FISH FLASH: Cobia tournaments are back on, mark your calendars

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

If it’s spring, it’s time for ling. 

It may be about time for the ling, aka. cobia, to make its migration along the Emerald Coast, but will area marinas and restaurants hold their annual tournaments? 

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, most of the cobia tournaments were canceled. 

More:Destin 'brown bag’ tourney winner hauled in 72.2-pound cobia - that’s a BIG fish (PHOTOS)

But some of the tournaments are back this year, so mark your calendars. 

First up is the Frank Helton Crab Cruncher held at Harbor Docks Restaurant on Destin harbor. The dates for the Crab Cruncher are April 8-11. Entry fees have not yet been determined. 

Robert and Bobby Lyerly show off a pair of cobia they caught last spring out of Destin.

The Cobia World Championships, which usually kicks off about the end of March and goes until the first of May, is currently on hold.  

“We haven’t made a final decision on the World Championships yet,” said Eddie Morgan of Harbor Docks. 

Related:April 2020 - Only Way takes the brown bag in cobia tournament in Destin

Next up will be the Destin Flathead Classic Cobia Tournament at Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House on April 16-18. A captain's party is set for 6 p.m. April 15. An awards party and crawfish boil will follow the tournament on April 19 from noon to 8 p.m.

Entry fees for the Flathead Classic is $500 overall; $250 for 26-foot and under; $100 for ladies; $100 for juniors; and $50 for pier.  

An angler aboard the Kitchen Pass with Capt. Travis Ream shows off a cobia he caught last spring.

The person who catches the biggest fish will take home $10,000. 

The Flathead Classic benefits the Austin Lacey Fund. 

For more information, call 850-461-4745. 

The Boathouse Oyster Bar on the harbor will host the Ding A Ling Cobia Tournament on April 23-25. It will have a first, second and third place fish, and a weekend aggregate winner. Plus, the biggest fish caught on a jig. 

More:Destin angler jumps into Gulf to get loose rod hooked with cobia

The tournament name, Ding A Ling, is after the cobia jig local cobia legend Frank Helton developed tagged a Ding A Ling. Frank has since died, but his son Mo Helton continues to make the lures and will be weighmaster for the Ding A Ling tournament. 

"The final fishing day and awards will be on Frank Helton’s birthday. Pretty cool gives me the feels,” said tournament director Amber Helton, Frank’s granddaughter.  

Karla Boyd shows off her 50.8-pound cobia she caught aboard the Makaria with Capt. Pat Meyers last spring.

The month-long Destin Cobia Tournament at HarborWalk Marina and the Outcast Tackle and Marine cobia tournament in Pensacola have been canceled. 

Check back for later for updates.