The third time was the charm for Capt. Will Coker and buddy Tyler McMahan aboard Blind Faith.
On Tuesday, the two hooked and landed the first cobia out of Destin.
"It was a good pull," said McMahan who landed the 44.4-pound cobia in about 15 minutes. "Thought it was about a 30-pounder at first, but when we got it in we knew it was more than 40.”
Not only do the two guys from Fort Walton Beach fish together, they work together at Poppy's Crazy Lobster Bar and Grill in HarborWalk Village. McMahan is the executive chef and Coker is part of the wait staff.
"We started fishing last week," Coker said, in search of that first cobia. "We went west a couple of times.”
But the pair came up cobialess.
On Tuesday, their third time out, they departed Destin at about 8:30 a.m., the same time as the Full Pull crew, which has a strong track record of claiming that first cobia of the season.
The duo decided to go east for a change and went as far down as Edgewater Beach Condominium and turned around.
"We didn't see anything, just a few turtles and baits," Coker said.
They got back to the Crazy Lobster around noon, and then headed back out shortly thereafter, and went west.
Coker said they started fishing about the El Matador on Okaloosa Island.
"We had one eel and a ruby lip ready to throw," Coker said. "I was looking offshore and he (McMahan) was on the inside.”
McMahan finally spotted the ling right at the "Eiffel Tower," located between the El Matador and the Navarre Pier.
"We knew what it was, and we knew we wanted to put the eel on that first fish," Coker said.
Because Coker had the eel on his side of the boat, he threw on it.
"As soon as the eel hit the water, she was all over it," he said. "I waited until she was swimming away, then I put the heat on her."
Coker said the cobia came up one time and jumped, and after that she swam parallel to the boat until he was able to get a gaff in what would become the first fish of the season.
"She was real lethargic, not hesitant of the boat," Coker said. "She wanted to come to the boat and I let her."
He said they thought for a second about maybe fishing some more, but instead "we took it up and ran back home," Coker said.
They brought the cobia back to HarborWalk Marina and weighed it in at 44.4-pounds.
"It takes dedication to get out there and go for that first one," Coker said. "But as soon as that water temperature gets right I'm ready to go."
McMahan cooked some of the cobia Tuesday night and then a few filets on Wednesday at the restaurant for Coker and a few others that got in on the taste test. McMahan grilled the cobia filets and topped them off with four different salsas and sauces. On one he put a passion fruit butter sauce and mango salsa, another was topped with coconut curry, another had a roasted poblano cream sauce, and the other was topped with a blood orange butter sauce and a Florida citrus salsa.
"These sauces and salsas are on our menu," McMahan said of Poppy’s "We were born to fish and eat. And if I'm not in the kitchen, I'm on the water.”
"It's an experience like no other to serve it up with your own sauces and salsas," he added. "And it's always nice to share it."
The two are planning on entering the Cobia World Championships that begin this weekend at Harbor Docks with weigh-ins daily from 4-8 p.m. through May 5.
"As soon as that sun starts shining again, we're going," said Coker. "Folks better put us on the radar, that's all I've got to say."