Cobia/Grouper June 2018
This is the time to break out your best waypoints and go big game hunting! The water is warm, the winds have shifted to the south and the bite is on! Grouper season closes during the winter so the number of keeper fish hanging around ledges are up and Cobia are making their annual migration north to spawn. No more light spinning rods, it’s time to bring out the heavy duty stuff! Take the kids out for a day of deep sea fishing they’ll never forget! (Cobia pictured above was 14 year old Zane Mcpherson’s first saltwater catch!)
23 mile rock. This area is absolutely jam packed with ledges and live bottom that range from about 80′-105′. A good way to get a few options before anchoring is to troll for a couple hours to start the day and mark waypoints as you go. The ledge that these two beauties came off of is about 2 miles due west of the weather buoy , it’s fairly easy to find as there is about a 20ft drop off. It is imperative to position yourself on the right spot so keep moving and anchoring until the bite is red hot. A good rule of thumb is you should either have a fish on or no bait within 30 seconds of hitting the bottom if you’re in a spot worth fishing.
Penn Senator Reels on 6′ heavy Shakespeare Ugly Stick rods are great bang for your buck combos, but anything similar will do. 80 – 100 lb braided line is preferred for hookset sensitivity and lack of stretch. A good trick is to fill the reel with 75% mono and add 300ft or so of braid to the top using a double uni knot. this way you’re not spending tons of money on hundreds of feet of braided line that will never see the light of day! We prefer to make our own bottom rigs with 3 way swivels and 100 lb mono. 7/0 Gamakatsu hooks are the way to go, do NOT use cheap inferior hooks or you will lose these big fish. Bank sinkers between 6oz – 10oz should work depending on conditions. NEVER use pyramid sinkers on ledges or you will spend all day losing rigs.
Bait can really make the difference when targeting trophy fish. You will want to come prepared with 20+ lbs as it will go fast and you can’t exactly run by the tackle store for more once you’re out there! Frozen Sardines, Cigar Minnows, Squid, Mackerel, Menhaden and Bluefish work well but sometimes its hard to compete with live bait. It’s a fine line between spending half the day catching live bait vs. fishing but it can make all the difference on some days. Sabiki rigs are incredibly effective but are notoriously annoying because of tiny hooks and tangles. Pinfish traps are a good option if available and there’s always the good ‘ol cast net in case you come across a bait ball. Just remember it’s always worth starting with frozen and seeing how it goes before searching for live stuff. Go get ’em!