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Wednesday April 16th 2014

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Where are the Cobia?

This is a fish story, but not the bragging kind.

Twenty-five boats competed last week in the 2012 Outcast Cobia Invitational. After three days of fishing, the total catch was anything but exaggerated.

“Not many,” reported James Fink, Outcasts’ hunting manager. “I think it was, like, eight.”

Fink said that seeing such a low number of fish being offered up for weighing was not normal. In an average year, the tournament sees about 35 to 40 Cobia hit the scales.

“No, not normal at all,” Fink said of this year’s catch. “But neither was our winter.”

Normally, Cobia spawn in waters off Mississippi and Louisiana before migrating toward Florida. This year, Fink hypothesized, it didn’t ever get cold enough to trigger the migration.

“I think a lot of ’em didn’t leave, personally,” he said.

The Outcast Invitational is not the first Cobia tournament of the season along the Gulf Coast. Fink said that the season’s earlier tournaments had seen better results, but that the number of Cobia seemed to be “dwindling.” In a normal year, he said, Cobia stick around a bit longer.

“First week or so of May usually they push out, keep on truckin’,” Fink said.

The winning fish of the Outcast Cobia Invitational weighed in this year at 69.03 lbs.