Big cobia in the backcountry/gulf

Last week while fishing islamorada we caught several nice fish.  We started the morning fishing the backcountry channels for variety and bait – trout, ladyfish, pompano, jacks, mackerel, etc…  It’s amazing the mix of fish you can get in some of these areas and at the start of the spring fishing is really good.  Islamorada trout fishing gets very good later in the spring, and lots of big spawning fish move into the bays.  You can get tablefare to eat as well as stuff to use for bait for bigger species.  We mainly keep the spanish mackerel and ladyfish for such fishing.  Later on february fishing the florida keys we set up at one of the channels mouths where lots of big fish venture in from the gulf.  We caught the start of the incoming tide.  We had one tarpon bust a ladyfish which we had fished live on the surface, unfortunately he missed the hook and bait altogether.  We hooked a gigantic ‘sea monster’ of some sort which we battled for over an hour… we noticed a brown stain staying close to whatever it was we had on, and I knew right what it was!  A few casts later we had hooked the 2nd fish while my angler still battle the first beast.  I traded rods with him for a while, and after 25 minutes he boated a 45 lb cobia!  Cobia fishing in Islamorada is best in the spring when fishing the gulf areas.  A fantastic catch especially on 15 lb braid with 30 lb leader only.  After that we went back to the other rod which was still bent over with something big on the other end.  We finally got that up to and it was a gigantic mud marlin.  After some high-fives we went back to put the big rods out some more, and within 5 minutes hooked a big shark.  This time it was a florida keys hammerhead shark!  I love catching these guys as we don’t catch them every day and people love to see them – they are truly an interesting shark and people always get a kick out of catching them!  We also had caught several smaller black tip sharks on this day.  Unfortunately right now we are experiencing a late cold front which will slow down the march islamorada fishing for some of the bigger species such as sharks, tarpon, etc… However I’m thinking by next weekend the water temperatures will have had a chance to warm back to low/mid 70s, and the big tarpon and others are ‘around’ and will start biting again.  It’s a great time to go fishing so make some plans soon.  I myself am booked just about every day in March, however I do have some evening trips available – drop me a line if your interested in getting out for some big tarpon around sunset.  Islamorada tarpon fishing in march can be very good as the fish are not so ‘beat up’ from the tons of anglers fishing for them.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk