Keeping It on the Light Side: Cobia Fishing With Captain Danny Rourk of Tailwind Charters
By: Captain Tim Wilson
Lot’s of fisherman have very definite ideas about how to fish for cobia. Many like to throw out a chum bag while using a heavy jigging rod. Other’s like to look for them in the ocean then site cast for them. Captain Danny Rourk finds his success in the rivers and creeks. To make it even better, he prefers fly fishing to the heavier rigs preferred by most cobia fisherman.
It’s apparent that Danny has a great understanding of the feeding, breeding and migration habits cobia. All factors important to catching any fish. He’s determined that the water temperatures drive the feeding habits. This means that most Cobia prefer water temps ranging from 68 to 72 degrees. They’ll instinctively follow these temps. This could mean moving to deeper water looking for cooler temps or moving into the shallow sun warmed water. With this in mind, May to mid June is commonly the timeframe for the best results. He knows that Cobia will also move from the deeper water to the rivers to spawn. This means fishing in those locations can be more productive than the open waters of the ocean that can be overfished. Locate the Cobias by watching the water surface for movement. Like fishing for other species, polarized glasses are a must.
While Danny prefers fly fishing for Cobias, he sometimes opts for the light tackle approach using thread herring, live ells or cut bait. His passion is the fly approach using a tarpon fly with a 10 weight rod. The 10 weight outfit allows him to fight the fish for a shorter time thus enabling him to release a healthy fish. Due to the size and strength of the Cobia, having good equipment is essential. An unskilled angler with lightweight equipment can result in lost fish.
He considers the presentation to be a key part of his success. He starts by throwing the fly in front of the target Cobia and quickly stripping the line back. A 50 to 60 foot cast is best. This creates a long retrieve and gives the fish more time to respond. The Cobia are far more apt to hit a moving bait than one still or suspended. They’re curious and will chase almost anything. It’s important to remember that the presentation has to successfully compete with other bait options that the Cobia may be looking at. The water temperatures also dictate the aggressiveness of the fish with temps on the warmer side of the 68 to 72 degree range, making the presentation even more important.
Cobia fishing has a relatively short season and it’s all about the sport of the catch. Take a lesson from Danny, fly fishing for Cobia is a great way to fish for the species and a great way to get started with saltwater fishing.