Cobia show up early south of Dularge

72-pounder among mass of lemonfish discovered in Ship Shoal, fishing guide says

Capt. Bill Lake isn’t known for offshore forays, but he decided to head into the Gulf and catch a few red snapper.

He discovered a welcomed bonus when cobia began cruising around his boat.

“We caught a 72-pounder and a 50-pounder, and two more smaller ones,” Lake said.

The owner of Bayou Guide Services said the first lemonfish appeared at their initial stop 60 miles south of The Pickets.

“We were in the Ship Shoal 208 area, and we saw three or four at the first satellite (rig),” Lake said. “They came right to the side of the boat like they’re supposed to and swam around, but we couldnt’ get any of them to bite.

“They were kind of finicky.”

The fish checked out the jigs and cut bait tossed to them, but Lake said the lings wouldn’t swallow anything.

The crew, which included Lawrence Brown, Alex Gravois and Keith Miller, bounced around to a few other satellite rigs, catching plenty of red snapper but striking out on cobia.

And they they pulled up to another structure and hit paydirt.

“Out of nowhere they just started coming out of the woodwork,” Lake said. “Just like that, five (cobia) came out of nowhere like submarines.”

The crew initally had no luck convincing the curious fish to commit.

“We threw jigs at them first,” Lake said. “They turned their noses up at them. They smelled them and swam off.”

So the guide snatched a “big, giant” live cocahoe minnow out of the baitwell and rigged it on a hook.

The 72-pound monster sucked it up, and was soon pulled over the gunwale.

More live cocahoes resulted in more fish in the boat.

“We just freelined (the cocahoes) in front of them,” Lake said.

The cobia were a pleasant surprise, he said.

“It’s a little early,” Lake said.

But he wasn’t complaining.

“Lemonfish are always a nice addition, especially with only two damned snapper (per person),” Lake said. “I don’t normally go out there, but I can tell you there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of (snapper out there): You can pull up to any set of rigs and wear them out.

“I tagged 45 of them myself.”

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About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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