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cobia illustration


World Record ~ 135 Lbs 9 oz. Caught at Shark Bay, W. Australia on July 9, 1985 by angler Peter W. Goulding.

Scientific name ~  Rachycentron Canadum

Other names ~ Ling, cabio, lemonfish, crab eater, flathead, black salmon, black kingfish, sergeant fish, runner , cubby yew

Identification ~  The body is elongate and torpedo-shaped with a long, depressed head. The eyes are small and the snout is broad. The lower jaw projects past the upper jaw. The skin looks smooth with very small embedded scales. Easily distinguished by the first dorsal fin which is composed of 7-9 short, strong isolated spines, not connected by a membrane. The body is dark brown to silver, paler on the sides and grayish white to silvery below, with two narrow dark bands extending from the snout to base of caudal fin. These dark bands are bordered above and below by paler bands.

Size ~  Angler caught Cobia can reach weights of  50 to 90 pounds and 6 feet in length, although 3 foot  Cobia in the 15 pound range are the most common size that anglers encounter. Cobia grow quickly and have a moderately long life span.

Habitat ~ As a pelagic fish, cobia are found over the continental shelf as well as around offshore reefs. It prefers to reside near any structure that interrupts the open water such as pilings, buoys, platforms, anchored boats, and flotsam. The cobia is also found inshore inhabiting bays, inlets, and mangroves. The cobia is distributed worldwide in tropical, subtropical and warm-temperate waters. In the western Atlantic Ocean this pelagic fish occurs from Nova Scotia (Canada), south to Argentina, including the Caribbean Sea. It is abundant in warm waters off the coast of the US from the Chesapeake Bay south and through out the Gulf of Mexico.

Feeding Habits ~ Cobia are known to often engulf their prey whole. They feed on crustaceans, squid, and small fishes such as mullet, eels, jacks, snappers, pinfish, croakers, grunts, and herring. A favorite food is crabs, hence the common name of "crabeater". Cobia often cruise in schools of 3 to fish, hunting for food during migrations in shallow water along the shoreline.    

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