Sight Fishing Cobia On The Flats With Otis [Dog vs. Cobia]

By: Luke Simonds on November 4, 2018
Found In:

sightfishing cobia

Sight fishing cobia on the flats is one of the most fun types of fishing because there are so many challenges involved.

First of all, it’s very tough to find them on a consistent basis, so it’s even more important to take advantage of any opportunities that do come up.

Also, they are often following rays which always seem to make a turn right after you cast ahead of it making the cast fruitless because the cobia never even saw your lure/bait.

But when it does all work out, it’s up there with my absolute favorite of all catches.

The Dog vs. Cobia Trip

One very memorable day took place a couple weeks ago while I was fishing with my dog, Otis.

I was moving across a flat using the trolling motor and noticed a big push of water about 150 yards away.

My first assumption was that it was a dolphin, but I kept glancing back over in that direction and never saw the dolphin come up for air.

And then I saw what appeared to be a wing of a big ray breaking the surface…

So I immediately dropped plans to target redfish up on the flat in hopes that a cobia was cruising with the ray.

And my excitement went through the roof when I realized that not only was there a cobia, there were more than just one…

There was only 1 problem…

And that was Otis… he apparently gets more excited than me when a cobia is on the line and it was pure chaos.

Note: You’ll see the full cast, hookup, and battle in the video below.

Sight Fishing Cobia On The Flats Video

Here’s a video that shows very close footage of a couple rays and some cobia cruising the flats.

They came right up to the boat several times, and I got a big one to strike just 10 ft away from me while the camera was rolling… sure was a blast!

Just click on this video image to see the video.

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

Related Links:

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club

See the Insider Exclusive Trip Details


When fishing on the flats, always make sure to keep your eyes on the lookout for pushes of water.

These pushes of water will often be a big school of mullet, a manatee, or a dolphin.

But they can also be a big ray with cobia like this, a school of redfish, or something else that can turn an otherwise slow day to be a very special trip.

And if you do plan to land a hard fighting fish like a cobia, I recommend not taking a dog like Otis out without any help to keep him from acting up:)

Fish On!

P.S. – Please be sure to share this with any of your friends who you believe would enjoy sight fishing cobia off of a ray like this up on the flat.

Note: If you want to see more trips where Otis was causing trouble, here’s a link to a page that shows them all – click here.

Leave a Reply

42 Comment threads
48 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
47 Comment authors
Luke SimondsBlaine JohnZachary BuendiaMichael RuthDavid Johnson Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Notify of
Blaine John

Long live Otis!!!
You gotta’ keep him on the boat– hundreds of guys have videos about catching fish. You guys do that AND you’ve got Otis!

Zachary Buendia

Love the dog but it’s like to much buddy to have to watch all the stuff at once

Michael Ruth

I think fishing with your dog is awesome. However I will say that if he doesn’t obey command he could end up gettting tangled in the line or getting hooked badly if the hook comes free from the fish. Either one could become fatal (worst case senario, but murphy’s law seems to happen often). If you can get him to obey command I would personally fish on! If not, that’s a hard decision.

David Johnson

Otis is gonna end up dinner sooner or later.:)

Bob Persan

Even though my german shepard swims as well as any of my labs, my wife would not let her on the boat without a dog life jacket .
The really good thing is it has a large handle in the middle of the back . It might be like lifting a suitcase full of wet cement but , I can lift her out . You can also grab the jacket with a boathook when your favorite companion will not come back close enough to reach .

Rick Daniel

Otis minds so well (lol), but you got to keep taking him when you can!

Thomas Thomas

There’s a lot of informative info in most of the videos, but the most entertaining videos always seem to involve Otis.

You gotta keep taking Otis.

BTW, you should auction a fishing trip with Otis and let the proceeds go to help the Panhandle for hurricane recovery. Might be surprised how much folks would bid for that trip with Otis (oh, and to fish with you too. : – )

Bubba Thomas (yea, I know my sign in shows Thomas Thomas, but that’s not correct and I don’t know how to get it fixed)

Melanie Maley

Hi Thomas…I sent an email request with same issue of changing profile name and they were kind enough to handle it for me. Hope this helps.

Harry Kinkead

Love Otis! These are some of the best videos. Keep Otis fishing.

Dave Otte

I love Otis, but one day he may get hurt. You can’t fish and tend to him at the same time. If he can’t stay in one spot in the boat until you say the password, he has to stay home.

