Weighing in at up to 150 pounds with a length of almost 7 feet, Cobia are becoming a popular fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The Cobia is a large smooth scaled fish with dark brown colorations grading to white on the underbelly. These fish congregate near reefs, wrecks, pilings, harbors, and buoys.
These fish feed primarily on crabs, squid and of course, other fish. Known as scavengers, these giants can also be found following larger animals such as turtles, manta rays, and sharks, in hopes of capturing a meal from the predators prey. They typically show no fear of boaters and sometimes will follow other caught fish directly to the boat.
Wild US Cobia stocks have the maximum sustainability index score of 4.0, meaning that there isn’t any pressure on the species, and that they are not being over-fished. The populations of Cobia on the Gulf Coast are easily sustained, allowing us to hunt these giants throughout the year and keep them if they are over 33 inches long.
Cobia is usually caught in deep waters, off the Gulf Coast, but there are exceptions to this. They typically take up full time residency in the large bays of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. There are increasing reports in Florida of these fish being caught much closer inshore in the passes, and along the backwaters along the Southwest Florida Coast. Some have even been known to catch these beauties right off the piers here in the Florida Panhandle.
Cobia might just be one of the fastest-growing white meat farmed fish, and is slowing growing to US recognition. While it isn’t the next tilapia, its tasty flesh can compete with the likes of Grouper and Red Fish on the Gulf Coast. Marinate some of these tasty filets in some Italian dressing overnight (white meat only) sprinkle on a little salt & pepper and cook lightly over a few tablespoons of oil. Sear each side for about 1 to 2 minutes, and you’ll be in business for a tasty treat.