Cobia Fishing Charters

Beaufort & Hilton Head Cobia Fishing Charters

78 lb cobia taken in Beaufort, South CarolinaCobia may very well be one of the coolest fish that swim in the ocean. I mean what fisherman wouldn’t like cobia… they are always eating, they grow fast and they put up a great fight. Also know as Ling or Crab Eaters, Cobia look kind of like a cross between a catfish and a shark with a thick brown body, enlarged head and up swung jaw. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times one of my clients has said “look there is a shark swimming next to the boat”… well it was no shark but rather a curious cobia coming up to check us out. These fish are well known to be bold and curious creatures and will readily swim close to the boat , but sharp sudden movements will send them to the depths quickly if we’re not careful in our presentation. Here in Beaufort and Hilton Head we have an excellent cobia run that starts in mid April and runs well into the summer. Not only do we find our cobia in the deeper waters but also well inland. The primary reason that we get such a huge concentration of large cobia around our waters in the spring is because they come here to spawn. In fact, many scientists think that Beaufort is one of the most productive cobia spawning grounds on the east coast.

Sight Fishing for Cobia

65 pound cobiaThere are many ways to fish for cobia but my preference is to sight fish for them. These fish will readily come to the surface and boldly cruise in search of food and warmth from the sun. There is nothing quite like seeing one of these bruisers pushing water on the surface and I have seen many angles (myself included) go weak in the knees and shaky to make a cast due to the excitement! Overall, the process of looking for cobia can be a bit boring as we ride around looking and searching but once we find fish the action heats up quick. In most cases cobia will be cruising solo but it is not uncommon to see several fish together, especially one female being trailed by several males. Once we find fish the key is to get the boat into position for a good shot, not too close but not too far away and though these fish are not too spooky; donking them on the head with a big lure usually sends them to the depths so a well placed cast goes a long way in getting hooked up. We use both spin and fly fishing gear to catch cobia. For spinning tackle I go a little bit heavier than usual, breaking out 15-20 pound class Uglystick spinning rods matched with heavy duty Penn SS reels and we will use either lures or live bait tactics to get a bite. For those of you brave enough to do battle with a cobia on fly, we would use 10 weight St. Croix fly rods matched with Sage 6000 fly reels and highly visible fly patterns to get their attention. Either on spin or fly, sight fishing for cobia is a blast and something that you soon won’t forget!

catch and release cobiaConsidering that the cobia are here to spawn it is very important that we treat this fishery with respect. If you are looking to go out “meat fishing”, I am probably not the charter boat for you. I place a boat limit of 1 fish for the boat per day and if at all costs I try to release the big females. As you can see from my pictures I have taken large fish. In fact, my largest cobia came in at 78 pounds, but as I have become more educated about this species I have learned that a little self restraint can go a long way.


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  • Beaufort and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    Captain Charlie Beadon (843)-592-0897
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