The cobia, the barracuda, and the hogfish might not fit as neatly into a group as other Key West species, but they’re still very popular targets in the area and well worth the pursuit for anglers of all ages and levels of experience.
The best teacher is on-the-water experience, but this guide will tell you everything you need to know about these exciting fish and give you a head start on landing them. Hopefully, this information will also encourage you to come down and experience the thrill-a-minute adventure of Key West deep sea fishing in a way that’s up-close, personal, and extremely satisfying.
The cobia is what you might call an all-purpose fish. Often used in fresh sushi because of its firm, delicious meat, cobia are highly valued by many restaurants in both Key West and the rest of Southern Florida. They ’re a popular target for sport fishermen as well, largely because of their size, endurance, and sheer fighting ability. In fact, hooking a cobia for the first time can be a startling experience, largely because they strike very aggressively and will often dive deep down in the water in an effort to shake off your line.
The cobia is a consistently large fish, with an average length of 3-4 feet and usually weighing around 40-50 pounds. They’re also quite curious and will sometimes come up to the side of your boat, where their voracious appetite makes them likely to go after just about any sort of live or dead bait. Landing a cobia is well worth the struggle, but be ready for an intense battle that will challenge both your equipment and your stamina.