The large chunk of fresh-cut bait had scarcely touched bottom when the fish inhaled it and took off! As quickly as I moved the drag to the strike setting, the hefty rod bent double and went under the boat.
“Big brown, big brown!” my brother Don hollered, as the fish took to the air behind me. I could hear the large splash but was too busy bent over the side with the rod in the water trying to keep old big brown from rubbing the line against the hull and breaking off.
Don tilted the engine as I worked the deep-water fish back to my side of the boat and, after a few tense minutes of seesaw action between the line and the transducer, she was free once more.
As I handed the rod to my son Caleb, the fish broke water again.
The deep-water fish surged, taking line freely and I held on to 10-year-old Caleb. It weighed at least as half much as my son, who groaned because of the strong pull of the fish. Slowly we worked the cobia back to the boat after 10 minutes of back and forth, but when the fish saw the boat, the line peeled off the reel again, despite Caleb’s protests.
Cobia are large battlers that move into our sounds to spawn in May and June. Averaging between 15 to 85 pounds, these fish offer the inshore angler reel sport! Usually by mid-June, they dwindle in size and the new spawn sporting racing stripes are well under the minimum 36-inch size.
I assured Caleb the fish had plenty of battle left. And he did, raging on for another 20 minutes. Each time Caleb worked him close to Don’s waiting gaff, the deep-water fish would take off on another spirited run. Finally, much to Caleb’s relief, Don planted the gaff securely in the cobia’s chin and the fish was in the boat. It weighed over 40 pounds, a nice first cobia catch for Caleb.
While the cobia action wanes by mid-June, there are many other exciting species to be caught now.
Near offshore on the reefs and in the creeks, the sheepshead are biting.
Also biting are Spanish mackerel and bluefish off the sandbars close to the beach. The action is usually fast and furious when you encounter school fish. In the same areas, large jack crevalle can be found, along with an occasional bull redfish.
Patrolling the bait and Spanish mackerel schools, you never know when the big brother of the Spanish, the king mackerel, may be lurking. Weighing between 15 and 60 pounds, this royalty puts up an exciting battle.
Last, but hardly least, the real June crowd pleasers, especially with the younger generation, are the sharks.
We have many species of sharks here: bulls, blacktips, duskies, scalloped or bonnet heads, sand, reef, sharp nose and more.
Most of these sharks will be in the four- to five-foot range, but there are larger ones to be had. Charters are available to go offshore for the massive tiger sharks, often 12 feet or larger! The smaller ones can be caught on short trips and offer lots of regular action, a priority for younger anglers. Sharks make for great vacation memories and, most of all, the kids love them!
Written by Captain Miles Altman
Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years of experience fishing our waters. Don’t miss the new Finatic boat, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers and features a special three-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Miles at 843-290-6955 or www.bayrunnerfishinghiltonhead.com to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip departing from Shelter Cove Harbour.