Chesapeake Bay

How To: Trolling for Cobia with the Hogy Perfect Tubes in the Chesapeake Bay

How To: Trolling for Cobia with the Hogy Perfect Tubes in the Chesapeake Bay
We spent 15 minutes on the phone with Capt. Damon Williams to discuss trolling for Cobia in the Chesapeake Bay with the Hogy Perfect Tube. Here's what we found out...

Location: Bay Bridge Tunnel to the Bay Bridge, Chesapeake Bay (Maryland/Virginia)

Tides: Cobia don’t have very big swim bladders so they don’t like a lot of water movement because they have a harder time getting around. Because of this, you can catch them the best at the beginning or the end of the current cycle. The time of the day doesn’t matter but the first hour and a half of either tidal direction is when it’s the best. In some parts of the bay where the tide runs hard, slack tide is the best time to target Cobia.

Approach: Cobia are structure and bait oriented. When searching for these fish, Capt. Damon often looks for flat bottom with structure, especially during the spawning months. When Cobia are feeding on small bluefish, that’s often how we come across them. A lot of times, Capt. Damon has been fishing for bluefish and caught small Cobia which inspired him to make his own baits (before discovering the Hogy Perfect Tubes) to target the large Cobia under the bait balls. Aside from bait, the fish finder plays an important role as well. They will often look in shallow water (20 to 30-feet) for structure. The Cobia themselves aren’t the easiest to pick up no the fish finder because of their small swim bladders, which cause their markings to be smaller. There are also some historic areas where cobia are commonly found that often act as a starting point. 

Rigging/Lure Selection: 24" Perfect Tubes

Why This Bait? One of their favorite baits are eels and that’s the idea behind the tube, you’re imitating an eel. They’re feeding on bluefish but they can’t resist the tubes. There is something about this region that really attracts the Cobia to these lures. Capt. Damon has tried trolling the perfect tubes others area for Cobia but it doesn’t work as well. He has found that the Perfect Tubes work better than live bait, which is uncommon.

Colors: Wine, Bubblegum, White

Retrieve: Capt. Damon has had the most success while trolling 2 to 3.5-knots. He rigs the boat with inline planers and some inline sinkers. The combination of planers and weights ensures that the baits are always down, regardless of speed. The planers are best when the speed is up and the weights are best when the speed is down. It’s uncommon to troll with both planers and weights but it helps Capt. Damon change ranges in the water column through speed.


Rod: Ugly Stik 30-50lb class rods, medium/medium heavy, 6.5’

Reel: Penn Senator 113HL Conventional Reel

Line: 30 to 50lb mono or braid

Leader: 50 to 80lb mono

Reading next

2019 Shore Fishing Survey Results
How-To: Deep Drop Swordfish Eel Fishing off the Florida Keys

1 comment

Mike Henrie

Mike Henrie

Just bought the lure based on this post alone! Hoping to catch one this year on the Jet Ski trolling in the bay near Yorktown, VA. Would love any other pointers.

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