If you enjoy sight fishing for cobia, you probably know that there’s no substitute for having eyes in the sky – the higher, the better. But you can’t add a tower to any old boat. The solution? In my younger (and slightly dumber) days I tried ’em all: strapping a ladder to the T-top, stacking coolers, standing on the rails while gripping the T-top with white knuckles – you name it. Leaving the danger factor of such antics aside, the fact of the matter is that none of these “fixes” get you high enough to sight fish like a pro. In the past couple seasons we’ve had great cobia runs in my neck of the woods, which I desperately wanted to get in on. I did my best, envied the guys with boats that had towers, and eventually shifted to chumming since it was really the only effective way to enjoy the fishery. Then this winter…
Years ago I had a boat with a “buggy seat” on the T-top, so I already knew of its advantages: while it doesn’t get you as high as a tower, it does provide significant elevation. It weighs next to nothing. Most structurally sound T-tops can support one (at least for a single spotter). And it doesn’t cost nearly as much as a full tower does. Of course, this arrangement also does have downsides. It requires installing a zipper in the T-top canvass or some sort of steps if you have a hard-top, for access. It can be difficult to climb up and down, especially when it’s rough. And if you have a pulse radar you have to be extraordinarily careful not use when someone’s in the seat (and I’d argue against risking such a set-up in the first place; the radar you see here is a 3G solid-state model that doesn’t have a magnetron and emits about as much radiation as a cell phone).
The difference a simple buggy seat can make, however, is amazingly significant. Look at this picture; someone sitting in the seat will have their head a solid seven or eight feet higher than the captain at the helm. The best I was ever able to accomplish with a ladder or coolers was maybe four or five feet. It’s comfortable, and has rod holders positioned for immediate casting from up top. And it has virtually zero effect on the boat’s center of gravity.
You have a boat with a T-top, cobia in your waters, and no way to look for ’em? Consider adding a buggy seat. It may not put you on a level playing field with the guys who have full towers on their boat, but the next time you go cobia fishing, you’ll leave the chum bucket at home.