It has been months since I've had a chance to do much fishing so I intentionally scheduled four trips this month. This morning my brother-in-law David Stallings and I went out of the Beaufort Inlet with Capt. George Beckwith of Down East Guide Service in search of Cobia.
It has been about seven years since I last had the opportunity to fish with George. Seven years ago he helped my son Josh (who is now in the Marines) catch his first Cobia. Today was my turn!
Capt. George Beckwith is not only an exceptional guide but a great guy who works hard to put you on fish. Today he had to work real hard! When we came out of the inlet there were some ominous clouds offshore headed our way and the wind was blowing pretty stiff. We worked our way down the beach with Capt. George up in the tower and David and I below, looking for signs of life in the water. We worked our way beyond the area of the beach where the storm was headed and within a few minutes it had blown by. We ended up with a beautiful day to fish although the 4-5's hit 6-7' stage at some points (it appeared to me anyway) and made for an interesting ride when I joined Capt. George up in the tower. (I didn't stay up there but about 30 minutes).
We had been looking for a Cobia for about 3 hours when Capt. George decided to throw a couple of lines out the back to try to snag a Spanish for dinner. Sure enough we had two in the boat within a matter of minutes. We spent about five hours working up and down the beach and around the inlet buoys looking for a Cobia hookup. We saw several turtles and a large school of porpoises but no Cobia. It was beginning to look like a day of trolling with little meat to show for it.
We were making our final run along the beach with David in the tower with Capt. George scouring the water on the port and starboard. I was below searching the port side back towards the beach when suddenly I saw two brown shadowy figures in the middle of a wave. I yelled up to George who wheeled us around and fired off a cast in front of them. No takers. He tried a couple more casts with the same result, then they both went under. We kept looking and then George spotted them again. While I was handing up a rod/reel to David, George fired off another cast that was picture perfect, landing just behind and in front of the larger fish. He jigged the bucktail rig and BAM! The fight was on. George graciously offered the rod down to me to fight the fish. The Cobia was a female and she put up a good fight although not a long one. She made one run after coming to the boat and after working her back to the surface we held her off the port side of the boat for a minute hoping the male would take the lures David and George were tossing his way. But he wasn't interested. One in the boat is better than two in the water, so George executed a perfect gaff and we had a 47lb. Cobia in the cooler to go with the Spanish.
This was only my second time landing a Cobia and this one was by far the largest I've caught. I was fortunate to see those fish in the wave and thank God for that little gift. It was a great trip today, and especially enjoyable catching up with Capt. George and being with my brother-in-law. Thanks George for your preserverance to get a Cobia in the boat. David and I had some Cobia on the grill tonight and it was the best fish I've eaten in a long time.