02 March 2012
Ling Ding Time in Mexico Beach
About this time of year people are starting to talk about cobia or ling as some people call them. With all this warm weather this winter, the ling should be here soon. Spanish mackerel are already being caught around Panama City. The water is warming up. Cobia are on the way.
These powerful fish will begin their annual spring run up from south Florida in a migration that brings great fishing to the Florida Panhandle. They will come up the west coast of Florida and head up around toward Alabama and go over toward Texas. They often travel in groups of five or six with some much larger than others. The fishing is superb when these fish are moving in the Panhandle along the shoreline.
These fish get up to 150 pounds and can grow six feet long. They have a big flat head on a brown body that looks like a cross between a shark and a catfish. The meat is very tasty on the grill and what a challenge to catch one of these big powerful fish. It will often take more than an hour to land one of these strong fish, and you will need a sturdy rod and a heavy duty spinning reel. These fish are strong! You cannot horse these fish into the boat-they are too strong.
The way to catch these big fish is to look for structure out in the Gulf. Cobia like buoys, wrecks, artificial reefs, and like to hang around anything floating out in the Gulf. They will often come right up to the boat, so always have a rod rigged up and ready to throw. You will need to sight cast to catch most of these fish.
Fishermen can throw jigs, live eels, plastic eels, and live pin fish at these creatures in hopes of a hook up. The secret is to cast out in front of these fish and bring the bait back in front of the fish. Don’t try to hit them with the bait. That could scare them. Some guys anchor up close to shore and just wait for them to come by the boat.
The 98 Real Estate Group is once again sponsoring a LING DING TOURNAMENT the first three weekends in April that will feature about $6,000 in cash money and prizes. Zach Childs, owner and broker, said, “This year we will have the tournament the first three weekends in April including Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.” The last day of the tournament will be on Saturday, April 21. There will be a $1,000 prize each week for the biggest cobia weighed and then another $1,500 for the biggest cobia weighed in the overall tournament. A special cash award of $l,000 will go to the biggest Spanish mackerel caught in the tournament. There will be several parties at local restaurants and bars for the anglers and lots of prizes and t-shirts for everyone. Registration is at the Mexico Beach Marina and Half Hitch Tackle in Port St. Joe. These sites will also serve as the weigh stations for the tournament. We all want to thank 98 Real Estate Group for putting on this fabulous tournament.
You can contact the Tournament Director, John Wiley at 850 227 8218 or you can go to www.98realestategroup.com/lingding to get all the details on the tournament. It is a great tournament with proceeds going to build more new artificial reefs out in the Gulf of Mexico for all to use. Come out and support a great cause and have a great time.
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