(Linnaeus, 1766); RACHYCENTRIDAE FAMILY; also called ling, lemonfish,
black salmon, black kingfish, sergeant fish, crab eater, runner, cabio.
Worldwide in tropical and warm temperate waters both offshore and inshore.
Adult cobia seem to prefer shallow continental shelf waters. They particularly
like buoys, pilings, wrecks, anchored boats, flotsam, etc., and will sometimes
congregate around these objects.
It is the only known member of the family Rachycentridae. It has a long,
broad, depressed head. The overall appearance of the fish is similar to
that of a small shark, given the shape of the body, the powerful tail fin,
and the elevated anterior portion of the second dorsal fin. Even more striking
is it's resemblance to the remora. The most noticeable difference between
these two species is the suction pad on the remora's head. The cobia is
known to swim with sharks and other large species as the remora does.
The cobia's coloration and markings are distinctive. The back is dark
chocolate brown while the sides are lighter with alternate horizontal stripes
of brown and silver or bronze and white. The markings on smaller specimens
are more vivid; the black and dark stripes are blacker, making the lighter
areas stand out more.
The cobia is a highly rated,
hard hitting game fish that is prone to long, powerful, determined runs
and occasional leaps. Often when one is hooked
the entire school will surface along with it. Preferred fishing methods
are trolling with lures or baits, bottom fishing, jigging, chumming, and
spin casting. They can be caught on crustaceans (which is why they are
nicknamed “crab eaters” in Australia) as well as on smaller
fishes. Good baits are squid, crabs, small live fishes, cut baits, and
strip baits. Spoons, plugs, and weighted feathers can also be used. They
rate high as table fare