15 Minutes with: Capt. Steven Sharpe
Here’s what we learned…
Location: Cocoa Beach, FL
Tides: Tides are not too important for sight fishing cobia. Ample sunlight and light winds are better for increased visibility when trying to spot these fish cruising on the surface.
Approach: When trying to locate free swimming cobia, it’s best to start looking for specific changes in bottom contour or water color and temperature. Often, in the Cocoa Beach area, it’s best to begin looking in the 50′ – 70′ depths. This is generally considered the “cobia highway” along this portion of Florida’s coast. Once in this depth range, begin searching for floating debris or weed lines, if none are visible, look for water water color changes that indicate a difference in water temp. These breaks often congregate cobia on one side or the other and give you a point to begin searching for fish.
Rigging Selection: A heavier weighted presentation is great for making long distance casts to free swimming cobia. The Hogy® 1oz X-Strong Jig Head is ideal for sight casting cobia.
Bait Selection: The Hogy® 10inch Original Series
Why this bait? Utilizing a bait that is very different from conventional cobia lures (bucktail jigs, live or dead bait) is important for triggering bites from fish that may be turned off by “conventional lures.” On this day, multiple cobia refused bucktail jigs, but jumped on the opportunity to eat a well placed Hogy® Soft Bait.
Retrieve: These fished were so aggressive towards the Hogy® 10inch Bubblegum, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for a retrieve. As soon as the bait hit the water, the cobia instantly inhaled it. It is important to make sure your bait lands close to and slightly ahead of the fish.
Rod: 8′ Shimano Teramar Heavy Action
Reel: Shimano Baitrunner 8000
Line: 40lb Powerpro Braided Line
Leader: 5′ Section of 60lb Fluorocarbon Leader. Use a uni to uni knot for line to leader connection. Loop knot from leader to jig.