Cobia Intel-Hit and Miss

June 28, 2014 

Fishing is one of the great passions of my life.

I love almost every aspect of this challenging outdoor sport. But, there are certain parts of this sport which I enjoy more than others and often these particular parts only happen during a certain time of the year.

This is the case for Cobia. Cobia, also called Lemon Fish or Ling, start to show up in our area in the spring and stay here until the fall. However, their arrival to our area does not guarantee that you'll catch them or even find them. So any angler must rely heavily on the information they can gather from buddies that have been on earlier trips. I call this Cobia inel.

You might find Cobia in a wide range of places that have the structure that these fish love from as close as the markers around ship island to the far reaches of the oil rigs south of the Chandeleur Island chain.

With this much area to cover, you really need good Cobia intel to keep from going out blindly to where you think they may be.

Prior to a recent trip, I gathered as much of this intel as I could to try and narrow down the places I was going to try. One report had a few fish seen around Ship Island but a large number swimming around the tanker ships on anchor south of Horn Island.

Leaving out of Gulfport, I decided to try the much closer area of Ship Island first. If I found them here it would save a lot of time and a whole lot of gas. As I worked the first structure off of Ship Island, my mind was focused on the place where a large number of Cobia had been spotted on the ships that were anchored off of Horn Island.

Because of this, I probably didn't put the effort in at Ship Island that I should have. Something would happen later on this trip that would make this probability an almost certainty.

After checking just one structure off of Ship Island and not finding a Cobia, I decided to leave this place and head for the anchored ships. After a thirty minute run the ships came into view. There were a lot of ships anchored in this area and they extended southward for miles.

As we approached the first ship my hopes were high that we might see these fish in the numbers that had been reported to me. When I got to the eighth ship in this seemingly endless line of anchored vessels, I was hoping to see just one.

We worked ship after ship with no results. Just when I was beginning to believe that the Cobia intel I received was bogus information, a man on board the ship looked down to us and said, "I hadn't seen any in the last few days. You really should have been here last week. There were hundreds of them just swimming around. "Should have been here yesterday."

How many times has this well used cliché been applied so aptly to many of my outdoor quests?

It reminded me of another well used cliché which also often applies, "a day late and a dollar short."

As I headed back to Gulfport with no fish, I had to pass right by where we started this trip on Ship Island.

On the structure right next to where we had tried earlier here, I caught a Cobia. Then another one was caught. Now what I was focused on was if I had only stayed here I would probably be home right now and my gas gauge would not be getting dangerously close to that big red E.

The result of this trip was pretty good even though we took a long round-about route to find the fish. The lesson here was that no Cobia intel is perfect and it can often be hit or miss.

Just because there have been a lot of fish in one area doesn't always mean that they or going to be there when you arrive and just because you don't find fish on one structure, in an area where they've been reported doesn't always mean they are not on another structure in the area.

You have to be patient and work for them and give every location the attention it deserves. Sometimes this effort will pay off and sometime it won't. But this challenge is one of the main reasons I love Cobia fishing so much.

Barry Foster, is the host and producer of Gulf South Outdoors which airs on locally on WXXV Fox 25 at 9:30 p.m. on the Thursdays and at 10 a.m. on Sundays. For a complete list of national airtimes go to

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