COBIA (ling) - Rachycentron canadum Family Rachycentridae, COBIA
Description: long, slim fish with broad
depressed head; lower jaw projects past
upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends
through eye to tail; first dorsal fin
comprised of 7 to 9 free spines; when
young, has conspicuous alternating black
and white horizontal stripes.
Similar fish: remora, Eceneis naucrates.
Where found: both OFFSHORE and NEARSHORE; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, wrecks, and oil platforms.
Size: common to 30 pounds.
Remarks: spawns in spring and early summer; feeds on crabs, squid, and small fish.
The Cobia, commonly known as "Ling", is in a family by itself with no close relatives to clutter the picture. Wherever you catch him, the Cobia is one of the best gamefish to be found in southern waters. Ling are very inquisitive fish coming right to the boat as if to say "what's up?" One thing for certain, it is a fish that refuses to follow the rules. One day you will find him lolling near the surface close to a patch of sea grass or timber. You can cast your arm off with every artificial and natural bait you have, and he will refuse to give your offerings a glance. The next day he will savagely attack anything you offer the second it touches the water. At other times he will be sulking in deep water practically on the bottom. Favorite hangouts for Ling are under or around floating clumps of seaweed, large pieces of driftwood, buoys, sunken wrecks, and offshore structures. Small live baitfish are the best baits, although they will eat shrimp, cutbait, and blue crabs. I have heard of that live hardhead catfish are deadly baits, imagine that, a hardhead is good for something. Artificials work good also. The main thing to remember is, that there are times when they are extremely choosy about what kind of bait they will accept.