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Port Canaveral Cobia

Spring Time Sight Fishing Can Be Awesome Fun!

Tuesday January 23, 2018

Nothing's more fun than sight fishing the migration of spring run cobia off Port Canaveral with friends," explains Captain Gina of Lagooner Fishing Guides. "You don't have to get up at the crack of dawn and you really want a nice sunny day with little clouds or overcast conditions because you're spending all day sitting in a boat tower or standing on the bow with your polarized glasses on and you don't want the seas to be over a couple of feet either. During the spring cobia run it's usually the first days of the year to work on your tan before summer, catch a few fish and have a tropical drink while I'm out on the water, and when you catch one of these fantastic sport fish, it's a bonus to come home and have a cobia dinner."

March is usually the time of year when the cobia promenade the clear waters off Canaveral on their way to northern waters pursuing baitfish and summer breeding grounds on the Atlantic Coastal Regions. During the winter cobia can be found on wrecks and other structure between cold fronts and free swimmers can be found when the water reaches 68° on the surface. During the summer cobia often make residence along the warm coastal waters and can actually be caught anywhere from along the beach in pursuit of bait to the offshore fishing grounds on our continental shelf. However, the peak of cobia fishing of Port Canaveral is undoubtedly during the spring when the water temperatures meet or exceed 68°f and this is when the cobia fishing fun begins.

shark and cobia fishing

Sightfishing for cobia is most exciting as your charter captain meanders along ocean areas watching with his expert eye for the big brown fish lolli-gagging on the surface. Sometimes you'll see cobia on a bait pod, other times you'll see them swimming along floating structure like weeds, trash or other flotsam. Many cobia are caught on the giant manta rays that take flight along the beaches while others are caught while swimming circles around sea turtles relaxing on the surface. "One year we saw large tiger sharks lazily swimming on the surface with teams of cobia swarming around like fighter pilots protecting a b-52 bomber another year we saw them on a whale shark and maybe even more bizarre our friends found cobia and mahi-mahi swimming around a Cuban refugee raft with Cubans aboard. It seems like every year has something different for the avid cobia angler.

"Charter Captain Richard Bradley has never skunked us yet and I've been cobia fishing with him for years.  Several times he's raised dozens of fish on some secret structure and we caught and released cobia till our arms wore out."Captain Rocky VanHoose

Port Canaveral Cobia Fishing Charters

Captain Richard Bradley has been cobia fishing since he was a child with his father off Port Canaveral. "My dad used to take me in his nineteen foot Lone Star boat in search of cobia around the channel markers and buoys near Port Canaveral. We never had to go far before we found what we were looking for in the 1960's and early 70's as there were so many cobia that set up residence in our waters. These days you have to look a lot harder and concentrate on where the fish should be, but there's still plenty of cobia around during season when the conditions are right."

Cobia fishing off Port Canaveral is almost a year long event, but the lion's share of cobia are caught in the spring when the water temperature is in the correct range and the bait shows up off Canaveral. Always ask yourself, are the conditions comfortable for the fish you are pursuing and is there a food source for them to follow. In the spring it's a magic time off Port Canaveral as the cobia follow the water temperature and bait northward toward their spawning grounds.

Cobia fishing is undoubtedly one of my favorite fishing activities. This species of fish is aggressive and entertaining for all anglers to participate and enjoy hooking up with.

Cobia are most often sight fished for along the coastlines of Florida. My boat has a tall tower that assist me in finding cobia when they are swimming on the surface or around manta rays and turtles.

Look for March and April to be the best months to fish for cobia around Port Canaveral, but be aware that it's all about water temperature and cobia can make early or late showings due to mild or harsh winter/springs.

Tight lines,
Captain Richard Bradley

Cobia are hard fighting, heavy fish that never seem to give up the battle even after they're boated. Average size of this fish seems to be over 25 lbs with 35-40 lbs not uncommon. Brown to black colored with no teeth, short spikes on their backs and plenty of "BIG FISH" attitude. Cobia are often mistaken by anglers for sharks and can be seen freely swimming near the surface near flotsam or structure. For the most part cobia are dark brown but can have some color fluctuation due to genetics or habitat.

Both INSHORE and NEARSHORE inhabiting inlets, bays, and among mangroves; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, and wrecks. During the spring and fall migrations they can often be seen free swimming along the coastline.

We often find cobia swimming near the surface near floating sargassum seaweed or flotsam. Prior to the 1980's cobia would frequent navigation aids but this has become less of a habit due to angling pressure.

One of the preferred ways to catch cobia consistently is to simply bottom fish near wrecks and structure. Cobia respond well to live bait and find comfort and food source near large bottom structure.

As a note you should always look around large marinelife for swimming cobia. Large sharks, manta rays, whales and turtles can often hold cobia that relate to them as traveling companions or hitchhikers.


spawns in spring and early summer; feeds on crabs, squid, and small fish. Target this fish in early spring or late winter (feb-april). Cobia are often seasonal so make your reservations during this time of year.

Cobia Fishing Information & Photos

Port Canaveral Cobia
Family Cobia Fishing
Cobia with Manta Rays
Offshore Cobia
Schooling Cobia Offshore
Site Fishing Cobia
Inshore Cobia Fishing
Central Florida Cobia
Cobia Captain Charters
Cobia Fishing


Minimum size 33" to fork 1 per harvester or 6 per vessel per day, whichever is less.

State Record

103 lbs., 12 ozs.

Cobia Fishing Trips

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 29 2016 20:35:22.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

January - 2018 Fishing Report

The Banana River comes alive during the colder months of year and January is the peak season for deep hole trout, redfish and juvenile black drum. We've been fishing the deeper canals and slews with success during the cold fronts when the water is cold and also catching some great sized fish on the flats adjacent to these holes. Look for the Banana River to improve as the winter gets colder and the fish transition to their winter haunts in pursuit of cold, stable water. Look for mature fish to seek warmth on the shallow shorelines nearby.

Fishing Forecast

January - 2018 Fishing Forecast

Is it going to be an Indian Summer this January or possibly a deep freeze Polar Vortex? These are the questions that all fishing guides want to know. Depending on how this winter plays out with temperatures, winds and other conditions will dictate how our fishing will pan out in January. Unless the water is churned up by high winds, January will produce some of the cleanest and clearest water of the year in Central Florida as colder water kills of plankton life in the lagoons and mild northeast winds often push in clearer water in the ocean. Look for great inshore fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon and Northern end of the Indian River toward Titusville. If the winds and water are all frothed up it can be a crap shoot for fishing in almost every inshore locations and will shutdown all offshore fishing due to small craft warnings and safety warnings. However, between fronts, look for some of the best fishing of the year in January both inshore and offshore in Central Florida.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Captain Richard was great company on the boat. He's a blast to hang out with and will glady joke around with everyone. When it came to the fishing it was a tough day to start but we were able to find a school of drummer fish. He was able to spot a school of fish from his boat which was pretty cool. We caught a good 20-25 lb black drumfish which made the whole trip worth it. For sure recommend captain Richard.
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on January 22, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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