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

Tina Harbuck

With cobia showing up along the Emerald Coast in good number, local fishermen were back at it again this week, with 28 boats entered in the “Rona Brown Bag 2.0” fishing tournament.

Last week, Capt. Travis Ream of the Kitchen Pass organized a “brown bag” cobia tournament.

He explained the one-day tournament was basically like they used to do, where friends would get together and throw their cash in a brown bag and who ever caught the biggest fish got to take the bag.

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“Well word got out and we had a lot of interest,” Ream said.

So they decided to go another round. This Tuesday, instead of just 15 boats they had 28. Plus they had two payouts, one for the biggest fish and then the other for the biggest aggregate, which was the weight of two fish.

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Usually Destin has at least four cobia tournaments, some which last at least a month, but all were canceled due to the COVID-19.

“Everybody was excited to do it,” said Ream, noting everybody was just itching to get on the water.

The brown bag tourmament was just a one-day deal with fish being weighed in at Destin Fishing Fleet Marina with Jonelle Bell of Destin Charter Service weighing and recording the weights. The rules were simple -- no fishing FADs, fish had to be a 40-pound minimum and “no cheating,” Ream said.

When it was all said and done, Jim Luttrell fishing aboard the Blanchita with Capt. Bob Atwell hauled in a 72.2 pound cobia for big fish honors.

The boat with the winning aggregate, or big two, was the Instigator with Capt. Jason Parkhurst and crew. They weighed in two cobia, a 47.2-pounder and a 66.4-pounder for a total of 113.6 pounds. The 66.4 pound cobia was also the second largest in the event.

The boat which came in second in the aggregate was Capt. B.J Teems aboard the Miss Paula V with a 53.5-pounder and a 55.9-pound cobia. Teems’ son Luke caught both fish for a total of 109.4 pounds.

However, only first place paid out. Both the Blanchita and Instigator each took home $5,400.

“We had quite at few caught yesterday,” Ream said.

Bell recorded a little more than 20 fish and there were some fishermen that didn’t weigh in their catch when they realized what they had to beat.

However, there was one crew that came in aboard the Hard Money with Capt. Jimbo Bishop of Santa Rosa Beach that could have won it all, if they had entered in the tournament. Bell did a courtesy weigh on their two fish. One tilted the scales at 62.6 pounds and the other 75 for a combined weight of 137.6. They would have won both categories.

Bishop who was shaking his head said if they had entered they probably wouldn’t have seen a fish.