Since the beginning of the month, the heat wave that has bombarded Myrtle Beach vacationers with nearly ideal conditions for a stroll down the pearly-white strand has set up a different kind of beach experience for fishermen looking to reel in a bruiser cobia.
Conditions are practically perfect for the big schools of menhaden and other baitfish moving into the area, and the cobia are taking advantage of it for sure by annihilating every baitfish coming anywhere close to a nearshore or offshore artificial reef or wreck. Last week, in fact, Capt. Keith Logan of North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters put 50 in his boat in a week’s time.
“We have been killing the cobia,” says Logan. (843-907-0064) “They are stacked up on the reefs between 8 and 30 miles from shore.”
Cobia are structure-oriented fish and have been found around many of the artificial reefs out of Little River, including the General Sherman Reef, Little River Offshore Reef, and the BP-25 Reef. These reefs are loaded with structure from tires, steel, and concrete attractors to subway cars and large sunken ships from modern and colonial eras. Baitfish hover over these areas with structure making a perfect home for the cobia.
Logan is catching his cobia slow-trolling live baits or pitching them to fish swimming near his boat.
“When you pull up to the reefs, we start slow-trolling live menhaden, and we catch plenty of them that way. But sometimes, they will come up behind the boat, and we will pitch a live menhaden to them,” he said. “That’s when the fun begins. Most of the time, they will just crush the live bait as soon as it hits the water.”
Logan uses a king mackerel rig for slow trolling, but will use a light, homemade rig for pitching baits to visible fish. His pitching rig lacks any weight other than the 5-foot section of 80-pound fluorocarbon leader and the 5/0 to 7/0 circle hook. The light rig allows the bait to swim freely and right into the strike zone.
Logan expects the bite to continue until the end of June – as long as the water temperature doesn’t get too hot too fast. After July 4, the cobia bite will likely taper off as waters begin to approach their summer temperature peak.