Wintertime Cobia Fishing in Miami

Wintertime Cobia in Miami

Wintertime Cobia Fishing in Miami

What an epic day. Conditions were sporty with a strong 18knt wind blowing straight out of the south east, but luck was certainly on our side. Our guest from Boston, MA was looking to get into something “big” and the ultimate goal was sailfish, but when you’re kite fishing in Miami – it’s hard to predict exactly what will wander into the spread. Bait at bug light was scarce this morning – a few rogue schools of pilchards were clinging tight to the bottom in about 20 feet of water.  Commercial boats were bailing mackeral, which certainly didn’t help our efforts.  After getting “macked” five times and losing our entire sabiki’s trying to catch threadfins, we switched up to throwing the net in an effort to black out the wells with pilchards.  Carlos made an epic toss, we dumped a few hundred pilchards in the well and off we went into a solid 3 to 5.

I decided to fish north yesterday after several slow trips down south.  We’ve fished Triumph reef and a variety of wrecks the last few trips with minimal success so it was definitely time for a change of pace.  We found bluewater in 190′ off the yellow can and the current was moving steadily.  Finding a decent amount of current off Key Biscayne was a refreshing change of pace. We deployed the spread and drifted into about 130′ before a large brown shape came meandering into the array of baits flickering helplessly on the surface.  The amount of brown sharks in the area the past few weeks has been staggering, so we didn’t think much of the fish as it chased the right middle bait around in circles for a bit…only to give up and eat the short bait.  The fish inhaled the pilchard,  gave a massive head shake (we were still thinking shark), and sounded.  While the “shark” fight was raging from the bow, a gaffer dolphin grabs another kite bait and after a few minutes we put him in the box. Our angler fought the fish for about 25 minutes before up pops one of the largest cobia we’ve seen this year!  I grab the leader, draw him slowly to the boat and Carlos slams the gaff.  The fish goes crazy tearing a massive gap in its back but we manage to haul him over the gunnel and onto the deck.  THUNK!

Capt Todd with a Big Wintertime Cobia

Capt Todd with a Big Wintertime Cobia

It was a true lunker of a cobia.  The fish went 53″ from the fork to the lip, 10″ wide at the fattest part of its head, and measured out with a 23″ girth! We didn’t have a scale big enough to weigh him but i’d venture the fish goes 50+lbs.

Energized for the day ahead we (after all it was only 10a.m.), we set up again off the can and made another long drift north towards Gov’t Cut.  Nothing. Despite live chumming and working the entire water column, nothing came to play.  We set out deeper and connected with another gaffer dolphin, but this time a BIG bull comes following it up to the boat!  Todd was quick with the jig but no bite.  We toss chummers and a pitch bait…but nothing.  The bull was obviously a bit too smart for our tricks.

With the sea conditions getting worse and our bait wells on the fritz, we settled into one more drift a bit deeper around 230′.  We drift into 190 before our bait well goes completely offline, at which point we begin chumming like crazy with pilchards.  By the time we hit 170′, a nice sailfish comes cruising into the spread and nabs the short bait on the right side.  I let him eat for a good 20 seconds and get tight!  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!! The fish goes blitzing around the boat.  Our angler fought this frisky sail for 24 minutes before Carlos could grab the leader.  It was our angler’s first sail so in the boat for a picture he came.

Wintertime Sailfish caught off Miami Beach

Still thrashing by the time we dunked him for revival, the fish kicked off strong and dashed into the blue.  We were now tossing around in 4 to 6 with slightly larger swells and decided to make a washing machine run back through Government Cut.

There’s been scattered reports of Cobia being caught between 60′ and 100′ the last few weeks, and if the current dies down once again it would definitely be worth spending some time cruising around inshore looking for schools of winter time Cobia. We are headed into the shop this friday for some maintenance but should be back in the water by the end of next week.  Hopefully the saifish bite won’t pick up to strong while we’re out of commission.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Charlie

Capt. Charlie Ellis

Capt. Charlie Ellis

Captain at Miami Fishing Charters LLC
Capt. Charlie Ellis of Miami, FL has 25 years experience fishing for big game species like Bluefin Tuna, Sailfish, Swordfish, and Sharks. Capt. Charlie is also an avid scuba diver, world traveler, writer, and entrepreneur.
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