Cobia have moved in big time. And “big” is the appropriate term!
Two state cobia records were surpassed over the past couple of days. What are the odds?
Len Andalis was returning from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish & Wildlife office in Port Republic on Monday afternoon when the local scribe called.
“It’s official,” he said.
What is all but official is recognition of the 90.6-pound cobia he caught Friday and had weighed at the Canyon Club in Cape May by Paul Hoffman.
The previous record catch, as listed on the Fish & Wildlife website, was an 87-pounder caught in 1999.
Andalis was out on his boat Franchescia Rose with fishing bud Mike Young. At first, they went summer flounder fishing at McCrie Shoal.
They moved away, and Andalis dropped a 6-ounce Spro jig, and the cobia struck as “soon as it hit the water.”
An hour and a half later, he got it to the boat, where they missed it twice with the gaff before getting it on board.
Andalis said the cobia ran 100 yards and dove down but kept coming up on top during the fight.
He said it was the first cobia he ever caught.
Joe Cunningham was spearfishing with wife Kelly and sons Brynn, 8, and Keira, 6, on board their boat Relentless on Sunday 3 miles off Sea Isle City, where they live.
Cunningham said Monday the measurements on his tentative state spearfish record cobia were 74.5 pounds and 56 inches long. The listed record is a 60- pounder caught in 2015.
Both fishers said they need just one more piece of paperwork to be certified as state records.
And just to show that other cobia have moved into South Jersey waters is a report from Stan Swan, of Ventnor. He was out with son Stan Jr., Zac Tomlinson and Natasha Chen on his boat Punctual Plumber 4 miles off Atlantic City and picked off a 21-pounder amid a school of bunker.
There is surely a lot of other stuff going on.
We still have big summer flounder in the back bays. Ray Scott’s Dock in Margate weighed a 7-pound doormat with minnow as bait for Bill Pison, of Galloway Township.
Robin Scott said crabbing has been great and the “Jersey blues”’are cruising.
Triggerfish, tautog, kingfish, ling, striped bass, white perch and weakfish have been joined by spot and just recently croaker to keep the back bay, inlet and surf fishers happy.
Noel Feliciano said from One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City that tog and triggerfish are biting on shrimp, clam and crab, while spot and croaker are taking bloodworm, small pieces of shrimp and Fish-Bites artificials.
Mahi, bonito, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and bluefish are inshore for the trollers, and black sea bass are around the wrecks and reefs.
It is almost “you can’t miss” right now.
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Michael Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in print and Mondays and Fridays online.