Alan Spolar

Too funny!

Wayne Bauman

this is wonderful. more feedback about Otis than any other subject. love that dog.

Tim Neil

Keep Otis fishing. You leave him home he will give you the cold shoulder

John Worrell

I got a dog does the same thing. Loves the boat and the water. Always looking for an opportunity to jump in. Had to leash him to the boat in a safe place when fishing. Too many things can go wrong. You might end up reeling Otis in. It’s all fun and games until you get a hook in your eye… So take him with you and enjoy the ride but when it’s business time tie him down. I’ve loved these videos since he was a pup. I recall seeing Otis at the party last year and he was so big. Hate to hear a sad story about him. Just my opinion.

Stephen Avinger

Keep OTIS on board! My wife absolutely loves watching Otis videos. She hears me watching fishing stuff, and she always asks if that is Otis’s daddy. Just hook his leash to a pedal when filming.

Roy Noblin

take otis–my dog was about 160 lb or more and i never took him due to i thought if he jumped in i’d never get him back in the boat. he is gone now and my biggest regret is i could have devised a way to get him in if needed and dog life vest was not that costly. you catch plenty of fish and release most so take the best friend you will ever have. i have caught a few cobia and all by luck. the first was many years ago when i had a pontoon boat. we had a grill in the front so we went mostly to let my three kids swim and just have a relaxing day on the water. i always took two rod and reels just because i ain’t big on swimming or sunning and at the time i had no clue how to salt water fish. on that trip my mother was with us and after we ate the kids were throwing chips into the water while wait for what we ate to settle. my mother said there were two sharks going in and out under the boat and when i looked down i saw two then my wife saw two. if they were the same two or more i have no idea but i had two lines out with cork and shrimp under them. we decided to move some where else to let the kids get in the water so i started to reel in my lines. as the first one got close the fish took off after it so i jerked real hard and luckily didn’t hook anyone on the boat. thinking that was a bad idea the 2nd i reeled in as fast as i could and bam. one hit me. round and round we went because my mother said shark was good eating and wanted me to catch it. i wanted to just cut the line but when my wife agreed with my mother i was doomed. i finally got it on the boat and said to my self that don’t look like a shark so i had a book with pictures and there it was. a cobia, legal size and said edible so the tail and head stuck out the cooler so if fwc was there it would be whole. the next day at work i was talking about it to a friend and he said in the heat of the summer they will look for shade to get under so that maybe why yours was around that big ray. since then i have caught a few and every one was when i was reeling in fast because i saw something i wanted to cast to. i have learned a lot from you and have gone in three years from skunked a lot to get my limit. should you see them again try casting past and reel in as fast as you can so lure breaks water. i can’t be sure but i have had corks hit by what i think might have been cobia. what ever they were they hit it when i was doing a fast retrieve. you can teach otis to sit with a whistle and shock collar at home. do NOT over use it or all will be lost. sit then blow whistle as you say stay. as you walk away if he move one tap the red button. he will yelp and dance the first few time but then he will realist if he doesn’t move he don’t get zapped. my dog learned here real fast so when he saw the collar he knew were were going out and when i said here he came quick. he hated wheels of any kind especially bikes and people on them got real nervous when he charged at them so i had to train him or not go out. leash did not work as he could drag me down the road no problem. please don’t waste a minuet without otis that you could be with him

Dan Kelly

As far as fishing with Otis… he is certainly a hoot, but I’d be very afraid of some shark on the flat thinking he was something to eat. Once Otis is in the water, if a shark came up on him, not much you could do in time. As an Otis fan, I have to reluctantly say no jumping in, for his sake!!!!!

James Bartells

I have fished with my labs on freshwater for many years. The first thing I teach them from puppy on is never jump off the boat. I also teach them not to jump off docks, but my grandkids make that tough sometimes. I could never have them retrieve a musky lure! My suggestions. (I got Wolters book many years ago). Try whenever he gets excited by the edge of the boat, tell him no and if he backs off off give him a treat. Probably do when not actively fishing or perhaps with a pinfish on. Or go with someone else and have them fish while you train. A pinch collar(not just a choker) with a snap by you on attached leash really gets their attention. Need to downplay the excitement when there is fish on. Reward when behaves, Scold and put a leash on and tie to center console when he jumps in. Labs are very smart, love treats and hate harsh words. I always take my dogs fishing. The most they do with a big fish on is sit up to look. The most important thing is for you to be consistent in this or it will never work! Great dogs for fishing.😎🐬


This was awesome! Take him out.. he deserves it!

