© St. Petersburg Times, published December 2, 2002
This is one of the best times to fish for cobia. If they are not around channel markers, check in front of the power plant.
Start by catching as many pinfish as you can keep alive. Artificial bait, tube lures and plastic jerk baits that are scented also work.
A 6-foot, medium-action rod with a 4000 or 4500 spinning reel, spooled with 20- to 25-pound braided line, works best. Cobia do not have sharp teeth or gill plates, but they can get tangled in marker pilings.
Therefore, your leader should be about 3-4 feet of 25- or 30-pound fluorocarbon. Use a 2/0 to 3/0 live bait hook tied with a loop knot, and hook the pinfish in both lips.
Find your marker and approach it coming up current. Usually, cobia circle the marker close to the surface. They look like dark logs moving under the water. Cast your bait a foot or two in front of the cobia and allow the current to drift your bait back to them. You should be prepared for a good fight. Even if you do not see fish, cast your bait past the marker and let it drift by. There could be fish down deep.
At the power plant, use the same gear and baits. Cast around rays. Cobia love to pick up tasty morsels that rays scare up. If you do not see fish, do not assume they are not around.
-- Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald is an adventure specialist and fishing instructor for Executive Adventures. Call (727) 450-1585.