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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We caught bluefish east of the CL shoals until our arms were tired and our wrists ached. Some were pretty good sized, too, e.g., pushing 3-5lbs. Lots of scattered birds and breaking fish near the shoals and about a mile or so offshore. Some albies mixed in, but schools were moving fast and just popping up and down. Managed to hook one false albacore but lost it after a couple of blistering runs. Bite slowed way down around noon, so we headed back across the shoals toward the CL jetty. Lots of bait in the water around the jetty, but we couldn't find a bite. I did hook something briefly on jig w/Gulp! -- big fish that just slowly started moving away, and I didn't slow him at all. Started peeling off drag, then the hook pulled -- wish we could have at least seen what it was.

The front of Shack was just covered with clouds of menhaden. We approached one school looking for blues or spanish, and caught a glimpse of two big cobia cruising. All I had in hand was a light rod w/a 1oz diamond jig. I flipped that in front of them, and one inhaled it without hesitation. So there I was hooked up with what I'd estimate to be at least a 30lb cobia on a BPS medium action rod, a 2500 Sahara reel, and 15lb test -- and a diamond jig with light gauge gold treble hooks. I knew I couldn't put much drag pressure on the fish, so just kept steady pressure and we just followed the fish around for at least 15-20mins. Fish kept making runs away from the boat, and they were getting shorter and weaker. My buddy was scrambling to figure out how we were gonna land and subdue a huge cobia in our overcrowded 15ft Whaler. But on a final run, the big fish started violently shaking his head, and the hooks finally gave way. I had the drag set just light enough to let the fish run, but still keep some pressure to tire him. It appeared I only had one hook in his lip, and that hook eventually straightened on one of the head shakes.

Obviously very disappointed, but the more we thought about it, the more concerned we were about bringing an unhappy 30lb+ cobia into our little boat. We were gonna have to gaff it and snatch it into the boat, then beat the heck out of it with a tire iron or wrench -- my buddy was desperately rummaging around for a weapon. Then the Cobia was no doubt gonna trash our boat and gear-- and our legs. I would have liked a photo op with the beast, but sorta relieved (but still disappointed) that he pulled the hooks. I was pretty confident I was close to wearing down this fish down with my light gear, just knew the longer the fight went on, the more the advantage went to the fish. I estimated the fish was at least 30lbs, but i just have no frame of reference for a fish that big -- could well have been 40lbs or more.

There were several cobia still cruising around the school, so we kept casting bucktails with heavier gear, but we just couldn't generate any more interest.

We just weren't expecting cobia this time of year, but clearly it's a lesson to always have a heavier rig ready, esp when cruising a school of menhaden. Still a great adventure. I had the fish at boat-side several times, so we still got a good look at it. I did have the leader inside my top guide at least once, but wasn't brave enough to touch it with the fish so green!

So the cobia got to live to fight another day, and we got a cooler full of blues. Water was incredibly calm all day with 2ft waves even east of the CL shoals. The front of shackford was calm as a lake, as was the area around AR315. Just a very cool day to be on the water.





// joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was the first time I've fought a big cobia. no blistering runs, and felt like a had a big catfish on the line. he'd dig down to the bottom, then move slowly in circles around the boat. would occasionally make a slow run near the surface, and peel out line, but it was a slow, determined run, and we would just follow him with the boat. never really felt like i was in control, but his runs were getting shorter and shorter, and he was spending more time near and under the boat.

seems like the big ones that get away haunt you more than the ones you catch. will be thinking and second-guessing this one for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One cool detail I forgot to add: When we were east of the CL shoals, roughly in front of the lighthouse, we saw several big fish -- I think they were Kings -- skying. I'd guess at least 20-30lb fish, maybe larger. There was a lot of scattered bait w/lots of moving schools of blues and albies in the area. But every now and then we'd see these big fish breach in that area. Just not something I'm used to seeing -- pretty cool. We trolled some larger Yozuris hoping to get lucky, but no love.

FYI -- joel
 

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You may have been seeing cobia dude!! Not that im friends with him or nothing, but I had a shrimp boat capn tell me that he saw a school of cobes off the 30min rock the size of beaufort inlet!!

For some reason they are visible and on the move....
 
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