(Rachycentron canadus)

Commonly referred to as Cobes or crab eaters!

The Cobia or black kingfish as they are some times referred to are an impressive pelagic sportfish that also possesses fine eating qualities. They are famous for being mistaken for sharks during battles and look remarkably similar to small whaler sharks in the water. Cobia are also referred to as black king fish but are the only member of their species the Rachycentron family and are in no way at all related to the yellow tail king fish. Cobia are a rare and highly regarded target species amongst most spear fishing and angling fraternities making the cobia a true angling milestone for many upon capture!


Cobia can be located from as far south as Dongara right up through the beautiful Kimberley region in Western Australia with the odd fish being taken as far south as Rottenest Island, Perth. They are also available to east coast anglers from N.S.W. up to QLD and the top end.


Cobia have a fast growth rate and can reach a maximum length of up to 2 meters and weigh as much as 68kg when fully matured.
Although fish between 8 – 20kg are more commonly encountered here in Australian waters.


Cobia prefer warmer northern waters and canoften be located around underwater structures such as reefs and wrecks as well as gliding along beneath large manta rays. Fish aggregating devises such as floating logs and other large potentially hazardous materials are also worth checking out in water depths of between 10 and 100 meters.


The Cobia is distinguished by its broad flat head and cylindrical shaped body. They are dark chocolate brown to black in colouration and can have two white stripes running horizontally down the body although these do fade with age. Cobia have a large mouth with very coarse sand paper like teeth designed for crushing crabs, bait fish and squid. Their tails are fork like with the upper tail lobe growing longer than the lower and dorsal fins that are similar in shape and appearance to that of a shark. All these features combine to give the cobia a very shark like resemblance in the water.

Taste rating

  • Seventy Taste Rating

Cobia are both an impressive sport fish and great eating when cut into cutlets and cooked on the BBQ fresh!

Sport rating

  • Eighty Sport Rating

Cobia are tough, dogged opponents that will test the skill of even the most experienced anglers.

Tackle requirements

Medium to heavy jigging, trolling and casting rods matched with spin or overhead reels capable of handling nylon, braided and gel
spun lines of around 10 – 15kg breaking strains are ideal for targeting cobia up to 30kg. Nylon and fluoro carbon leaders around a rod length or two should be around 60 – 150lb depending on the size of the fish you are intending to target and the outfit being used.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Live yellowtail, blue or scaly mackerel and most small, live or dead bait fish and squid are all ideal baits for cobia both live and dead. Hard bodied trolling and casting lures, soft plastics, metal jigs and sub surface lures are also great for targeting cobia. Deep water live bait rigs are perfectly suited for chasing big cobes.

Handy hints and tips

Drifting live baits or working metal jigs and soft plastics over underwater reefs and wrecks as well as casting hard bodied minnows, soft plastics and fly’s under large manta rays is a fantastic way to target cobia and will often leave anglers begging for more.

Preferred fishing times and tides

Cobia seem to prefer rising tides no matter what time of the day it is when it comes to offshore reefs and wrecks with water depth obviously playing a major role in keeping fish on the bite during bright, sunny days. Falling tides are often preferred by cobia cruising beneath the large manta ray’s and this is possibly due to the availability of small micro organisms and plankton becoming more abundant or easier for the manta’s to access during the faster flow of water.

Click here to listen to Nick and Steve talk about targeting Cobia in all sorts of places and ways.


[What The Fish]