October is an exciting month for us here in Homosassa. When we get that first cold front, we know the flats will come alive. Redfish will start schooling up, trout will put on the feed bag, and then “Mr. October” arrives – the big bad “brown bomber” himself, the Cobia.
We get two runs of cobia on the flats every year. In the Springtime and in the fall. It always seems like the spring run is shorter than the fall run. It’s probably due to the fact that cobia on our flats tend to arrive when the water temp gets into that magic number range of 78-82 degrees. In the spring, those magic number can quickly change to the high 80s and even reach into the low nightly. However, if the Fall, we stay usually stay in that magic temperature range for a few weeks longer.
Cobia spend the summer months offshore around the wrecks and reefs. But, in October, they come into the flats and re-engage in their almost parasitic-like relationship with the southern stingray. Watching a Cobia in 2 feet of water use a stingray as “cover”, while hunting prey, is a really cool thing to watch. Most of the time, you will find them hanging a few fee back of the Ray or right on top of the Ray, waiting on the Stingray to stir up the bottom and scare baitfish and shrimp out of the seagrass. Then, the Cobia pounces on the opportunity. After they get what they are after, they will go right back to the Stingray.
How to find Cobia on the flats in October.
The first thing you need is a calm day and clear skies. If you don’t have that, you probably should spend your day fishing for something else. If you have optimal conditions, you want to work shallow grass flats and area with patchy bottom (gras/sand mix). You want to be moving rather quickly to cover a lot of water. We cover water in a grid pattern. Straight line one way, take two left or right hand turns, and work in a straight line back the other way. Look for the big stingrays. They are easy to spot in calm clear water. When you see one, work your way over to it to see if he has a Cobia on him.
How to catch a Cobia following a Stingray.
Cobia are not skittish fish. You can work your way in close to them. They will be totally locked into following that Stingray and they won’t pay any attention to you at all. So get close enough to be able to have numerous shots at them if they turn you down the first few casts.
When using spinning gear, eel imitations are great producers. So are lures such as swim baits, weightless jerkbaits, and curly tail grubs on a jighead.
When throwing flies, any sub-surface fly with a big profile will work — especially streamers.
The key is to cast your lure or fly ahead of where the Cobia and Stingray are moving and make sure what you’re throwing intersects with the fish and Ray. And, the biggest tip is this… no matter what, if that cobia is locked onto your bait, do not stop moving your bait. The second you stop moving your bait, the Cobia will most likely lose interest.
Get in on the action!
October is an amazing month to fish on the Nature Coast and Homosassa has some of the most expansive and beautiful grass flats in all of Florida – perfect for sight fishing for “Mr. October”. If you would like your shot at catching cobia this fall, call today to book your Homosassa fishing adventure with old South Expeditions.