Young angler, big fish

Sweet fish aboard Sweet Caroline

Tina Harbuck
Luke Bilger, 12, hauled in this 74.7 pound cobia to take first place on the leader board in the Junior Division of the Cobia World Championships at Harbor Docks. He was fishing aboard the Sweet Caroline with his dad, Capt. Danny Bilger. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Go west young man.

And that’s exactly what the crew aboard the Sweet Caroline did on Friday. They went fishing west of Destin near the Navarre pier and the youngest angler aboard caught the biggest fish of the day.

Twelve-year-old Luke Bilger hauled in a 74.7-pound cobia to get on the leader board in the Cobia World Championships at Harbor Docks Friday evening.

Pulling into the docks at Harbor Docks just before 6 p.m., the crew loaded the slob into the wheelbarrow and brought it to the scales.

“My back hurts,” said young Luke, who was fishing with his dad Capt. Danny Bilger on the Sweet Caroline.

“It wore my arm out,” said Luke, who only weighs about 20 more pounds than his fish. “It took about 40 minutes to an hour to get it in. He ran for a while and stayed on top, and then he went down … it felt like he went down to the bottom."

He finally got the fish to the boat.

Luke’s cobia was the third for the crew aboard the Sweet Caroline on Friday.

“We saw three and caught three,” said the captain, noting they threw back a small one and kept the other two.

Just before the Sweet Caroline pulled up at Harbor Docks, the Palustris came in with a big cobia.

Mickayla Burke weighed in a 72.1-pounder to take the top spot on the leader board in the Ladies Division.

“I almost gave up on it,” Burke said. “But I didn’t and it was worth it.”

Over the weekend a couple of other big fish were weighed in that made it onto the board in the World Championships.

The Palustris came in with another big fish on Saturday for second place in the Ladies Division with a 70.9-pounder caught by Leslie Nalty.

And Andrew Johnson moved into the third place overall slot with an 85.4-pounder pulled in on the Surreel.

For a more complete list of leaders in the cobia tournaments around town, check out the Cobia Update listed on this page.