Cobia & Shark Fishing Charters

The secret's out: Hilton Head Island offers world-class cobia fishing. People come from all over for a chance to catch a “brownie” as these unique looking chocolate-colored fish are sometimes called. Cobia have a shark-like body shape, with a wide, flat head and a strong tail. They’re known for making hard runs when hooked, and putting up a fierce fight for anglers.

Why is this such a hot spot? There are two significant coastal features that make Hilton Head such a great cobia fishing area, one inshore and one offshore.

Inshore, the Port Royal Sound estuary on Hilton Head Island’s northern end is one of largest spawning grounds for cobia along the southeast US coast. You'll see boats lined up on the tidal rips and key fishing spots from the Broad River bridge all the way out to the mouth of Port Royal Sound where it reaches the ocean, miles away.

Offshore, we have a relatively "shallow" coast, with depths less than 50 feet or so for several miles out, with one big exception. An underwater feature called the Tybee Trough which looks digs to the shallow coastal waters toward Hilton Head. At it's closest, maybe 15 miles out from the beach, we get a sudden drop into 80-100 foot waters at the edge of the Tybee Trough. This area was chosen by the SCDNR to build a massive artificial reef area highlighted by a sunken ship called the "Betsy Ross". We refer to the reef as the same, and it's an amazing place to fish for cobia.

The water is significantly clearer out here than the murky inshore waters of Hilton Head. Inherently curious and attracted to all sorts of objects, it’s not unusual to be surprised by a cobia or two swimming right up to the boat. It’s good to have a pitch bait at the ready to toss out as a quick cobia snack!

We spend most of our time cobia fishing by anchoring up along structure offshore and tidal rips inshore, in these areas where cobia are known to frequent, and we use mostly live and cut bait along with some artificial jigs and lures in some cases.

Cobia show up along with our influx of sharks into inshore & offshore waters as the water temperature warms into the 70s. So Cobia fishing charters are generally “cobia & shark” fishing charters. When fishing for cobia, we tend to catch lots of sharks, an occasional bull redfish, and smaller species like whiting or black sea bass. Sometimes we’ll encounter early seasonal schools of Spanish Mackerel near our cobia spots.

Given “perfect” conditions when there is no wind and super calm water, there are spots we can cruise slowly, sight fishing for cobia near the surface. These moments are rare, but often worth the hunt if conditions are right. An extended trip can combine things like fishing open water for cobia and sharks with fishing shallow water for redfish. There are lots of options. Tell us about your group and we’ll be sure to match the best boat, captain, and fishing approach to show you a great time on the water.
  Inshore & Near Coastal
  3-8 Hours
  Late April thru Mid June is peak season for Cobia
  Age 5+ for Inshore, Age 13+ for Near Coastal, Age 16+ for Offshore
  2018 Cobia Update: Good news! The SC & Federal Cobia fishery has re-opened in 2018, at least until the Annual Catch Limit is met.

Charter boats MUST have a Coastal Migratory Pelagics permit to fish for this species in federal waters. Our offshore vessel "A Live One" has this permit and is accepting reservations for a very limited number of Cobia fishing trips this spring.

The new bag limit is 1 per person per day and no more than 3 per boat (In state waters) or 6 per boat (Federal waters). Minimum size is 36" FL or 40" TL in state waters, and 36" FL in Federal waters.

During the month of May, we will be able to retain cobia caught in Federal waters only, as state harvest will be closed during the inshore spawn. That's ok, because the bite has been 10x better offshore the past few years.

We are glad to see efforts in the right direction to help our local and regional cobia population to flourish and return to it’s historically great numbers.








  • Cobia caught on Hilton Head fishing charter with Captain Blair
  • Cobia caught on fishing charter with Capt Blair in Hilton Head
  • Live Oac cobia fishing in Hilton Head

Live Oac’s Hilton Head Activities: