Recent management of cobia (Rachycentron canadum), a popular saltwater target of anglers in the Southeastern U.S., has been challenging due to high levels of recreational effort and harvests that occur largely in state waters and can be difficult to predict. In the fall of 2017, a stated preference survey was developed and distributed to recreational saltwater anglers in Virginia to collect data that could be used to improve our understanding of angler preferences, decision-making, and behavioral responses to cobia regulations. In addition to containing questions on fishing behavior and expenditures, the survey also included a series of discrete choice experiments, where respondents were asked to select their most preferred alternative after being presented with different hypothetical fishing trips targeting cobia, red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), or summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). A mixed logit model was used to estimate angler preferences associated with hypothetical trip attributes, prior fishing behavior, and regulatory environment. Changes in fishing expenditures and angler welfare resulting from hypothetical changes in cobia regulations were then assessed. Behavioral responses to shifts in cobia regulations were found to produce relatively small changes in fishing-related expenditures though large changes in angler welfare. This was due to a tendency to switch between alternative target species in response to regulations, similar costs of targeting different species, and a high willingness-to-pay for cobia trips. Using catch, harvest and directed fishing effort data provided through the Marine Recreational Information Program, it is estimated that the 2017 Virginia private boat recreational cobia fishery produced $21.39 million in fishing expenditures and $46.59 million (se = $4.31 x 10^6) in angler consumer surplus. The high level of angler benefits generated by the recreational cobia fishery in Virginia, as well as their sensitivity to regulatory conditions, suggests that angler welfare should be considered when designing and evaluating alternative management strategies.