FISH FLASH: More cobia tournaments on tap for April

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After most cobia fishing tournaments were canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are getting back on board with their annual events. 

AJ’s Spring Fling is back on the calendar for the elusive cobia that makes its migration along the Emerald Coast in the spring. 

AJ’s tournament, set for April 2-3, has $10,000 guaranteed cash awards. 

Entry fee is $400 for early registration until March 29, then the fee is $500. Anglers can register in person at any of the four AJ’s locations or by email at fishiing@ajs-destin.com, or in person at the registration party April 1. 

As a bonus for this year’s Spring Fling, all boats registered will be entered into a drawing for a free entry into the 2021 Destin Fishing Rodeo in October. The drawing will be April 1 after all registrations have been received. 

Tournament weigh-ins will be held on the docks behind AJ’s, with scales open April 2-3 from 4-8 p.m. 

Also back on board is the Cobia World Championships at Harbor Docks, set to kick off April 1 and go through May 2. The entry fee is $250, with a kickoff party at 6 p.m. March 31. Weigh-ins will be from 4-8 p.m. only on the weekends at Harbor Docks and tag and release during the week. 

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

As for the Frank Helton Crab Cruncher, also held out of Harbor Docks, it’s scheduled for April 8-11, with an entry fee of $750. Kickoff for this event is at 6 p.m. on April 8.

However, according to Eddie Morgan of Harbor Docks, “It’s all subject to change … but this is the plan for now."

Robert and Bobby Lyerly show off a pair of cobia they caught during the spring of 2020.

Next on the calendar 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 fishing.   

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.  

Luke Teems weighed in a pair of cobia in the Rona Brown Bag 2.0 tournament in the spring of 2020. Young Teems, fishing with his dad Capt. B.J. Teems on the Miss Paula V, weighed in a 53.5-pounder and a 55.9-pounder.

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

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

Ding A Ling is named after a jig that local cobia legend Frank Helton developed and 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 tournament.  

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