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Releasing Large or Big Cobia Fishing Charters and Trips

A Guide To Handling Catch & Release Red Drum

Tuesday January 23, 2018

After an hour fight on light tackle in shallow warm water most anglers are pretty worn out, imagine how worn out the fish is!  It's important that anglers follow some simple guidelines to insure a successful release of these awesome southern gamefish.

Warmer Water Stresses Fish

In normal conditions, redfish are very hearty fish that survive being caught and released. However when water temperatures get in the mid 80's and above... anglers need to take more precautions than normal. Use heavier tackle if possible on some of the larger redfish making the fight shorter during the warmer seasons if possible. It's during these warmer months that anglers need to avoid landing any redfish that is not going on the dinner table. Keeping the fish in the water may avoid that last bit of stress to put a fish over-the-edge.

It's not uncommon to spend over fifteen minutes nursing a redfish back to health after an extended fight in warm water. If you follow a few proven methods that many of my guide friends use, you'll have a clean release and feel great about the capture of these giant fish on Florida's coastline and the extra efforts will pay off.

Captain Richard Bradley has a few tips on releasing redfish to be caught again.

  1. Don't land a big redfish, keep them in the water. If possible, get in the water for your photographs and don't lift the fish totally out of the water. A big redfish has alot of weight in the internal organs, keeping them in the water helps them survive.
  2. Grab their tails and move slowly back and forth until the fish is motivated to swim on their own. This could take some time for larger fish in warm water.
  3. Keep handling to the minimum. Try to not rub the slime off the fish it protects them.
  4. If possible, use higher pound test in warmer water to shorten the fight-time.
  5. Don't stick your hands in their gills.
  6. If the hook is in the throat of the fish or "gut hooked", cut the line and don't play doctor. (Don't use Stainless Steel hooks).
"There is nothing more satisfying to an angler than when he successfully releases a healthy fish back into it's habitat... conversly there's nothing more dissapointing when one does not survive and you're forced to watch it float away..."
- explains Captain Richard

Catch and Release Tackle

Whether you are using artificials, live or dead bait consider using the lightest hook possible and avoid the use of stainless steel tackle whenever possible. In saltwater, light wire hooks will work great on twelve pound test and under. Remember that if a fish swallows a hook or lure, it's often more benificial to the fish simply to leave hooks alone rather than attempt surgery. We've seen many healthy fish with rusty hooks protruding from their anus as they're bodies have digested and rejected the foreiegn object, much as our bodies push out a splinter.

As your angling skills advance, consider using barbless hooks. Barbless hooks work well if the angler understands how to keep pressure on the fish avoiding letting the fish throw the hook. This works well on redfish as they are not aerobatic and are not rapid head shakers. Snook, tarpon and are not great candidates for the barbless tackle but the steady fighting redfish is.

Fill Out Form for Charter Fishing Information

Request information about a fishing trip with a Lagooner Fishing Guide by filling out and submitting this form or simply calling (321) 868-4953

To find out more information about taking a fishing guide service on the Banana River Lagoon, please at (321) 868-4953 or fill out the request form above and Lagooner Fishing Guides will be prompt to respond.

Purchase a Hook Remover or Fishing Pliers.

We did a quick search on Google and found a link to several different types of hook removers. In saltwater, you might consider using a stainless steel variety of hook remover as they'll last in the boat longer and be in good shape when you go to use them.

We use donmar fishing pliers becaue they last forever and are great for extracting exposed hooks. A decent pair of fishing pliers is a must.

Cobia are hard fighting, heavy fish that never seem to give up the battle even after they're boated. Average size of this fish seems to be over 25 lbs with 35-40 lbs not uncommon. Brown to black colored with no teeth, short spikes on their backs and plenty of "BIG FISH" attitude. Cobia are often mistaken by anglers for sharks and can be seen freely swimming near the surface near flotsam or structure. For the most part cobia are dark brown but can have some color fluctuation due to genetics or habitat.

Both INSHORE and NEARSHORE inhabiting inlets, bays, and among mangroves; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, and wrecks. During the spring and fall migrations they can often be seen free swimming along the coastline.

We often find cobia swimming near the surface near floating sargassum seaweed or flotsam. Prior to the 1980's cobia would frequent navigation aids but this has become less of a habit due to angling pressure.

One of the preferred ways to catch cobia consistently is to simply bottom fish near wrecks and structure. Cobia respond well to live bait and find comfort and food source near large bottom structure.

As a note you should always look around large marinelife for swimming cobia. Large sharks, manta rays, whales and turtles can often hold cobia that relate to them as traveling companions or hitchhikers.


spawns in spring and early summer; feeds on crabs, squid, and small fish. Target this fish in early spring or late winter (feb-april). Cobia are often seasonal so make your reservations during this time of year.

Cobia Fishing Information & Photos

Port Canaveral Cobia
Family Cobia Fishing
Cobia with Manta Rays
Offshore Cobia
Schooling Cobia Offshore
Site Fishing Cobia
Inshore Cobia Fishing
Central Florida Cobia
Cobia Captain Charters
Cobia Fishing


Minimum size 33" to fork 1 per harvester or 6 per vessel per day, whichever is less.

State Record

103 lbs., 12 ozs.

Learn how to catch and release large redfish

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: May 20 2017 14:14:16.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Fill Out Form for Charter Fishing Information

Request information about a fishing trip with a Lagooner Fishing Guide by filling out and submitting this form or simply calling (321) 868-4953

Fishing Reports

January - 2018 Fishing Report

The Banana River comes alive during the colder months of year and January is the peak season for deep hole trout, redfish and juvenile black drum. We've been fishing the deeper canals and slews with success during the cold fronts when the water is cold and also catching some great sized fish on the flats adjacent to these holes. Look for the Banana River to improve as the winter gets colder and the fish transition to their winter haunts in pursuit of cold, stable water. Look for mature fish to seek warmth on the shallow shorelines nearby.

Fishing Forecast

January - 2018 Fishing Forecast

Is it going to be an Indian Summer this January or possibly a deep freeze Polar Vortex? These are the questions that all fishing guides want to know. Depending on how this winter plays out with temperatures, winds and other conditions will dictate how our fishing will pan out in January. Unless the water is churned up by high winds, January will produce some of the cleanest and clearest water of the year in Central Florida as colder water kills of plankton life in the lagoons and mild northeast winds often push in clearer water in the ocean. Look for great inshore fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon and Northern end of the Indian River toward Titusville. If the winds and water are all frothed up it can be a crap shoot for fishing in almost every inshore locations and will shutdown all offshore fishing due to small craft warnings and safety warnings. However, between fronts, look for some of the best fishing of the year in January both inshore and offshore in Central Florida.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

We had a great time with Captain Richard.
It was great to catch Kings, Spanish Mackerel and Bonitas.
We also saw a huge Hammerhead Shark and Barracuda.
We will definitely go again!

about Lagooner Fishing Charters on August 4, 2016

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