Outdoors

Gorenflo’s one-day Cobia shootout opens Coast fishing season

Jim Franks of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab weighs a cobia at a previous Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament at Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi.
Jim Franks of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab weighs a cobia at a previous Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament at Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

The Coast fishing season starts next weekend.

The 31st annual Gorenflo’s Cobia One-Day Shootout will be Saturday at the Gorenflo’s Tackle and Marina Store in Biloxi.

The fee to fish in the one-day tournament is $200 per boat. Fishing will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

A mandatory captains’ meeting for the shootout is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the tackle shop. The weigh-in will be Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the tackle shop, with first- and second-place prizes awarded for the two-fish total weight.

Gorenflo tournament director Danny Pitalo predicts more than 60 boats will compete and several competitive fish will get weighed in. He foresees strong fishing in South Mississippi.

“I expect to get a lot of boats,” he said. “The most we ever had was 74 boats at our 20th anniversary. If the weather’s all right, we’ll get a lot more than 60 boats.”

Anglers from the area, Florida Panhandle and Louisiana are expected to compete in the Coast’s season-openeing saltwater tournament.

The main Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament, also in its 31st year, will be May 5-7 at the tackle shop.

Cobia is a popular fish on the Coast, a big reason for the success of the Gorenflo’s tournaments, which began in 1986.

“Horn, Ship and Chandeleur islands will all come into play,” Pitalo said. “Cobia is a good sportfish. You don’t need a big boat to catch cobia.”

The tournaments are timed to coincide with the spring cobia migrationt. Cobia begin to track north from the Florida Keys through the Panhandle and across the Mississippi coastline. They stop in the waters off the mouth of the Mississippi River to spawn.

During the fall cobia migration between late October and early November, some of fish will track back to the Florida Keys for that area’s warmer water temperatures in winter.

Breakwater Captain Jamie Denman won last year’s Cobia Shootout with a total weight of 83.35 pounds. Unreal Captain Carl Miller was second at 52.55.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

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