Goodbye Cobia Hello Cowboy

Cobia will never be found on the list of Florida’s smartest fish. Why? Because if something even appears somewhat edible and moves erratically within their field of view, the brazen fish typically charge in and jump all over it. The theory is true regardless if it’s a live eel wriggling across the surface or a hairy lead-head jig tossed toward a cruising ray. However this one particular cobia is different. This conniving…deceitful…sabotaging…sinister freak of nature is very, very different.


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Five years after community college and I’m not proud to say that I’m still stuck in a dead-end job. I’m struggling to pay bills and have little disposable income, which means a boat of any size is simply out of the question. So just like every weekend for the past four months, I’m spending this evening loading my F-150 in preparation of another long, hot and boring weekend at the local pier.

Truthfully, I hate pier fishing. I despise it with a passion and can’t wait until the day when I own a boat and never have to step foot on this slimy pile of sticks ever again. As a matter of fact, the only reason I keep going back is for the sole purpose of killing a cobia. Not just any cobia. There’s one cobia in particular that has taken up permanent residence in the structure’s shadows. The fish moved in last fall and no one can catch it. The pier rats formed a militia with one goal in mind—take down this monster. They actually have a $300 bounty on its head. That’s a lot of cash. Problem is that this cobia is waaaaaay too smart to be fooled by ordinary measures, which as you know is uncharacteristic of cobia anywhere.

The reason everyone loves catching cobia is because they are so easy to catch. It’s like an overgrown redfish that never stops eating. The two might even be cousins.

The cobia in question has literally haunted my nightmares for months, but for me killing it isn’t about the reward. For me it is symbolic. Catching this cobia is purely about revenge. It is about sticking the fish in my finger-pointing boss’s face who believes he knows everything there is to know about fishing and has caught every trophy in the sea, twice. This guy is the owner’s son and he’s a real jerk. I really need to show him up somehow. I work three times as hard as he does and earn one third as much just because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has a nice truck and a fast center console. I don’t. I drive a beat-up 1987 Ford and I fish the pier. I’ve ordered dinner off the 99 cent menu for the last eight days straight. And while I try and remain optimistic, I’m quickly approaching the big three-O and I have absolutely no direction. But this weekend will be different. This weekend I am going to catch this cobia. I will kill it. I will cook it and I will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month straight. I’ve watched it like a hawk and studied its every move and now it’s my turn. Even if it’s just for a brief period, I will feel a sense of accomplishment that no one can take away from me. For once in my life I’ll be the cowboy for a day.