Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team
The Jack-Up Rig
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
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?
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.
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
checking different rigs.
Question: The last time you were out here, you caught
eight cobia. Of that eight, how many did you and your
Reynolds: We kept four, weighing a total of 40 to 60
To reach Tim Reynolds, write him at 1599 A Bienville
Blvd., Ocean Springs, MS, 39564, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
www.isleofcapri.com/biloxi. You won’t find better
food or nicer, more-spacious accommodations anywhere
else than on the Isle of Capri.
Go to www.visitmississippi.org,
or call 1-866-See-Miss (733-6477) for more information
about Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
Tomorrow: Catching the Cobia