Papi captures the Triple Crown

Tina Harbuck
This is the 65.8-pound cobia that put the Papi over the top for the Emerald Coast Cobia Triple Crown. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Out of 40 boats in the hunt, the Papi with Capt. Kevin Moak at the helm took first place in the Emerald Coast Cobia Triple Crown with a total of 669 points.

Points were calculated by their entries of cobia in the four sanctioned tournaments, the Outcast Invitational held at Boshamps, the Crab Cruncher at Harbor Docks, AJ’s Spring Fling and Boshamps Flathead Classic.

Coming in second with 610 points was the Lucky Dog with Capt. Cody Gray.

The crew aboard the Full Pull, Capt. Chris Wagner and Capt. Andy Block came in third with 529 points and Capt. Charles Morgan and the crew aboard the Hey Baby, last year’s winner, placed fourth with 417 points. The SurReel came in fifth with 366 points.

Papi moved to the head of the pack after the weekend of AJ’s Spring Fling when they landed a 65.8-pounder.

“We caught six during the tournament … in the most horrid weather,” said Moak, talking about the AJ’s event.

Moak said they were fighting 6- to 8-foot seas in 30 knot winds.

“We found a triple and caught two,” he said on Friday. Both weighed 51.8 pounds.

On Saturday, they saw two more cobia, caught one and let one go.

Then on Sunday, “I didn’t think we’d see one,” Moak said.

But then they happened upon a single.

“The last one we saw was the one that won it,” he said. “Cobia fishing has really been bad this year … and nobody has the answer.”

This year he has caught a total of 10 and has seen about 13.

Last year they caught 34 aboard the Papi, including 18 in two days.

“They have been on a decline since the oil spill,” he said, referring to the BP oil spill of 2010.

“But I don’t think that’s the complete demise,” he added, noting there is more pressure on the cobia today. “But we’ll keep doing it because we love to do it.”

And because they love it, they finished at the top of the pack for the Crown.

They took third in the Outcast with a 48.4-pounder, first in the AJ’s Spring Fling with the 65.8-pounder and third in the Flathead Classic with a 56.3-pounder for the big points.

The Lucky Dog took first in the Outcast with 146.4-pounds of cobia and first in the Flathead Classic with 121.4-pounds of fish.

Both the Outcast and Flathead Classic were aggregate weight tournaments.

The Full Pull placed third for the Crown with a second place finish in the Outcast with 68.2-pounds of fish and second in the AJ’s Spring Fling with 61.2-pound catch.