Cobia (aka “ling”) fishing can start as early as April, and are caught fishing out of Galveston until late August or September. Reaching weights of 130 pounds, 50-60 pounders are not rare. A curious fish, ling will often swim up next to the boat while everyone is fishing, but catching them can be a different matter. They tend not to hang around boat-side for long, and as often as not are quite picky about hitting a bait or lure. Ling have a decidedly sharkish appearance – if you spot a “shark” while fishing, alert the captain or mate. They are often caught deep, as well, and tend to hang out around buoys, weedlines, wells and pipes. When hooked around these a big one will immediately try to get to the safety of the structure and the angler and the captain, working as a team, need to turn them almost immediately. They are dogged fighters, often slugging it out deep, sometimes on the surface. Big cobia seem very aware of the boat and will often remain just outside gaff range while circling or swimming beneath the boat, requiring well-coordinated action between captain, angler, and mate. More than occasionally, though, a “green” fish will swim up to within gaff range. Experienced mates will check that the fish is well hooked and if so, advise the angler to continue playing him.
Cobia is considered an excellent food fish, and are best grilled with lemon and butter. Anglers are allowed two fish per day.
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