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Species Information

Scientific Name:Rachycentron canadum
Common Names:lemonfish, crab eater, cobia
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore
Ideal Temp:68-72°F (20-22°C)

About Cobia

Cobia are perciform marine fish, the sole representative of their family, the Rachycentridae.

Attaining a maximum length of 2 metres (78 inches), cobia have elongate fusiform (spindle shaped) bodies and broad, flattened heads. Their eyes are small and their lower jaw projects slightly past the upper jaw. On the jaws, tongue and roof of the mouth are bands of villiform (fibrous) teeth. Their bodies are smooth with small scales, their dark brown coloration grading to white on the belly with two darker brown horizontal bands on the flanks. These may not be prominent except during spawning when cobia lighten in colour and adopt a more prominently striped pattern. The large pectoral fins are normally carried horizontally (rather than vertically as shown for convenience in the illustration), so that, as seen in the water they may be mistaken for a small shark. When boated, the horizontal pectoral fins enable the cobia to remain upright so that their vigorous thrashing can make them a hazard. The first dorsal fin is composed of six to nine independent, short, stout, and sharp spines. The family name Rachycentridae, from the Greek words rhachis meaning "spine" and kentron meaning "sting," is an allusion to these dorsal spines. Mature cobia have forked, slightly lunate tail fins with most fins being a dark brown. They lack air bladders.

Cobia are pelagic and are normally solitary except for annual spawning aggregations; however, they will congregate at reefs, wrecks, harbours, buoys and other structural oases. They may also enter estuaries and mangroves in search of prey.

They are found in warm-temperate to tropical waters of the West and East Atlantic, throughout the Caribbean and in the Indo-Pacific off India, Australia and Japan. The largest taken on rod & reel was taken from Shark Bay, Australia weighing 60 kg (135 lb). They are able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures (eurythermal) and salinity (euryhaline) between 1.6 and 32.2°C and 5-44.5 ppt in the environment.

Cobia feed primarily on crabs, squid, and other fish. Cobia will follow larger animals such as sharks, turtles and manta rays in hope of scavenging a meal. Cobia are intensely curious fish and show no fear of boats and are known to follow other caught fish up to a boat and linger to see the action. Their predators are not well documented, but the dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is known to feed on immature cobia. Shortfin mako sharks are known to feed on adult cobia and have been seen by fishermen following cobia during their annual springtime migration in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Cobia make seasonal migrations along the coasts in search of water in their preferred temperature range. Wintering in the Gulf of Mexico, they migrate north as far as Maryland in the Summer, passing East Central Florida in March.

The cobia is a highly rated, hard hitting game fish that is prone to long, powerful, determined runs and occasional leaps. Often when one is hooked the entire school will surface along with it. Preferred fishing methods are trolling with lures or baits, bottom fishing, jigging, chumming, and spin casting. They can be caught on crustaceans (which is why they are nicknamed “crab eaters” in Australia) as well as on smaller fishes. Good baits are squid, crabs, small live fishes, cut baits, and strip baits. Spoons, plugs, and weighted feathers can also be used. They rate high as table fare.


Cobia Fishing

World Record:61.5 kg (135 lb 9 oz) Shark Bay, W.A. , Australia
# Fish Caught:43933 documented in database.
Earliest Record:7/2/1766 12:00:00 PM and located at 11.00000, 72.50000.
Latest Record:2/4/2024 11:13:42 PM and located at 24.55995, -81.78469.
Common Techniques:Casting, Chunking, Jigging, Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Plugs, Spoons, Trolling
Fishing Spots:2007 Cobia fishing spots.

Latest Cobia Fishing Reports and Spots

Cobia - 2/4/2024 11:13:42 PM

Cobia is a fish we generally see around Key West during the winter months yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of taking out a pretty cool F (View)

Ready For Fall Fishing? - 9/19/2021 9:21:17 AM

Fall is my favorite season for fishing. It could be that my birthday is in October but it also could be that the drop in water and air temperatu (View)

Sarasota Inshore Fishing Charter - 12/1/2022 10:00:50 AM

The waters are cooling and December fishing is getting hot! There are cobia and redfish being caught both in the bay in at the Nearshore reefs g (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 5 January 2024 🎣 - 1/4/2024 7:00:00 PM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 05/01/24 Coral trout are a hard-fighting and delicious spe (View)

Dec. 19 - 12/19/2023 1:06:11 PM

Big Cobia today on the #Fearless #fearlessfishing Call or text Capt. Joe 786-295-2162 (View)

Winter / Spring 2023 Fishing Report and Newsletter - 12/12/2023 3:20:41 AM

96 Winter / Spring 2023 Fishing Report and Newsletter View this email in your browser Winter / Spring 2023 Well spring is here and it is one of (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 15 December 2023 🎣 - 12/15/2023 1:52:00 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 15/12/23 Demersal fishing open between Kalbarri and August (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 01 December 2023 🎣 - 8/12/2023 2:00:00 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 08/12/23 In case you missed this! - Westport Development R (View)

June Cobia Bite - 6/12/2020 6:40:02 PM

Cobia Fishing Tampa Bay Style June 2020 By Capt. Sergio Atanes OTHER NAMES: Ling Crab Eater Lemonfish SIZE: Common from 10 to... (View)

June Cobia Bite - 6/12/2020 6:40:02 PM

Cobia Fishing Tampa Bay Style June 2020 By Capt. Sergio Atanes OTHER NAMES: Ling Crab Eater Lemonfish SIZE: Common from 10 to... (View)