Herb Anding

The cobia looked below slot – until he makes you lose a keeper I’d say let him keep going.

Robert Cirulnick

Take Otis along. He is great to watch and adds excitement. He is part of the Salt Strong Team!

Luis Vivas

Great video Luke and Ottis.
I say keep fishing together is my vote. 🎣🎣

William Soscia

What can I say. I love Otis. He needs to stay

Danny Logue

Always bring him when you can he’s your partner and life long friend

Danny Logue

Luke the book water dog is excellent. You will have to be firm in all your training no matter the circumstances. He will honor you more and you two will have better time together.👍👍

Glenn Acomb

I agree with those that are concerned about him getting hooked. Do yo think you could do some training to get him to “sit” as you land the fish? A short leash connected to something heavy/strong in the center of the skiff till he learns? It’s a tough one to figure out, but his safety is important. I do, however, so enjoyed the video and laughed our loud with my wife as we were also thinking about what our Border Collie would do.

Pablo Diaz

What’s a salt strong video without Otis? Need him

William Flynn

Love the Otis and the Cobia video! Definitely keep bring him on the boat. I love Otis he is just hysterical! And a smarty pants too! #SaltStrong

Rich Despault

I totally agree, love Otis.

Junior Johnson

Yep please keep letting Otis go. He enjoys that as much as you do. Let him have his fun but don’t let a shark get him.

Robert Bulla

Keep Otis, I love those video’s !

Ryan Jacobs

As you probably already know, my wife and I vote for Otis to continue with the boat trips. I think however you two found each other was just meant to be. He looks SOOOOO happy out there. With that being said, I think a little training would go a long way for the safety of both of you.
Fish On!…..Tight Lines…..Otis Strong

David Atkins

I totally agree with Ryan.

Gregory Batchelor

Luke, that was an awesome post, thanks for the info., did not know they follow the Rays! As for Otis…………keep training him:) We took Pepper on Lake Erie all the time, and she knew a walleye, BUT never jumped off the Batchelors Pad thank goodness! Try to teach Otis to stay on the boat, good luck there. But its fun watching him, but I kn ow its hard to watch him interfering with the catch. Love it my brother@

Robert Cox

not Otis fault, training, training, training

Steve Howie

Luke, I enjoy Otis on the boat, but I agree with on of the previous comments it looks like it starting to be a safety issue. When I was in college I used to train labs, they are very easy to train compared to other breeds. I would suggest looking into books by Richard Wolters Water dog, Family Dogs, great books for getting you lab under your control and having a more enjoyable experience on the water.


Dogs live in the moment. He likely doesn’t make the connection between his current “house duty” and the fish retrieval mission. I am sure you catch plenty of fish so keep taking Otis and let him have his fun at times.


Love Otis!! He makes it so fun to watch but I do worry about his safety. Maybe just some training….

Nate Wondra

Hey Luke, you could have a tether attached somewhere near the middle of the boat. Make it just long enough so he can get to the side of the boat but can’t jump over. Hook him on there when you get on some fish. Just a thought…

George Layton

The “DOG DAYS” of fishing !!!! OUCH !


I had a yellow lab about the same size and when I had her in my boat on the flats she did the same thing great fun I cough some and lost some my Casey was so happy I tried leaving her home one time she made me pay buy not talking to me for a couple days Now that really hurt me so she came on all fish trips after that . We are much happier now
Keep the DOG on the boat

Joe Chamberlain

I agree, Cobia sight fishing is tops. Did you notice there were two rays the Cobia were following? At least on one clip I could see two . Great job. Sorry, no dogs allowed on my boat.

David Hagle

Otis rocks!!! Your videos are even more enjoyable to watch when he is envovled. I love taking my dog Buck fishing with me. Many fish in the sea, only one true mans best friend. Tight lines!

David Atkins

Having a dog with you for companionship is fine but if he can’t remain in the boat and continues jumping into the water then you got to think about his safety overtop of anything else. What would you do if he got hurt or attacked by a shark, stingray or other?
Sometimes its better to leave an untrained animal at home rather than chance them gettinh injured or worse. Think about it!

Matthew Carter

You never leave your wingman.

Charles Miller

I love dogs, but sorry; that’s wrong on every level. Stupid to have a dog on board that’s going to jump in when having fish on. That dog needs his ass tanned.