Cobia are found in the warm-temperate to tropical waters of the West and East Atlantic Ocean, throughout the Caribbean, and in the Indian Ocean off the coast of India, Australia, and off the Pacific coast of Japan. Here in Maryland, they can be found in the deep, open waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
Cobia have a long body that is blackish on the back and brown on the sides, two silvery bands run along its sides from the head to the tail and it has a yellowish or grayish-white belly. They usually grow 3 to 4 feet in length and weigh more than 50 pounds. Known to be strong and stubborn, Cobia will try to make a run for it once they are hooked making for a challenging and exciting catch.
Cobia season in Maryland is from June 15 - September 15. High season falls between August and September as water temperatures warm.
Cobia are one of the largest, hardest fighting species that you’ll find in Maryland’s waters. Be prepared—when hooked by an angler, cobia will put up quite a fight, leaping and running to escape. You will want to use heavy tackle. Cobia can make strong runs, pulling you into structures which can break off your line, or just generally break a line too weak to handle a big fish.
In Maryland, you are most likely to find cobia in the Bay’s deep, open waters; often found in the shade of wrecks, buoys and pilings. Mostly solitary, cobia will sometimes form small groups. Natural live and dead baits are recommended.
License and Regulations
Simple, quick, and at the palm of your hand, DNR’s app is the easiest way to get your Maryland fishing license. Download the app on your smartphone (MD DNR), click Apply for License, and enroll. From the app, you can also register any catches, post photos, and check for regulations updates. Or, you can apply for a license through Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website. There are a few instances where registering for a license may not be necessary; visit Maryland DNR for a full list of these exceptions. For more information on fishing without a license – and locations where licenses are not required – visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/Fisheries/Pages/Free-Fishing.aspx. Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for a complete list of Maryland’s Fishing Regulations.
Money generated from the sale of licenses goes directly to the conservation, protection, and preservation of Maryland’s natural habitat and cherished wildlife. Maryland DNR works tirelessly to maintain a healthy population of fish and game, and the regulations needed to sustain fishing and hunting in Maryland. Changes in regulations, dates, and requirements vary year-to-year. Please check with DNR frequently for the most up-to-date information.