As some of you may know, spring is a special time in the Low Country. Bait starts to come back inshore as the temperatures warm and the bigger fish and seasonal fish follow. One of the cool phenomenons that occur here in Beaufort, SC is we have cobia come inshore to spawn. This gives us the opportunity to sight fish for cobia inshore with a fly rod. It can be difficult, but when I comes together, it is incredibly fun!
This spring I fished the 3rd annual Cobia Fly Invitational with my good friend, Capt. Kyle Morella. Conditions this year were slightly more favorable than last year. This year we had intermittent sun and a mix of wind from slicked out conditions to taking a few waves over the bow.
This is a two day tournament, and by the end of the two days, Capt. Morella and I had put in just over 25 hours on the water scanning for Cobia. The first day of the tournament we went 11 hours before we even saw our first Cobia (like I said, it can be tough). The first good shot we got, the fish unfortunately turned a weird direction and cut the leader on its gill plate. By the end of the day we had a Cobia to the boat and were looking forward to better conditions on day 2.
Day 2 was again a mix of being in and out of sun and clouds. Luckily the wind was not as bad as day 1. Saturday happened to be Capt. Morella's birthday, so he got the bow to cash in on his birthday luck. Saturday we had a pretty good plan as to where we wanted to be and when we wanted to be there. Luckily it paid off. Be it good planning or birthday luck, it did not take nearly as long to see our first Cobia of the day which came up pushing towards the boat and we didn't get a great shot. We saw an opening in the clouds and made the run to where we wanted to be and it paid off. Capt. Morella stuck a beautiful 36" Cobia to get our two fish on the board. Later that day, he also managed to land a 33" Cobia to replace my 27" fish from the first day.
Saturday evening was the awards ceremony at the new event space at the Port Royal Sound Foundation (which is pretty incredible). This tournament is put on to benefit the wonderful Port Royal Sound Foundation which does a ton of education, research, and conservation for our estuary. Going in to the awards ceremony, Capt. Morella and I knew we had worked hard and done our best during the tournament, so regardless of final results, we were happy with how we did. We knew there was a couple other people that had seen and/or caught fish, but we weren't sure how big or how many. The conditions were pretty good and we had seen a lot of fish, so we were certain there were other people competing for a top 3 spot. After fishing hard for two long days Capt. Morella and I managed to claim second place for the second year in a row with a combined 69" for our top two fish. Our good friends Capt. Rob Alexander and Junior Delatorre had an epic two days and claimed first place with a combined 76".
Thank you to Capt. Tuck Scott and Capt. John Hawthorne for hosting this event. It's always a good time with good people for a good cause! Congrats to all participants out there this year. Thank you to Port Royal Sound for all you do here in Beaufort! Also, thank you to all the sponsors of this event. It would not be the same with out y'all too.
Until next year's tournament,
Capt. Jon Gore - Indigo Fishing Charters