John's Journal...

Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine

The Jack-Up Rig

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Tim Reynolds of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a member of one of the nation’s best cobia-fishing teams, along with Dennis Meins, David Harris and Bo Hamilton, has fished for cobia for 25 years. This week, we’ll look at the techniques his team uses to catch cobia that I learned when I fished with Reynolds Mid-June. We pulled up to a jack-up rig about 35 miles south of Horn Island, off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As soon as we arrived, two cobia surfaced – one weighed about 40 pounds and the other weighed about 10 pounds.

Question: Tim, what happened when you saw the cobia?
Reynolds: We had a live white trout behind the boat, and the larger cobia sniffed the trout a few times, but wouldn’t bite it. We thought the cobia might have been hooked a number of times over the weekend, so perhaps that made it hesitant to take the bait. But we have enough baits out that one of those baits should attract the cobia and make it bite.

Question: What baits do we have out?Click to enlarge
Reynolds: We have live eel, shrimp and squid, and some dead bait. We’re also using jigs to make the cobia mad enough to bite. Usually, if a cobia comes up to look at a bait and you take it away enough times, the cobia thinks it won’t get anything to eat. So, it will get mad and attack the bait.

Question: I noticed there are workers spotting cobia for you from the top of the boat. Why are the workers on top of the boat?
Reynolds: Those workers have better eyes than we do and can see much farther from their vantage point on top of the boat. One disadvantage we face is that our boat doesn’t have a tower. However, with the workers on top of the rig spotting the cobia for us and letting us know where they are, we can better present our baits to the fish.

Question: Dennis, when was the last time you fished for these cobia?
Meins: I was out in this same general area about four days ago and we caught eight cobia. So, I know the fish like this region. The last time I fished here, we were a little farther out and further to the east. But, as the days pass, the fishing should improve. Click to enlarge

Question: Why are the cobia holding here off the Mississippi-Louisiana coast in June?
Meins: Cobia make their run from south Florida, up the Florida Coast by Destin, Florida, past Orange Beach, Alabama, and then camp out off the Mississippi Coast for about 6 months out of the year. We’re very fortunate in Mississippi that the cobia stay here for a long time. Cobia have plenty of bait coming out of the Louisiana marshes to feed on, and they spawn here. The cobia hang out around the oil and gas rigs and channel markers, and any other type of flotation until they begin their fall migration back to south Florida.

Question: In what depth of water are we fishing, Tim?
Reynolds: Under this jack-up rig, we’re fishing in 50 feet of water. Cobia like pretty water. They want it to be clear, pretty, greenish-blue and with plenty of oxygen. When they find that type of water, that’s where they’ll live. I’ve been out in 200 feet of water before and found cobia. Water color is the main key to locating cobia. If you can pinpoint pretty water, you’ll find the cobia.

Question: How will we make the cobia bite?
Reynolds: We’ll hang around and bug the cobia for 30 to 45 minutes. If they don’t bite, we’ll leave, head to another rig and find cobia that will bite. There are plenty of cobia here, so we just need to Click to enlargekeep checking different rigs.

Question: The last time you were out here, you caught eight cobia. Of that eight, how many did you and your crew keep?
Reynolds: We kept four, weighing a total of 40 to 60 pounds.

To reach Tim Reynolds, write him at 1599 A Bienville Blvd., Ocean Springs, MS, 39564, or email him at or

For more information on cobia fishing, to book a trip to fish for cobia and to learn about accommodations in Biloxi, call Bobby Carter, the manager of the Isle of Capri, at (228) 436-7928, or visit the website at You won’t find better food or nicer, more-spacious accommodations anywhere else than on the Isle of Capri.

Go to, or call 1-866-See-Miss (733-6477) for more information about Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Tomorrow: Catching the Cobia

Check back each day this week for more about "Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine"

Day 1: The Jack-Up Rig
Day 2: Catching the Cobia
Day 3: Fishing Structure for Cobia
Day 4: Tagging the Cobia
Day 5: Switch-Hitting



Entry 410, Day 1