Ding-A-Ling Cobia Tournament has big Day 1
The second annual Ding-A-Ling Cobia Tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar and Marina got off to a great start on Monday with two big fish getting on the board.
Before most folks had even had breakfast, Capt. Tyler Brielmayer and his guys on the Nothin Matters were already hooked up with a big one, a 77.2-pound cobia.
Brielmayer said they were fishing about 15 miles west of Destin when he spotted from his tower a huge manta ray with about four cobia hanging around.
At that point his deckhand Jesse Vonderosten went into action and tossed out an eel. Vonderosten said the eel swam down and when the cobia got a hold of it, “the line got yanked off my finger … it was a freakin’ slob.”
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After he got it hooked, he handed the rod down to Stephen O’Brien who was on the deck.
"It ran for about another 15 minutes. He was headed straight south …he stayed down deep. It was epic,” O’Brien said.
They had the cobia onboard by 7:30 a.m. and decided to look for more.
Brielmayer said they hooked up with another one, about 50-pounds-plus, but lost it.
The second largest cobia to hit the scales on Monday was the 56.8-pounder caught by B.J. Teems on the Hound Dog with Capt. Taylor Waterfield.
Waterfield said they too were fishing down west of Destin. Waterfield said they saw three, but the one they hauled in was the largest.
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Using an eel for bait, Teems hooked the cobia and had it in the boat by 1:30 p.m. Teems said the cobia put up a good fight.
“He was fighting for his life and I was fighting for dinner,” Teems said.
After they got the fish in the boat, they fished some more and found two more cobias, but they were both about 25-pounders, Teems said, noting they let them swim on by.
Nothin Matters weighed in not long after the scales opened at 4 p.m. at the Boathouse Marina. Hound Dog backed in at the marina a little after 6 p.m. The scales were open until 8 p.m.
“I was pumped to get to weigh three fish on day one. That was already half of what was weighed total last year,” said Amber Helton, weighmaster and event planner for the Boathouse.
“The first fish weighed and caught on the Nothin Matters was larger than the big ling last year … so we already have a record heavy fish for the Ding-A-Ling,” Helton said.
The third fish she weighed came in on the Always Tight, but it wasn’t big enough to make the board. The minimum weight is 45 pounds, excluding if they catch it on a jig. If they catch the cobia on a jig, it has to be the minimum size for their vessel, 33 inches for state and 36 inches for federal boats. The winner in that division will win a rod made by Johnny King and Nick Shores.
The Ding-A-Ling tournament runs through April 17 with the scales open 4-8 p.m. daily except on Sunday, when the scales are open 4-7 p.m. with an awards party following.