Long Island’s Unofficial Race for a 100-Pound Cobia

In four consecutive days, Scotty's Marina in Point Lookout, NY weighed four cobia between 45 and 87 pounds.

UPDATED 7/25/22: Three More cobia were weighed at Scotty’s Marina in Point Lookout this weekend, among several others caught island-wide.

Scotty’s Marina and Fishing Station has always been one of my favorite spots on Long Island. Conveniently situated along Reynold’s Channel in the quaint beach town of Point Lookout, it’s a quick one-stop-shop at the water’s edge. I’ve started and ended my days there many times; they began with 6 a.m. bait grabs before fluking inside Jones Inlet, and ended at Buoy Bar to refuel with a well-deserved, apres-fishing beer. There was always a reason to swing by Scotty’s, and recently, anglers have been stopping in with their hands full. Coolers of cobia are coming in at an alarming rate, and each fish has been bigger than the last.

It seems like each summer, more, and larger cobia are finding their way north with the massive bunker pods that linger off of Long Island. These subtropical pelagic predators typically feed on crabs, squid and smaller fish, but as relatives of the remora, they are frequently found scavenging alongside sharks. Each year, several cobia are landed by anglers fishing from boats and the surf on Long Island’s south shore, and they often come as an accidental bycatch; but rarely are specimens of this size caught at this rate, and in such close proximity to each other.

Last Thursday, July 14th, Captain Tony and his crew aboard the F/V Berth Control started an unofficial race for the biggest cobia this summer. After fishing around bunker schools out front of Jones Inlet, the F/V Berth Control pulled into Scotty’s weigh station with a 45-pound cobia.

The Berth Control crew displays the first of many large cobia to be caught and weighed at Scotty’s this weekend. (Instagram: @scottysmarina1929)

They are apparently in thick, because it took only a day for that 45-pound cobia to be topped. On Friday, July 15th the “Anchor n’ Spanker” crew hoisted a hefty 54-pound cobia at Scotty’s Marina, which officially began the unofficial race for a giant cobia.

This cobia weighed almost 10 whole pounds more than the fish weighed less than one day prior. (Instagram: @scottysmarina1929)

Then, on Saturday the 16th, Pat Crowley and his mate Andrew Distler of the F/V Cherry Grove went out for redemption. To my surprise, Pat told me he and Andrew had already been intentionally searching for cobia. The duo had hooked and lost two cobia already two weeks prior, so Crowley knew where to find them. Although they hoped for a 30-pound fish, Pat and Andrew brought in a 62-pounder on a live bunker, which topped the fish Scotty’s Marina weighed on Friday and created a rush for near-shore bunker pods among those who have the means to reach them.

(Above) Pat Crowley smiles over a 62-pound cobia he caught with his mate, Andrew, over the weekend.
Scotty’s Marina shared this picture of Andrew Distler (left) and Pat Crowley (right) proudly weighing their trophy at the dock. (Instagram: @scottysmarina1929)

Finally, to close out the weekend festivities, Captain Charlie McNulty and his crew tipped scales and dropped jaws at Scotty’s Marina with an 87-pound cobia on Sunday the 17th.

Pictured are Captain Charlie and the crew that landed the 87-pounder, shared by Scotty’s Marina. (Instagram: @scottysmarina1929)

As of now, almost all reports of cobia are coming from Long Island’s west end, but there’s plenty of life around bunker schools to the east as well. Last week, On The Water’s L.I. Field Editor, Tim Regan (@southforksalt) captured footage of what he believes to be a large cobia following a school of cownose rays near the Hamptons.

UPDATE: 7/25/2022

Three more cobia were weighed at Scotty’s Marina this weekend— weighing 30, 55 and 45-pounds, respectively— and many more were caught across Long Island. Although none of them topped the 87-pounder from last week, the fish certainly don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Are there triple-digit cobia roaming the bunker pods off of Long Island this summer? We haven’t found out yet— but I spoke to my friend Bill Falco, co-owner of Chasing Tails Bait & Tackle in Oakdale, and he believes a 100 pounder is not out of the question. Bill sent me this picture (shown below), taken back in 2017, of Captain Steve Dunn holding a 95-pound cobia that he caught on a live bunker, and weighed at Chasing Tails.

Steve Dunn with a 95-pound cobia he caught in August of 2017. (Instagram: @chasingtailsbait)

With Long Island’s summer bunker populations, it seems that the presence of large cobia has become increasingly common each year. At this rate, it would not be surprising for someone to pull a near 6-foot, 100-pound cobia from Long Island’s resident bunker fields. Who’s it going to be?

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