The Cobia Bowl is a tournament designed to help increase our knowledge of cobia and Virginia’s cobia fishery. The event was held by the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association and hosted by Dare Marina and Yacht Sales.
The tournament began on June 22 with a captains meeting and concluded June 24 with a party and awards presentations. In between, there was a lot of cobia fishing during some blustery conditions. Small-craft advisories were posted for much of the tournament fishing time.
In spite of the conditions, 125 boats fishing one day each managed to catch some very impressive fish. A total of 31 cobia were weighed in over the two fishing days. There were 95 released cobia registered. The tournament had a cash payout of $43,800.
Each cobia that was brought in was examined by scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Genetic samples were collected, the fish were examined to see how close to spawning they were and stomach contents were analyzed. Some of the stomach contents included crabs, a lot of mantis shrimp and even some striped burrfish. Many of the fish were very close to spawning. The fish were cleaned. Some was eaten at the tournament party while the rest went to a local food bank. The fish carcasses were donated to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s Sportfish Collection Project for further study.
The top fish in the tournament was an impressive 82.6 pound cobia caught on the “Black Jack” captained by Ashley Davis and crewed by William Robins and Quinton Chapel. Their first place fish earned them $7,500.
Rounding out the top six is “Knot Guilty” captained by Justin Stevens in 2nd place with 74.1 pound cobia winning $3,500. “Mojo”, captained by Bryan Nester, came in 3rd with a 57 pound fish worth $2,000. In 4th place was “Knot Enough”, captained by Jarrett Quail, with a 56.3 pound cobia for $1,500. “Net Profits”, sponsored by Prism Painting of Williamsburg and captained by Joe Perger, Jr., came in 5th with a 54.9 pound cobia earning $1,000. The boat captained by Bobby Bennett weighed in a 52.3 pound cobia for 6th place and $500.
Prism Painting of Williamsburg won the Sponsor Challenge for a $2,000 prize.
Costa Sunglasses sponsored a daily release award and provided sunglasses for youth and lady award winners.
“Knot Enough” released 4 cobia on Day 1 to win a pair of Costa sunglasses. “Mojo” released 11 cobia on Day 2 to win a pair of Costa sunglasses.
The Youth Award winner was Ayden Sowers, fishing on the “Knot Enough”, with a 56.3 pound cobia. He received $250 and a pair of Costa sunglasses. The Ladies Award winner was Lauren Robertson, fishing on the “Knot Guilty”, with a 31.8 pound cobia. She also received a pair of Costa Sunglasses and $250.
The member of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association who weighed in the heaviest cobia was Whit Holden. His 40.2 pound cobia was good for $500.
There were optional Calcuttas of multiple levels each day that teams could enter. Calcutta winners include “Knot Guilty” with their 74.1 pound cobia for $7,620. “Net Profits”, sponsored by Prism Painting of Williamsburg, won $5,980 with a 54.9 pound cobia. “Alphabet Soup”, sponsored by Anthony Martin Dentistry, won $3,280 with their 52.2 pound cobia. “Miss Savannah”, sponsored by Thomas E Wilson Insurance Agency, won $3,080 with a 40.2 pound fish. “Mojo” won $2,040 with their 57 pound cobia. The boat captained by Aubrey Williams, sponsored by Aubrey’s Landscaping and Tree Service, won $1,800 with a 51.1 pound fish.
Capt. Aubrey Williams was faced with a tough decision when he was coming in. He encountered a young lady who had suffered a head injury during a personal watercraft accident. He took her on board and hooked a tow line to her PWC knowing that by helping her would likely make him late and disqualify him from the tournament. He chose to be the Good Samaritan anyway. The paramedics were waiting at the dock when they arrived. He made it in just in time to make it to the polygraph exams. The Marine Police was waiting to interview him when he came out. Good job Captain Aubrey.
Some very nice prizes were donated by the tournament sponsors. These were won via raffle. A beautiful cobia canvas was donated by Dr. Guy Harvey. This was the last prize drawn for. The winner who walked away with it was U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman.