5-6 Big Cobia and Gags on the surface?...What the heck - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 05-07-2019, 03:20 PM   #1
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Default 5-6 Big Cobia and Gags on the surface?...What the heck

I have a neighbor that I really like, who has never been fishing in salt water, and has been on me to take him fishing for a couple of months now. I usually hesitate to take someone with me who has no experience, but Javier is such a positive guy I decided to take him yesterday. I wasn't going to take a newbie way out since "I've been there, done that and got the puke stained t-shirt for my trouble" over the years, so the plan was to keep it simple. try and catch some pompano in the morning, and troll the beaches for some Spanish, or maybe a king.

That morning started off really good, Javier was on time at my door, was wearing appropriate cloths, had his own snacks and drinks, no beer, and didn't insist on bringing some tackle box and partially functional fishing outfit his father used to use in the late 1950's. So far, so good!

30 minutes after the sun came up we were dropping anchor on the west side of the jetty at Orange Beach. Once we got settled I gave Javier I quick lesson on how to use a spinning outfit and in 5 minutes he caught his first saltwater fish ever, a small black snapper. He was delighted, although I really wanted him to catch a pompano, which never materialized. After an hour or so, a school of bait surfaced near the boat so I decided to toss a jig for some Spanish but it only produced some very large blue runners 10 to 12 inches in length, a bit large but I still put 7 of them in the live well along the shrimp I bought for the nonexistent pompano, and so after a while we changed strategy.

We ended up heading to 90 feet of water and tried several things. We trolled with lures, bump trolled with live blue runners, and high speed trolled for bonita. I thought Javier would get a kick out of that if we could get one to hit, but nada. This was getting embarrassing and time was almost up. I started looking at my gps to see if I had any magic numbers on the way in, when I remembered a little spot I had in 35 feet of water where I caught some fairly nice red snapper a few years ago and according to my notes it was May 12 when I did it, so we pulled up lines and off we went.

When we arrived at he spot the bottom machine looked like I was running it in demo mode with, big beautiful arches all the way to the top, so I dropped anchor. I had my head buried in my tackle box, cutting off the trolling rigs and replacing them with bottom and flat line rigs, when I heard Javier say,"Whats that?" I lifted my head from what I was doing to see 2 cobia, one decent keeper and one whopper female just hanging around the stern of the boat like two hound dogs waiting for something something to fall off the dinner table.

Now I was under pressure, I had nothing ready to go and two good fish just hanging around, so I fought the panic and tied a perfect Albright Special on my Diawa Saltist outfit, joining 80 lb leader to its braid and tied a my favorite Mustad hook, a 3407, to that. The 3407 is a good hook but you really need to sharpen it with a file to make it a great hook. This is a lesson that I am forced to relearn once every year or two, the newest lesson was about to begin.

I bare hand grabbed one of the 2 runners I had left in the live well, rolled the hook through its lips and dropped it in front of the whopper cobia like I was easing a cricket into a pond with a cane pole. Kaboom! the she came unglued and made half a dozen attempts to catch the appropriately named runner, but he was just too fast, so I retrieved him and stunned him by giving him a hard squeeze and dropped him back in. This time he was much more docile and went right down the hatch of the big girl. There was no doubt she had inhaled the huge bait but I still counted to 10 and came back with a hook set that put to the test my Star rod, only to have her give one big lurch, accompanied by a a big head shake, an open mouth and the successful spitting of my bait, followed by a string of profanityish sounds, from me, that were reminiscent of the father in A Christmas Story. But miraculously she didn't leave.

I reached into the live well, grabbed a runner, squeezed the puddin out of it, re-hooked it and dropped it back in front of her. This time she was still interested but really cautious. After 2 or 3 minutes she reluctantly picked it up, but she thought better of the whole thing and spit the bait just as I hit 3 in my count and swam off. It felt like I was back in high school when Janice Januesit dumped me, she was gone forever and my heart sank!

After a few minutes of banging my head against the console I decided to try a different tactic. I put a large popping cork on the line, changed the hook to a treble, and tossed the last live bait in the general direction where I had last seen her. I popped the cork between times the runner had it submerged and soon noticed the bait on the surface, trying to use float as cover, I knew what that meant.

Within seconds I heard the deep thud of a big fish hammering my bait on the surface. The rod doubled over and I knew I had finally hooked up on my big ling. The fish swam down hard toward the bottom which started me wondering, because this wasn't typical behavior of any cobia I ever caught before. My experience has been that they usually hang on the surface, especially at the beginning of the fight, and my suspicions were validated when I eventually boated a 27 inch gag grouper, caught on the surface under a float, no freaking way! I come from gag grouper country and have boated hundreds of them and never have I seen or heard of catching them on the surface like that, ever!

