Catching for Science
Our cobia fishery is in a state of turmoil. There are many questions as to how to manage the fishery, the health of the cobia stock, just what is the cobia stock (one big group, two big groups, or multiple cobia stocks?), how many fish can be caught while maintaining a heathy stock, and the accuracy of estimates of how many cobia anglers are actually catching.
To help find answers to some of these questions, the "Flounder Bowl" has become the "Cobia Bowl" to raise funds for cobia research at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (www.vims.edu ). In addition to being a fund raiser, the entire tournament is designed to provide cobia information. All boats and anglers will be registered providing angler hours/days. Each cobia checked in will be measured and weighed. Genetic samples will be collected, internal examinations conducted. The fish will be cleaned to provide to a local food bank and the carcasses will be further examined as part of VMRC's Marine Sportfish Collection Project. To collect data on released cobia, Costa Sunglasses (www.costadelmar.com ) is sponsoring a release division.
The Cobia Bowl will be held out of Dare Marina and Yacht Sales (www.daremarina.com). The captains meeting will be June 22. Fishing days will be June 23 and 24. Teams can register to fish one or both days. Boats will be allowed to fish from any port but all fish will be brought to Dare Marina for weigh-in. For convenience of anglers fishing from distant ports, there will be satellite check-in stations set up for the first day of fishing, where anglers can bring their fish. The fish will be transported to Dare Marina for them to be weighed. On the second fish day, all competitors will have to come to the weigh-in at Dare Marina. The satellite stations will be locations on the Eastern Shore, Virginia Beach and the Northern Neck.
This is a team tournament with an entry fee of $200 per boat early entry per fishing day. Teams with professional crew (charter boat captains, commercial hook and line anglers) will fish on a sponsored boat or have an entry fee of $400 per boat early entry per fishing day. Winners will be determined by the weight of the team's top fish. Cash prizes will be paid through six places.
To give everyone a chance to win, teams not placing in the top six will be entered in a "Lucky Dog" drawing. The team drawn will win an additional cash prize.
There will be a prize for the heaviest cobia caught by a child and a prize for the heaviest cobia caught by a woman in the tournament. There will also be a prize for the heaviest cobia weighed in by a member of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association.
Teams will be given the option of entering three levels of daily calcuttas for additional cash winnings.
There is a special Sponsors' Challenge Division where teams entered by the tournament sponsors will compete with each other for the special Sponsors' cash prize.
You can find the Cobia Bowl on Facebook and visit www.pswsfa.com and www.cobiabowl.com .
Entry fees are going back to the anglers. The success of this event is entirely dependent on sponsor support. We have always enjoyed tremendous support for Virginia's anglers.
Generous sponsor support allowed the Flounder Bowl to support various worthy causes. Flounder Bowl proceeds were used to make donations to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, various fish conservation organizations, Children's Fishing Clinic, Wickel Food Pantry, Youth Challenge Inc., Wish A Fish, and to local families in need.
This year, sponsors will be aiding in much needed fisheries research and supporting Virginia's recreational angling community.
If you are interested in becoming a Cobia Bowl Sponsor, contact Captain Jorj Head: (757) 262-9004 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can register as a sponsor and enter the tournament at www.cobiabowl.com . Sponsorship levels are: Silver at $250, Gold at $600, and Platinum at $1,500.
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