ling, lemonfish, crab eater, bacalo
Fishermen often misidentify large cobia in the water as sharks or sharksuckers. Not only is the species dark brown with a single dorsal fin, but it also occasionally tags along with sharks, rays and turtles, swimming in a slow, deliberate manner. Young cobia are more active than adults and are colored conspicuously, with alternating black and white horizontal stripes with splotches of bronze, orange, and green.
Cobias prefer the shallow waters (less than 60 feet deep) of the Southeastern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. They are commonly found near natural or manmade structures such as reefs, wrecks, floating, objects, buoys and shelves. Little information is confirmed regarding their migratory patterns, although it is known that they move from inshore to offshore environs throughout the year. They will spwan offshore in the late spring (April and May) and the larvae will move shoreward. Young cobias will form large schools, evenually becoming more solitary as they mature.
Although cobia eat fishes such as mackerels and eels, the bulk of the diet is crustaceans-shrimps and crabs. Thus the common name, crab eater.
Age and Growth
Cobia are known to live as long as 10 years, perhaps to 15. In that time they will reach a length of 6 feet and a weight exceeding 100 pounds. Females are slightly larger than males and will grow to 16 inches, or 1 pound, the first year, 49 inches and 36 pounds by the fifth year, and about 60 inches, 69 pounds by the eighth. Males reach sexual maturity when they are 2 years old and 24 inches long, and females when they are aged 3 years old and about 36 inches long.
Cobia are rugged fighters when hooked and are considered by some to be one of the finest eating fish. While anglers may cast or troll artificials, most prefer to bottom fish using cut or live bait. Favorite fishing spots are channels and deep holes in bays and sounds, as well as the waters around floating and stationary objects such as buoys, pilings, and wrecks. Inshore buoys and beacons, often bypassed by fishermen, are excellent places to catch cobia, as well as tripletail. Cobia can also be sightfished on the flats, spring through early fall, where they can be found trailing large stingrays.
A typical conventional outfit includes a 6-foot boat rod and a 3/0 casting reel with 12 to 20 pound monofilament line.
Cobia flesh is white and flaky. This fish is excellent fried, broiled, baked, or basted over charcoal. Baked fish is delicious when dipped in melted butter and lemon juice.
135 lbs. Shark Bay, W.A., Australia
Material from eAngler.com.
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