to the location your bait will be fresh and ready to go. By trolling up to the location, you won't spook them. If you spook them, back off a few yards and they likely will return. I use medium to heavy spinning gear, 40-pound braid, 40-pound leader and a 3/0 hook. Immediately try to turn their heads to open water. Cobia use the structure to break you off. Once in the open water, the battle begins.
Wes Burns runs Gulfside Fishing Charters out of Brandon. Call (813) 394-7509.