October Cobia to Fire
  |  First Published: October 2011

Early indications are that this October may need to be renamed ‘Cobe-tober’ given the big cobia are about in good numbers. Some huge fish were landed in late August and September which sets the scene for a cracking month of cobia fishing.

A huge 38kg cobia was speared on Hutchies in late August and there have been confirmed reports of 30kg plus fish already coming from the usual cobia haunts.

Cobia are a great species for anglers in southeast Qld to chase. They can be landed in a small boat and you don’t have to travel a long way to find them. Cobia in the spring months will move into the northern end of Moreton Bay. They are usually found in the Bay around the shipping beacons, the Bulwer Ledge & in numbers on Curtin Artificial Reef. Whiptails are definitely the bait of choice.

The premier location outside Moreton Bay this year will be the Trench. Those small lumps and bumps of rock and coffee rock and the new Artificial Reef west of Hutchies will hold some serious fish this year. Anywhere from just north of Caloundra Heads, south along the shipping channel off Bribie Island and out to Hutchies will be a likely October cobia haunt.

For those launching from Mooloolaba, the most productive sports are Murphys, Spot X, Cobia Wreck and the Caloundra 12 mile. The top end of Wide Caloundra also holds plenty of cobia among the other species found there. The southern end of Wide Caloundra can produce a few fish but to those who float line.

Live bait is essential when targeting cobia. Whiptails, yakkas, slimies, tailor and even sand crabs are gulped down by these beasts. An examination of a cobia’s stomach contents will reveal that these fish are relatively lazy, opportunistic feeders that will gobble up whatever is in front of them rather than swimming around seeking out a particular delicacy. That said, cobia are known as ‘crab eaters’ in the US, and local pro crabbers have seen them picking spanner crabs off the dillies as they are winched up.

My cobia outfit is a TLD 50 loaded with 24kg mono on a Gary Howard Sabre Short Stroker. The mono provides a bit of give as cobia are adept at dropping hooks even after a prolonged battle. My rig is usually a pair of snooded 8/0-9/0 XXX hooks on 100lb plus mono leader. Wire is not required for cobia.

Smaller cobia always fight hard but sometimes the bigger cobia can be led to the boat like a faithful puppy. If they come to the boat green then you are far better to stir them up and tire them out before you land them. The first cobia I ever caught came green to the boat. The fight on the gaff was spectacular but luckily enough nobody was injured. Cobia are very hard to gaff as they roll like a shark so really sharpen your gaff points before heading out.

Sometimes clouds of cobia will appear under your boat and begin to chew on anything that is dangled before them. Solitary fish are far more selective in their eating habits and may ignore your livies and dead baits. Feed the cobia a few cubes of pillies to switch it on before dropping over a pilchard attached to a large single hook with your reel in freespool. The suspicious cobia will swim around and around this bloody mess until succumbing to temptation just before the bait leaves your sight. Then hang on!

The bag limit on cobia is two so fish with circle hooks and release as many as you like. Cobia release pretty well and don’t seem to suffer from barotrauma. Don’t use stupidly light line if you intend on releasing them as the build up of lactic acid after an unnecessarily prolonged battle will see the fish turned into shark food pretty quickly.

The past few years have seen a great October run of trag and snapper fishing compared to the cooler months. YTK although patchy last year will hopefully round out what should be a pretty good fishing month. Expect the pearlies and mixed reef fish to increase in prevalence as the weather warms.

Incredibe Charters has snared the services of Brisbane’s best cobia catching skipper, Shane Steer (ex Shakara and Withdoctor skipper) for mid week cobia charters during October, November and December. Shane joins Neil Bailey, Noel Day and myself on the Incredible skipper roster. If you would like to book a cobia trip or reef fishing trip on Incredible Charters, please call Keith on (07) 3203 8188 or email: --e-mail address hidden--

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