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Thread: Learning Cobia Kayak-fishing in Western Shore, VA (June 1 14, 2017)

  1. #1
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    Default Learning Cobia Kayak-fishing in Western Shore, VA (June 1 14, 2017)

    I have been self-teaching cobia fishing (kayak-fishing) in Western shore, VA.

    I learned that kayak-fishing cobia is quite different from that of boat fishing. There were many limitations when kayak-fishing. Here is the summary of what I learned in the Western Shore, VA when kayak-fishing for cobia:

    • The kayak-able cobia fishing spots are limited in the Western Shore, VA. The most places were too far for kayak-anglers. I still think 6-15’ of water from Rudee to CBBT is a good place for cobia. But I could fish in 8-15’ of water between Buckroe Beach pier and the inlet of Back River. I thought Cobia can be found anywhere outside of the crab pot lines in 8-15' of water. And I think I was right. I hooked 2-3 cobia during each of the 3 trips. (Refer to the map on the video)
    • I needed a large net. I thought I could tire out the keeper cobia. From this year, Gaffing or hammering cobia is not allowed. Tiring a keeper cobia wasn’t that easy. It seemed that Keeper cobia (40” minimum) can last for a long time. I think I lost 4 keepers after 30 minute fighting. If I had a large net I could land them right at the gunwale.
    • I chased tailing cobia 2 times. But I lost them all. I even stood up (on my Hobie Outback) often to find the submerged cobia
    • Pick a calm day for Cobia when wind speed is less than 10 MPH depending on the wind direction.
    • Bring a large anchor. In some spots, I needed a small boat anchor with a chain because the current was strong and the bottom was very hard. I found that the current at Buckroe beach was milder than other places. For a starter, Buckroe is a good palce.
    • I no longer use bottom rig with a sinker slide with a 6-8 OZ Pyramid sinker. The reasons are (1) I caught many sharks and rays. Catching sharks and ray should be avoided by any means. 4+ sharks or rays will cost the whole fishing day. (2) Also eels tangle themselves badly on the leader line when eels are placed on the bottom. (3) There were more crab attacks to the baits on the bottom.
    • I found that bobber rig is better because I haven’t caught sharks and rays on the bobber rigs. Bluefish still bite the baits on the bobber rig, but I don’t think I can prevent that. I can always catch more spots/croakers/southern kingfish.
    • One of rod and reel combos is spinning reel/rod combo for casting purpose. So I use a 3 OZ inline sinker (both sides are connected by coast lock swivel from leader line and main line) when I used a bobber. If I see a tailing cobia, I will remove the inline sinker, attach leader line with an eel (or buck-tail), and cast to the tailing cobias.
    • On other conventional reel, I used a 3-4 OZ egg sinker or a sinker slide with a 3-4 OZ sinker. I don’t intend to cast this combo at all
    • I needed only 4 eels per trip. The live spot/croaker/southern kingfish can be caught constantly in June. Trust me. The problem is that they are too big. They should be at 5-6”. They can be longer than 7” in my opinion. So keep catching when Cobia are biting. Bring a trolling bait tank to keep the live bait. So try to save eels. Use live baits you catch.
    • I needed 2 one-gallon chum bags. I bought the one-gallon chum from Grafton. The Grafton one-gallon chums were fresh and it was already in a chum bag. The chum bag was also in a sealed plastic bag. A one-gallon chum lasted 1.3 – 3 hours depending on the water temp and additional holes (on the bag) I made. Because the chum bag was in a sealed plastic bag, I kept the second bag in my cooler as Ice and keep the chum bag frozen.
    • The best time for chumming for cobia is two hour before a slack tide and two hour after the slack tide. Unlike striper or bluefish, you want to fish during the slack tide, not during the fast current.
    • Use 9/0 – 10/0 J hook for live spot/croaker/southern kingfish. Regardless of the location of the hook on these live bait, my 8/0-10/0 circle hooks failed 100% for me. Now I put a 90/ - 10/0 J hook on the bait before the tail. The J hooks placed before the tail produced the most hook-ups, and also resulted in the least live bait tangles with the leader lines.
    • Give a plenty of time to cobia. Wait until a cobia swallow the bait. It seemed that cobia couldn’t swallow the live bait that easily like stripers. It looked definitely a cobia has smaller throat than a striper at the same size. A cobia holds the live baits in the mouth for a long time before swallow the bait. So be patient. A cobia isn’t a striper. Free spool when you see cobia around the bait. Wait for the first long run ends. Wait for the second run. Set the hook at least 10-15 second after the second run started. If you think cobia is smaller for the bait, wait more. You will know the size of the cobia by the first run and the second run.


