The annual cobia migration has begun, and nothing announces the official start of fishing season as the report of the first cobia being caught.

Every year, cobia migrate from south Florida all the way to the northern Gulf Coast to spawn. Starting in late March and continuing through the month of April the fish can be found just south of the Pensacola Beach.

Catching cobia along our beaches is a two-step process. Step one is to spot the fish. Cobia will swim just below the surface from east to west, sometimes in large groups while others will be by themselves. Large sportfishing vessels have the huge advantage of using their towers to spot fish as they approach the boat.

Once a cobia is spotted, the angler will either throw a 2-3 ounce jig or a live bait in their direction, with a live eel being a favorite. Other live baits used for cobia are croakers, pinfish, catfish and pigfish.

Using an 8-to-9 foot spinning rod and a large spinning reel loaded with 25-30 pound mono or 40-50 pound braided line work well when cobia fishing.

Cobia aren’t just for anglers fishing from a boat, the Gulf piers see quite a few fish every spring as well. Pier fisherman typically use a 9-foot rod designed to throw the 2-3 ounce bucktail cobia jigs. Braided line helps with casting distance, which can be very beneficial when cobia fishing from a pier.

The regulations for cobia have changed since last season. The bag limit is 1 fish per angler and 2 fish per vessel, changing from 6 per vessel in the past. The legal length remains 33 inches measured to the fork of the tail.

The regulations for cobia have changed since last season. The bag limit is 1 fish per angler and 2 fish per vessel, changing from 6 per vessel in the past. The legal length remains 33 inches measured to the fork of the tail.

Call a charter fishing business for more details on fishing along the gulf coast.