News: FWC approved draft changes to cobia at the July Commission meeting. These potential changes will be brought back before the Commission in September for a final public hearing. Changes include:

  • Creating a Gulf/Atlantic management boundary defining all state waters north of the Monroe-Collier county line as “Gulf state waters” for purposes of managing cobia.
  • Increasing the minimum size limit in Gulf state waters from 33 to 38 inches fork length.
  • Making the recreational and commercial bag limits in Gulf state waters the same by reducing the commercial trip limit from two to one fish per person.
  • Reducing the recreational and commercial vessel limit in Gulf state waters from six to two per vessel per day.

Catch a tagged cobia? Learn more

Federal update: 


Cobia: Rachycentron canadum

Florida Regulations: 


Gulf State Waters

Atlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit  33” fork length 
Daily Bag Limit  1 per day or 6 per vessel, whichever is less 


Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: spears, gigs, hook and line, seine, cast net

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Habitat and Fishing Tips:

Cobia is a favorite sport fish for many shoreline and off-shore anglers because it is one of the few species that are found throughout Florida’s marine environment. Like many of the pelagic species, cobia are highly mobile but also attracted to buoys, channel markers and other floating objects where they feed on fish, crabs, shrimp and squid. Cobia prefer water temperatures above 68 degrees and migrate to the south in October to avoid cold water temperatures in the northern parts of the state. Anglers often target them visually around buoys, over grass flats and along sandy beaches. This visual targeting, and the subsequent chase, often results in “spooked” cobia that can be difficult to catch. While a hungry and “un-spooked” cobia will take almost anything, live eels, pinfish or blue runners have proven to be irresistible to even the most finicky cobia. A wide range of tackle can be used depending on the location and bait. Spinning or bait-casting tackle with 15 to 30 pound test is commonly used.         

State Record:

130 lb 1 oz, caught near Destin


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Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
American eels spend 10 to 20 years in fresh or brackish waters only to migrate hundreds of miles to spawn in saltwater in the Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea.

Learn More at AskFWC