Pro Talk: Sight Fishing Virginia for Summer Cobia

Posted by Capt. Ross Gallagher on

15 Minutes with: Capt. Tyler Nonn

Here’s what we learned…

Location: Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Coastal waters

Tides: Both tides produce fish. Unlike winter Florida Keys cobia, Virginia fish generally will travel and show themselves on the surface during any part of the tide cycle. Tide lines and rips created by shoals or any structure subsurface often produce fish on the stronger outgoing tides.

Approach: Start down tide and cover water looking for fish. Slowly move up current from spot to spot. Running tide lines, structure, shoals, and rays can be some of your best summer cobia options. Once you find cobia, rays, or bait slow down and cover water systematically. Always try to keep the sun to your back to reduce glare. If you run over and spook fish it often pays to stay in that area. They may come back to the surface and give you another shot. Also have two rods ready at all times for the chance of a double. Often times a fish may come up with another or you can hook a second fish out the group before they disappear.

Rigging Selection: Generally speaking a 10” Jiggin Hogy in Bubblegum, Black, and Tinker Mac are my go to baits. Rig this bait on a 2-ounce Barbarian jig head. If fish are slower to come to the bait I switch to the 7” Thumper Tail in the same colors and drop down to a 1-ounce Barbarian lead head. Adding skirts in different colors can also get picky fish to bite.

Bait Selection: The Hogy 10” Jiggin’ and 7” Thumper Tail.

Why this bait? Hogy’s erratic jigging action triggers fish to bite. Even when fish aren’t actively feeding you can get a fierce reaction bite from an opportunistic feeder like a cobia.


Colors: Colors that the angler can see in the water column are very important. Often times knowing where your jig is relative to the fish is the most important factor when triggering a fish to strike.

Retrieve: When sight fishing, create a intersect point with your cast and move the jig quickly through the fish’s field of vision. If it doesn’t react make your next cast closer and jig the bait more aggressively. Once the fish is coming, keep its attention and it will usually eat the bait quickly. If fish loose interest quickly that’s when I move to the paddle tails.



Rod: 7’ Heavy St. Croix Inshore Mojo series rods

Reel:  Shimano Sustain 10000

Line: 50lb Power Pro Slick

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