    Fishing Log as a beginner:


    Thanks
    Joe
    Fish like there's no tomorrow.

  2. #2
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    nice job...I hear cobia come near shore at fleets island as well

    could you tell me how far you let bait hang below bobber?
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  3. #3
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    Nice job, Joe. Unfortunately, sharks and rays are part of cobia fishing if you're on the bottom. Some nice cobia also hang with the rays, so it's kind of a trade off. If you only have baits on top, you are likely missing some fish. I like using an egg sinker with leader long enough to quickly cut. This saves the sinker and all I have to do is replace the hook.

    Also, there are places on the ESVA that are accessible by kayak and produce some nice cobia as well.
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  4. #4
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    Cobia are exasperating fish...when you think they have swallowed the bait, they are swimming around just holding the fish in their mouth and chances are you will pull the hook if you set it...and they will take a big piece of bunker on the bottom...my best luck has been near the mouth of Back River just off the channel right smack dab in the middle of crab alley...crab pots galore...lost several nice fish to crab pots...and chum, chum and chum...fish a line on the bottom and a ballon float about ten feet deep 30-50 feet back in the chum slick...sharks and rays are going to bite...it is unavoidable. Bluefish are a PIA on your live bait float...they come in and bite your spot half in two..as do sharpnose and juvenile bull sharks...I used to launch out of Wallace's and added benefit is Wallace's sells frozen bunker chum as well as bait & tackle...
    Last edited by ronaultmtd; 06-20-2017 at 02:17 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Fantastic post. Great video. This is why snaggedline is such a great website. Very educational. Totally cool that you are learning how to do this and documenting the results....then sharing it.

  6. #6
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    Awesome stuff, Joe!

    First off, I'm super jealous! I had big plans for cobia this month and nothing seemed to pan out for me. Work, daddy duties, wind, wind, wind, and so on have made it a big bust so far. I'm glad you got some.

    Second, way to get out there and learn it trial and error by yourself! It seems like a lot of people these days are always looking for somebody to show them how to fish instead of just doing it and learning as they go.

    I am surprised you had such poor hookup rates with circle hooks. Circles are usually fool proof if you just let the fish hook itself.

    You're correct that gaffing is illegal, but I'm pretty sure you can still hammer one that is legal size and you plan to keep.

    One last comment. You said that hand sized spot in the video was too big for a 40 - 45" cobia. You might be right. But I doubt it isn't too big for 65"+ cobia; which is definitely within the possibilities. Think BIG!

  7. #7
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    Great job Joe! Love the video! I think it might be time to break out the bobber. ��

  8. #8
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    Awesome vid man! I was just down on ESVA with a couple buddies trying that side but we had no luck. We only had one window to get out to the shoal and even then it was super sketchy. People were telling us to try the western shore but the drive seemed like too much for us lazy camping fishermen. Now i wish we went over that way!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinfry View Post
    nice job...I hear cobia come near shore at fleets island as well

    could you tell me how far you let bait hang below bobber?
    All I tried to do is to keep the live bait up above the bottom by 1'-2' so that bait can't hide in the weed, eels don't get tangled with the leader lines, and live bait can run from crabs.

    I had a 3.5-4' long leader (60# test mono leader) that is connected to a 60# test duo-lock swivel.

    On the conventional (bait casting) reel combo, I put a 3-4 OZ egg sinker (or sinker slide - I like sinker slide better because I can change the sinker easily) before I connect the main line (#50 test KastKing Braided) to a small 60# test duo-lock swivel.

    On the spinning reel combo, I used a inline sinker (3-4 OZ depending on the current). The reason is that I can quickly attach the leader with a live bait to a small 60 # test duo-lock swivel connected to the main line. I carry this combo all the time until the cobia season is over for sight casting.

    I put my bobber 5-11' above the sinker depending on the current. I tried to place one deeper (1-2 ' above the bottom) and the other in the middle. But many times, I under estimated the current.

    Joe
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RavensDfense View Post
    Nice job, Joe. Unfortunately, sharks and rays are part of cobia fishing if you're on the bottom. Some nice cobia also hang with the rays, so it's kind of a trade off. If you only have baits on top, you are likely missing some fish. I like using an egg sinker with leader long enough to quickly cut. This saves the sinker and all I have to do is replace the hook.

    Also, there are places on the ESVA that are accessible by kayak and produce some nice cobia as well.
    Thanks for the tips.
    I started cutting the leader after loosing few 8 OZ sinkers.
    I put two baits in the water, one low (close to bottom) and the other in the middle of the water column.
    I drive almost 4 hours to Kipto. ESVA is out for me. But one day I will meet you there.

    Thanks
    Joe
    Fish like there's no tomorrow.

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