Fall fish migrations are under way. Colder water in the northern gulf has signaled vast schools of bait to move south, and a wide variety of game fish are on the move with them. Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonito, jacks, sharks and cobia all will transit our stretch of coastline until late November. The fall cobia run is quite different than in spring. In April, they are caught regularly on the flats, beaches and around nearshore reefs and channel markers. In the fall, few are sighted on the flats, and most of the bigger fish are caught outside 40 feet of water. It seems the bulk of the migrating fish take a different course on their return to South Florida waters. Recently there have been good catches of cobia around the wrecks in 70 and 80 feet, with some being caught outside 100 feet. Offshore grouper anglers working ledges have been catching cobia while bottom fishing. Although you never know when a cobia is going to show up, chumming while you are anchored will increase your chances. No matter where you are, cobia are easily drawn in by a steady chum line of chunks or ground fish. Chum also helps attract them from much farther away, which is helpful on long ledges or very large wrecks. Keeping a live bait out on a flat line, back in the chum line, will produce cobia that rise from the bottom to investigate or come cruising in on the surface.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.