A week or so ago we were anchored in 125’ of water just outside the reef edge. We had caught 3 Cobia on live baits fished right on the bottom to go along with a few Kingfish and Mutton Snapper.  We decided to leave the spot after the action slowed down and as we began to pull the anchor, here came 4 more cobia tailing down sea right on our bow. The sight of tailing Cobia is a firm reminder that April has arrived and with it the type of spring “sight” fishing which so many of us find exciting.

Variously referred to as a “tailing” condition or fishing the “color change”, experienced locals anticipate this development this time of year. The basic elements which create this situation are, wind out of the East or southeast combined with strong East current pushing into the wind. The color change created between green inshore water and blue offshore water provides a vivid visual indicator of where to fish. Often it is the blended water, the so called “powder” blue edge where the most action occurs. This is primarily a live bait fishery for best results. Live Ballyhoo, Threadfin Herring, Large Pilchards and Goggle eyes are the baits of choice.

In the morning while the sun is still low I typically try to find the most distinct section of the color change and kite fish, keeping my kite baits working either side of the change. Once the sun is high and over head or slightly behind me as the boat faces the east, I like to look around by driving at 8-10 knots towards the east along the color change. On the right days, a steady stream of Sailfish, Dolphin, Tuna and Cobia will be swimming down sea right at you. In addition to these common species, every spring much more exotic fish are seen and baited such as giant Bluefin Tuna, Swordfish, Mako Sharks, and Blue Marlin. In the cockpit we keep a selection of spinning rods ready to spear on a live bait and cast. Good luck with the Bluefin Tuna on spinning gear! If the fish aren’t tailing much on a given day then we go back to soaking baits along the change, knowing that sooner or later we will get a bite from a fish for which the color change acts like a fence line. Indeed the beauty of a color change is that it simplifies your decision on where and how deep to fish, don’t be in doubt- fish the change.

Good luck and tight lines.

Capt. Brad