Naturally, the federal government screwed me over again and I released the out of season beast back to the water. Now I was mad and frustrated! I looked over at Javier who was busy catching 16 to 20 inch red snapper that had also come right to the top. He was so happy just flicking a little piece of cut bait maybe 10 feet out and instantly having a RS jump on it, ill bet he caught 8 or 10. I felt better.

Just as Javier boated the last snapper he would catch for the day, the monster cobia was hot on his heals. I had no live bait except for a few shrimp from the pampano fishing. I did have a dead runner that I butterflied like a split tailed mullet which I casted out and retrieved slowly. Every time she followed it to the boat eagerly, bumped it with her snout and turned away. This went on for at least an hour until I was so discouraged and demoralized that I just gave up trying and left the dead bait 8 feet from the stern, drifting in the current while the the personification of Janice taunted me by nuzzling the bait continually yet never eating it. I had been bested by a girl again.

It was noonish and getting hot and I could tell my partner was ready to go so I started picking up for the trip in. I looked in the bait well hoping Id see a live runner I had missed in the corner but as expected it wasn't there. Thats when it occurred me that I hadn't tried a live shrimp on my new pet behind the boat. The shrimp were small but they were alive. How could I have been such an idiot!

I reached into the well, caught one and flipped it to Fido. Whoosh! it was gone. I flipped her another, Gulp! it went the same way as the first one. I hurriedly tied a 40 lb mono leader to my big Penn 7500 spinner with a small treble hook tied to the end and hooked my most lively shrimp to it and tossed it to her just like I had done with the others.

Slurp! It went right down the hatch 6 feet from where I was standing, I set he hook and this time I had a solid hook up. I starting barking out orders to poor Javier who had no idea why I was suddenly Capt, Bligh, forcing him to crank up his rod and stay out of the way, but he complied and was very helpful when I told him to get the gaff, the pole with the hook on the end, and hand it to me when I said to.

The fight had been going on while when she suddenly did that cobia thing, where they act like the fight is over and come to the boat, just before hauling butt, stripping off a bunch of line and drawing out the fight for a very long time. I knew with an inexperienced person on the boat, the fact I was anchored, the fact that I had this Jumbo hooked on a treble more suitable for a 12 lb redfish than a 50 lb cobia and the now with the presence of an additional boat who started fishing 40 yards from my position, I had to make a decision. I decided if the opportunity presented itself I'd pop a gaff in her even if she was a little green.


Within a few minutes my wish came true as she came within gaffing range, got right next to the boat towards the bow and started violently shaking her head. She seemed more concerned with the pain in her mouth than the presence of the boat and that is when I grabbed the gaff from Javier, slid it under her head just behind the gills, and powered her with one stroke into the boat. the aftermath was was kind of like one of those fire cracker things you light in the driveway that that spins, squealing and sparking in place, except it was right at my feet and I had no escape. But like one of those spinners, it only lasted a while and I was able to hold her head down with the gaff. It was a bloody, slimy mess but the risk translated to 44 lbs of meat in the box, a great memory, and a lesson learned.

Showing a newbie a good time on the water can be great fun, grouper will sometimes come to the surface and everybody loves shrimp.
Attached Thumbnails
5-6 Big Cobia and Gags on the surface?...What the heck-gag-jpg   5-6 Big Cobia and Gags on the surface?...What the heck-ling-jpg   5-6 Big Cobia and Gags on the surface?...What the heck-ling2-jpg  

Last edited by The chumbucket; 05-07-2019 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 05-07-2019, 03:41 PM   #2
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Felt like I was on the boat with you guys. Awesome!
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:30 PM   #3
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Good stuff congrats
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:52 PM   #4
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That was a heck of a write up. Felt as if I were there and was ready to handle the gaff. Congrats on a great fish!
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:27 PM   #5
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Great narrative! Thanks for the story and congrats on the fish!
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:56 PM   #6
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Good job and I bet Javier will be at your door again very soon!
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
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Great story and congrats on the fish.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:33 PM   #8
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Dang!! Fill the freezer up!!
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:05 PM   #9
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Great story, remind sme of my trip 3 weeks ago, lol
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:09 PM   #10
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Great post! Congrats, sounds like a great trip.
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