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How to catch Cobia.

How to catch Cobia.

The Capture of my 51 kg Cobia.

Below you will find out everything you need to know to go out and catch amazing fish like this absolute beauty, here is the story of what happened to me and how I did it. At the time the Gold Coast waters were full of small Yellowfin Tuna and these fish were driving everyone crazy as they could not get their baits (live and dead) and lures past the small Tuna to catch anything else. It was August and that is the time to chase Cobia here on the Gold Coast, but no one could get past the Yellowfin and one afternoon at work in my local tackle shop a mate bought me in a small fin to eat. As the afternoon passed I thought I should go offshore and give the Cobia a crack only because I had a thought, Cobia like fresh fillets and Tuna don't eat Tuna. The weather looked good and by 6:30 pm I had the boat on the water and a mate and I headed out to my favorite fishing grounds. By the time we had arrived, dropped anchor and set up it was nearly 8:00 pm, we put four strips of tuna out with two on the bottom and two unweighted and to my surprise, we just sat there for just over an hour with no hits not even from Sharks. Just after 9:00 pm my Saltiga (bottom bait) buckled over and the way this thing was fighting I thought I had a large Shark so I knuckled down and went hard on 24 kg line and about 20 mins into the fight it popped its head out of the water next to the boat, My mate and I both yelled at the same time COBIA!! We both knew it was a big fish and I backed off my drag just a little and tried to stop my knees from shaking and got myself into a calm state and continued with the fight going a little easier. I think it was around another 40 mins until I had the fish back at the boat at this time my mate had a gaff next to me and the other one in his hands. What happened next I could not believe I yelled at him to gaff it and he said NO! this happened 3 or 4 times until he closed his eyes and took a shot my heart nearly left my chest! but he got it in the head (A perfect shot), next I had my gaff in and we both pulled it over the side and this Cobia did not move it was totally stuffed, by this time it was 10:30 pm cold westerly winds and drizzling with rain, quitting time. We weighed the fish the next morning and it still pulled the scales down to 51 kg. I will never forget that fish and it will have to be a miracle if I am to catch a bigger one.

The Gear.

Cobia is a very powerful fish so a good quality rod and reel are an absolute necessity, that does not mean you have to buy top of the range but it does mean you will need strong mid-range gear. The gear I use is top of the line but does not mean you must have the same.  A good sturdy spin reel for the job would be a Shimano Saragosa on a Shimano Terez rod spooled with 30 or 50 lb braid would do the job nicely.

The Rigs.

I run very simple rigs for most of my fishing and Cobia are no different. I use 80 lb leader 2 to 3 meters long with a 2 hook 8/0 snelled rig on the end. On one rig I will have a size 6 to 8 sinker and drop to the bottom and the other rig with no sinker and just let it slowly sink through the water column. I use Gamakatsu or Shinto hooks and Penn 10x leader. My rigs don't change much for offshore fishing I catch just about everything on this rig.

Cobia Baits.

These fish are not that fussy if it is fresh they will usually eat it!

Live baits

Whole dead fresh Squid, fish

Live or dead (fresh) Crabs

Even frozen bait from a shop. though not ideal!

These fish will also respond to a large variety of lures but are mainly

caught as bycatch while chasing other species.


I use a couple of different techniques for chasing cobia. The first is slow trolling live baits on a downrigger, I like tolling legal sized Tailor around bait schools on shallow reefs 20 to 40 meters. I run two baits of my downrigger and I have them set ten meters apart. I do this in shallow water so I can have one bait a couple of meters off the bottom and the other bait mid water. The mid-water bait usually goes off. The second technique is to fish at anchor over a bait school I deploy 4 baits with two weighted and fishing just off the bottom and the other 2 unweighted just slow sinking down through the bait school and water column. I like to fish late afternoon and into the night. I do not worry about moon phases or tides if the weather is good I just go and enjoy the night, fish or no fish.

Cobia Tips.

Black kingfish is a light line game fish and can be caught from cool to tropical waters. Black kingfish can grow to more than 60 kg and are common of the Stradbroke islands in southern Queensland Australia. When you hook a Black kingfish and you get your first look at him, you might think it's a shark a lot of fishermen do and cut them off by mistake, don't cut off until you are sure of what it is. Black kingfish will take a large range of lures and baits but i find the best way to catch them is to live bait over wrecks or pinnacles that are covered in bait. Black kingfish is an ugly fish to look at but are very nice eating. TIP: Don't be scared to chase them at night time, this is when the big ones come out and play, check out the photo ABOVE of the 51 kg Cobia that was caught at 9:00 pm on a very cold wet night.

First Black King.

This is the story of taking my mate for a fish and his first Cobia. 

We went offshore Saturday afternoon before the wind picked up and had a blast for 3 hours of fishing. We started off the day trying to catch live bait! It was not hard to find as it was everywhere but it would not feed. So I decided to head straight to our spot where we got a nice surprise the water was 24 degree's and purple, blue in color, oil slicks on the water with scales and fish bits floating past, looks bloody good. When we finally got the anchor to hold on our little rock I put out an unweighted pilchard and a few minutes later the reel started screaming and a nice size Dolly jumping in the distance. When we finally had the Dolly on board Graham decided to put a bait on the bottom to see what was down there, it was the usual Trag, Squire until he hooked something a little bigger 10 minutes later he had his biggest Cobia on board.  The Black King was only 15 kg but still a nice fish to finish off the day as by this time the current really started racing so we called it quits and headed home with a nice feed. Graham was one happy man.

Posted by S.G

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