DESTIN — Cobia fishing’s premier tournament, the Cobia World Championships, is adding a new twist for 2013.
The tournament, which has taken place at Destin’s Harbor Docks Restaurant for over 20 years, has partnered with Bote Boards, to introduce a Stand-Up Paddle Board Division.
The angler who lands the largest cobia on a paddle board during the tournament will be awarded a new BOTE Board donated by the Destin store.
“Fishing on S.U.P.s is rapidly increasing in our area, and across the nation,” said Eddie Morgan, tournament director. “Since cobia migrate just off the beach in our waters, they are a perfect species to target on a paddle board.
"Catching a large one on a board will be quite the challenge, but people are catching sailfish on them, so why not cobia?”
The Cobia World Championships is also announcing a partnership with Pensacola’s Outcast Bait & Tackle, thus allowing boats fishing the tournament to weigh their catch at the Pensacola tackle shop.
Traditionally, boats have been required to weigh their catch at the official weigh station at Harbor Docks, essentially making the tournament exclusive to Destin boats.
“Most of the best cobia fishermen in the world fish are out of either Destin or Pensacola,” Morgan said. “Adding a scale at Outcast allows more of those fishermen to compete against each other for the right to be the World Champion.”
The 2013 Cobia World Championships will kick off on at 6 p.m. March 22 at Harbor Docks Restaurant, the first day of fishing will follow on March 23 and the tournament will end May 5.
A representative for the Cobia World Championships will be in Pensacola at Outcast’s tournament kickoff party on March 21 to register boats wishing to fish the tournament.
Along with the new S.U.P. World Championship division, boats may also compete for the Overall World Championships, Ladies World Championships, Donut Hole Junior World Championships, Most fish Caught 50 Pounds and Over, and a division for smaller vessels, the 28’ and Under World Championships.
Harbor Docks Restaurant will also serve host to the Crab Cruncher Classic cobia tournament.
The weekend tournament will take place at Harbor Docks from April 11 through April 14 with top cobia fishing teams converging on the Destin Harbor to compete for a total purse well over $200,000.
The Cobia World Championships and Crab Cruncher Classic serve as Harbor Docks Charities’ main fundraisers for their 19th Annual Take-A-Kid Fishing Day, held Sunday, Nov. 3.
In 2012, the tournaments combined to pay out over $155,000 in cash and prizes and raised over $15,000 for the 18th Annual Take-A-Kid Fishing Day.
“Our goal is to treat 500 underprivileged children to a memorable day of fishing aboard some of Destin’s finest charter boats. People don’t realize that many local children have never even seen the gulf,” Morgan said. “We just want to take them fishing.”
Formerly known as Rally for Recreation (founded in 1986), Harbor Docks Charities hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year including the Cobia World Championships and Crab Cruncher Classic fishing tournament as well as the Caddyshack Classic Golf Tournament and Harbor Docks Charity Auction.