Cobia bite still sizzling for Carolina anglers

Mike Ajamian caught this 43-pound cobia on a bucktail while sight fishing near Atlantic Beach.

Cobia bite has not slowed down

The cobia bite continues to be one of the hottest bites in a variety of locations in the Carolinas. Anglers are catching them in saltwater rivers, nearshore reefs, sounds, and even right along the beaches. And one angler caught an 83-pounder while surf fishing.

Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in the Beaufort, S.C. area said even though it’s catch-and-release only right now in those waters, the cobia are cooperating nicely. He suggests anglers pay close attention when around any of the bridges of the lowcountry, especially if any floating debris is nearby.

“Especially on a calm day, it’s always worth a look around the bridges and any debris or channel markers. These are curious fish and they love to stick around any type of object whether it’s floating or fixed. No matter what species you’re targeting on any given day this time of year, it’s always good to be prepared for cobia,” said Percy.

Curious cobia will eat a variety of lures and bait

A large jighead with a Gulp! trailer is a good bet for cobia. Many anglers cast a 1 1/2-ounce or heavier jighead beyond the fish, then reel it back into the fish’s line of sight. They warn against surprising the cobia with it. When the cobia sees it, more often than night, it will go after the lure.

Ken Armstrong caught this cobia while fishing with Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in Beaufort, S.C.

In the Little River area, Capt. Chris Ossmann of Fine Catch Fishing Charters and his clients hooked 15 cobia on May 21, and landed 10 of them.

Up at Hatteras Island, TW’s Bait and Tackle reports one of their customers landed an 83-pound cobia from the surf last week.

Angler Lee caught this 83-pound cobia in the surf at Hatteras Island last week.

In Murrells Inlet, Capt. Robby Remson of Carolina Hook and Line took four anglers offshore for a 3/4-day trip earlier this week. They came back to the dock with a four-man limit of cobia, and released six other cobia.       

Capt. Robbie Remson of Carolina Hook & Line said it’s limits all-around for cobia in the Murrells Inlet area.

Atlantic Beach is one of many cobia hotspots in the Carolinas

Numerous anglers have brought cobia in to weigh at Chasin’ Tails Outdoors Bait & Tackle in Atlantic Beach in recent days. Austin Wood brought a 52+ pounder in on May 24. He caught the fish on his first ever saltwater fishing trip. Mike Ajamian brought a 43-pound cobia in just a few days before that. And Austin Walker showed up with a 51-pounder he caught on a live eel that he bought earlier that morning from Chasin’ Tails.

Mike Ajamian caught this 43-pound cobia on a bucktail while sight fishing near Atlantic Beach.

Speaking of live eels, even thought a lot of cobia are currently biting anything big enough to get their attention, on some days, it seems like all they will bite is a live eel. Jack Evanko, who weighed in a 70-pound cobia at Chasin’ Tails can attest to that.

This 70+ pound cobia ignored all lures and bait until Jack Evanko offered it a live eel while fishing with Down East Guide Service.

Fishing with Down East Guide Service, Evanko and the boat’s crew watched the big cobia completely ignore bucktails, live shad, and cut shad. It showed no interest in any of those. But when they dropped a live eel in the water, the fish had no self-control and engulfed it.

The Carolina cobia run is often thought of as something that happens for only a few weeks in the spring. But Percy said plenty of cobia stick around throughout the summer. He thinks they become even easier to catch once most anglers forget about them and move on to other species.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1313 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.