Cobia World Championships kick off this weekend

Special to The Log

The 30th annual Cobia World Championships at Harbor Docks Restaurant will kick off this weekend in Destin.

The Cobia World Championships has expanded to now feature four different weigh-in locations across the Gulf Coast including Orange Beach, Pensacola, Destin and Panama City.

Earlier this week, anglers were already out looking for cobia.

Capt. Chris Wagner and Andy Block of the Full Pull went Wednesday and Thursday and saw nothing and were headed back out Friday morning.

"We've got a good east wind today, and the water is getting about right," said Wagner, noting the temperature is moving up in the 60s.

"We've got a good opportunity to get one. Something is fixing to happen. It's too pretty of a day not to get one. We're crossing our fingers."

The 2014 Cobia World Championships kicked off Friday with the annual Captain’s Meeting and Kickoff Party on the downstairs deck at Harbor Docks Restaurant.

The first official day of fishing will begin March 22 and the tournament will end on May 4.

Fishermen can compete in several categories including the Overall World Championships, Ladies World Championships, Donut Hole Junior World Championships, the S.U.P. World Championship division, Most Fish Caught 50 Pounds and Over, and a division for smaller vessels — 28’ and Under World Championships.

Harbor Docks Restaurant will also host the Frank Helton Crab Cruncher Classic presented by Back Forty Beer Company. The weekend tournament will take place at Harbor Docks from April 10-13, 2014, with top cobia fishing teams converging on the Destin harbor to compete for a total in excess of $150,000. Each night of this tournament will feature a different event beginning on Thursday night with a BBQ dinner on the dock hosted by Back Forty Beer Company. Friday night there will be a Low Country Boil hosted by Trey Nick of Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, while Saturday will feature a fajita buffet by local Mexican favorite, La Paz Restaurante & Cantina. The tournament will come to an end Sunday with a Prime Rib and Cobia Fish Fry Dinner and awards ceremony at Harbor Docks.

Harbor Docks will also host the BOTE Stand-Up Paddle Board World Championships, kicking off April 10. Added as a new division to the tournament in 2013, the tournament challenges fishermen to catch the largest cobia on a paddleboard. The winner will be announced on May 4 at the close of the Cobia World Championships and will be awarded a new BOTE HD paddleboard.

The Cobia World Championships and Crab Cruncher Classic serve as Harbor Docks Charities’ main fundraisers for their 20th Annual Take-A-Kid Fishing Day, held Sunday, Nov. 2. In 2013, the tournaments combined to pay out more than $220,000 in cash and prizes and raised more than $20,000 for the 19th Annual Take-A-Kid Fishing Day.