Gulf State Park Pier’s Cobia Tournament

AlabamOrange Beach fishinga’s Gulf Coast offers many fishing opportunities in March. The first-ever Gulf State Park Pier cobia tournament in Gulf Shores, Alabama, will start this month. To learn the details, we talked with Pete Aguon of Robertsdale, Alabama, who’s fondly called the mayor of the pier. According to Aguon, for the fishermen who don’t want to get on a boat, Alabama’s Gulf Coast has some tremendous pier fishing and bank fishing: “Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier will be the site of a cobia tournament, beginning March 15th and continuing through April 30th. As of this writing, more than $18,000 worth of prizes will be awarded to participants. You can register for the tournament and read the rules at www.emeraldcoastpierfishing.com. I’ll be posting a thread on that forum on March 1 titled “1st Annual GSPP Cobia Tournament” that will contain details on the rules and prizes of the tournament. The proceeds from the tournament will be donated to a family who lost its father severOrange Beach fishingal months ago. There will be a Men’s Division, a Women’s Division and a Youth Division. Adults will pay a $10 entry fee each, but anglers 16-years old and under can register for the Youth Division for free. Prizes include custom rods, fishing trips and gift cards from Bass Pro Shops and J&M Tackle.

“Contestants must comply with all pier rules, which include only one rod per angler. They also must have an Alabama saltwater fishing license and must abide by the rules and regulations associated with pier fishing. We expect numbers of Florida fishermen to come over for this tournament, and these fishermen will need non-resident fishing licenses. All the cobia registered have to be at least 33-inches long, and any cobia caught will be photographed, weighed and verified by two other anglers who belong to www.emeraldcoastpierfishing.com. Once the fish is caught, weighed and photographed, the picture of the fish, the location on the pier where the fish has been caught, and the person’s name who has caught the fish as well as how it’s been caught will be posted on the site. A fisherman can win a prize in this tournament by 12-different ways. The angler who catches the first legal cobia on the Gulf State Park Pier in each division will receive a $100 gift card.”

The cobia usually make their run down Alabama’s beaches in March, April and May, depending on how fast the Gulf of Mexico warms-up. These fish like water temperatures 68-72 degrees. The cobia will be landed the same way king mackerel are landed with either a gaff or a net, and many of these fish will weigh 20-40 pounds. According to John Giannini, one of the owners of J&M Tackle, the biggest fish he ever caught pier fishing was a cobia. He spotted the cobia at about 4:00 am when it swam in under one of the pier lights. He dropped a bait in front of the cobia, the cobia took the bait, and Giannini caught it.

You can fish for cobia all day and all night if you want at the Gulf State Park Pier. The cobia tournament is being sponsored by Pete Aguon, Bass Pro Shops, John Giannini and J&M Tackle and Mo Fishin Bait & Tackle in Orange Beach.

First place in the Men’s Division receives a custom-made cobia-fishing rod donated by Obie Hill and a $300 gift card. Second place will get a $200 gift card, and third place will receive a free trip for the opening day of red snapper season from Reel Surprise Charters.

First place in the Women’s Division will receive a custom-made rod donated by Jeb Brantley of Montgomery, Alabama, and a $300 gift card. Second place gets a $200 gift card, and the third place winner will fish for free fishing on the opening day of red snapper season with Reel Surprise charters.

First place in the Youth Division (16-years-old and less) will be awarded a Toshiba 10-inch notebook computer. Second place receives a brand-new 32-gig Apple iPod with a $75 iTunes gift card. Third place gets a free fishing trip for the opening day of red snapper season from Reel Surprise charters.

Bank Fishing in March:

Ben Sherrill wOrange Beach Fishingill be offering guided bank fishing trips during Spring Break. For $25 per person, Sherrill will take fishermen to places on the banks, on the beaches and/or at Fort Morgan and the Intercoastal Canal, where they can fish and catch a wide variety of fish. Sherrill will help you pick-out your tackle and show you where to cast and tell you the types of fish you can catch from that location. To learn more about these bank fishing trips, contact Ben Sherrill at 251-752-4038.

Besides cobia, you’ll also catch sheepshead, pompano, whiting, ground mullet and Spanish mackerel, and if the water warms-up, an occasional king mackerel and redfish off the pier this month, depending on the water clarity. When bank fishing, you’ll catch speckled trout, redfish and flounder from the banks and beaches in March.

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