While many went west, the crew aboard the Hey Baby went east and brought in a couple of beast to take first and second place in the Frank Helton Crab Cruncher Classic at Harbor Docks over the weekend.
With 46 boats competing for $233,195 in prize money, the Hey Baby was the big winner with Phillip Houston pulling in an 83.4-pound cobia for first and Chatham Morgan a 72.1-pounder for second place.
“We just got lucky. We saw four and caught four,” said Charles Morgan, owner of the Hey Baby.
All four fish were singles and about two hours apart.
The biggest of the four, however, was the first of the day for the crew.
“We caught it about 9 in the morning,” Charles Morgan said.
Houston, who drove all night from Cincinnati to fish the Crab Cruncher, said he spotted the fish on the offshore side of the boat near Henderson Beach.
Once they turned the boat around, Houston threw an eel at the cobia and set the hook.
“It was a nice, quick fight … a very cooperative fish,” Houston said, noting it only took about 10 to 15 minutes to boat the fish. “The team had a feeling something great was going to happen.”
And catching a big one to start the day set the table for a great day.
“It gives you confidence when you’ve got a good one in the boat,” Charles Morgan said.
Using live eels for bait, they hooked the second place fish about 3 p.m.
“It fought harder than the big one,” Charles Morgan said.
He said it took his son Chatham about 30 minutes to get the 72-pounder in the boat.
“We pulled the hook on it at first,” Chatham said.
However, they tossed out another live eel and got her to eat. They got the fish to the gaff and missed.
“She got and upset and ran away again. It was a bulldog,” Chatham said.
After about 30 minutes, they got the cobia in the boat.
All in all, the Hey Baby had a good weekend on the water fishing down east, going four-for-five on Saturday and four-for-four on Sunday.
“We’ve been out many times and haven’t seen anything,” Charles Morgan said.
However, when you see one every couple of hours, he said, “it keeps your interest level higher.”
“And we didn’t just win it, we got first and second. We caught the big ones at the right time,” Charles Morgan said, who was already back on the water Monday in hunt for another cobia.
Not only did the Hey Baby take first and second overall, but they won the Big Three with a total weight of 209.6 pounds of cobia and were the big money winners taking home $135,170.66.
Here’s a list of the complete results from the Crab Cruncher
First: Hey Baby, 83.4 pounds
Second: Hey Baby, 72.1 pounds
Third: Flat Dangerous, 69.7 pounds
Fourth: Rock N Rail, 66.9 pounds
Fifth: Skin Deep, 66.5 pounds
First: Hey Baby, 209.6 pounds
Second: Only Way, 163.3 pounds
Third: Flat Dangerous, 127.1 pounds
Hey Baby: $135,170.66
Flat Dangerous: $33,551.67
Only Way: $13,962.00
Skin Deep: $10,846.67
Rock N Rail: $10,600.00
Long Weekend: $5,130.00
The tournament raised $23,355 for Take A Kid Fishing Day.