John's Journal...

Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine

Fishing Structure for Cobia

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Tim Reynolds of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a member of one of the nation’s best cobia-fishing teams, along with Dennis Meins, David Harris and Bo Hamilton, has fished for cobia for 25 years. This week, we’ll look at the techniques his team uses to catch cobia that I learned when I fished with Reynolds Mid-June. We pulled up to a jack-up rig about 35 miles south of Horn Island, off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As soon as we arrived, two cobia surfaced – one weighed about 40 pounds and the other weighed about 10 pounds.

Question: Tim, why do you like to fish smaller structures for cobia?
Reynolds: If you fish the really-big rigs, you can chase cobia all the way around the rigs and never cast your bait properly. But on smaller structure, the cobia will pop up when you start casting to them, and you can be much-more efficient at finding and catching cobia, when you look for them near smaller rigs and structure.Click to enlarge

Question: We just came up to a single pipe. Tell me what happened.
Reynolds: When we approach a rig, we cast to the rig. We let the jig fall to about 50 feet and then pump the jig really hard to get the cobia’s attention and bring the fish up to the surface. Once we can see the cobia, we start pumping really hard to bring it into the boat. But the fish went back down, and we couldn’t see it. So we baited-up four rods with live bait and cut up dead pogeys for chumming. Bo started jigging again, and this time, a cobia hit the jig. Bo was smart enough to not rush the fish, and he let the cobia stay in the water. Most of the time, if there’s two or more cobia holding on a rig, the second cobia will come up to see what the other cobia is doing on the surface. That’s exactly what happened this time. David had a live bait hooked and ready to present to the second cobia. Then when David had the second cobia hooked-up, I gaffed Bo’s cobia (the first cobia). Once we had the first fish in the boat, Bo took the gaff and brought David’s cobia into the boat.

Question: Why do you always bring chum when you go cobia fishing?Click to enlarge
Reynolds: Generally the chum will bring the cobia to the surface where we can see and catch them. If you present baits to the cobia, they often will go out of sight. But if you pitch chum into the water, they usually will stay on the surface where you can catch them. When the cobia begin eating the chum in a tight circle, you know the fish are hungry and will eat anything.

Question: What bait did the second cobia take?
Reynolds: It took a butterfish. On the way out this morning, we stopped at a shrimp boat that was catching shrimp. I like to get a wide variety of baitfish to use to fish for cobia. Every day, these cobia have jigs and lures thrown at them, so I present various types of live baits to the cobia. Cobia will eat nearly anything caught in a shrimp net. We also take live eels as well as croaker, shrimp, mullet, ground mullet, eel, white trout, squid and anything else we can get from a shrimp net that’s alive. We present a smorgasbord of baitfish, hoping to show the cobia baits they haven’t see in a while. Many times, the cobia have seen so many jigs that they won’t even look at a jig, and sometimes, cobia will hit anything you throw to them, even a chicken bone. We were fishing next to a rig once with a bucket of fried chicken. We were eating the chicken and throwing the bones overboard. After we’d finished eating, we noticed a cobia near the surface. We cast live bait to the cobia, and the fish took it. We caught the cobia, put it in our ice locker and took it home. When we cleaned the cobia that night, we couldn’t believe what we found in its stomach. You guessed it – chicken bones.Click to enlarge

Question: How big were the two cobia we caught?
Reynolds: One fish weighed 30 pounds, and the other weighed 35 pounds.  

To reach Tim Reynolds, write him at 1599 A Bienville Blvd., Ocean Springs, MS, 39564, or email him at or

For more information on cobia fishing, to book a trip to fish for cobia and to learn about accommodations in Biloxi, call Bobby Carter, the manager of the Isle of Capri, at (228) 436-7928, or visit the website at You won’t find better food or nicer, more-spacious accommodations anywhere else than on the Isle of Capri.

Go to, or call 1-866-See-Miss (733-6477) for more information about Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Tomorrow: Tagging the Cobia

Check back each day this week for more about "Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine"

Day 1: The Jack-Up Rig
Day 2: Catching the Cobia
Day 3: Fishing Structure for Cobia
Day 4: Tagging the Cobia
Day 5: Switch-Hitting



Entry 410, Day 3