I’ve never caught a cobia.
I’ve had a number of folks on my boat catch them – at certain times of the year, they are a fairly common by-catch while we are fishing for tarpon.
It always seems, though, that while I’m on the poling platform or re-rigging a rod, one of those brown bombers appears from out of nowhere. It’s also at that point where the other angler in the boat makes the cast of a lifetime, leading the fish by the perfect distance, the bait entering the water with barely any splash. It’s like something you’d see on a TV show. This guy that’s spent the morning wrapped up around every post and every mangrove in Charlotte County suddenly becomes Lefty Kreh
with a spinning rod.
Anyway, it’s funny to me, because, while I’m a fairly accomplished angler, and a hard-working well-studied full-time fishing guide, the subject of cobia can provide some endless ribbing from some of my fishing cronies.
It took years for me to jump a tarpon.
My family grew up as table fishermen. We went fishing and hunting to subsidize our food supply. It wasn’t until I was a late teenager that I had the idea that there were certain species you targeted just for fun.*
*It’s important to understand that we loved fishing. We enjoyed every jack and catfish and snook and trout and ladyfish that saw fit to pull on our lines. But the primary purpose, when I was young, was to limit out. I was probably 15 before I began to catch and release fish (aside from by-catch)
Growing up fishing around Boca Grande, ironically, tarpon wasn’t something we ever targeted. The regulations were very tight, and they have no table quality whatsoever. Couple that with the fact that we simply rarely crossed paths, and it became a very rare coincidence that we ever jumped one.
I must’ve been 21 or 22, snook fishing in the Peace River, before I had a tarpon go airborne with my Catch-2000 in his mouth. Coolest thing I’d ever seen. A huge adrenaline rush. And then I was hooked.
That’s what I’ve come up with so far – that it took me forever to jump a tarpon, and that I’ve never caught a cobia. What are some interesting confessions you may have about fishing?