Grant Derouen was hoping to make a mangrove snapper haul out of Cameron last Friday morning, but rough conditions put an end to that plan.
So his group decided to target cobia when they noticed several swimming near the surface around a platform in the West Cameron blocks about 30 miles from the Cameron jetties.
Turns out it was a good move for Derouen, who ended up hooking a massive ling that, if certified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, would become the new No. 3-ranked cobia in the state record books.
“We saw a couple of them on top, and we all tied on curly tails and started fishing for them,” he said. “We just started throwing to the bottom and jigging our way up. I saw him bite right next to the boat, so he followed it up.”
The battle with the fish, which ultimately measured 67 inches and tipped official scales at 108.8 pounds, took almost an hour in about 60 feet of water. He caught the cobia with a pink curly tail on a 3-ounce jighead, using 80- to 100-pound braid with an 80-pound fluorocarbon leader.
“We tried to back up slowly, but I couldn’t stop him,” said Derouen, 28, of Lake Charles. “It’s a good thing he didn’t swim toward the rig. He kind of swam off to the side of a leg and went out in the main Gulf, so we just backed up and followed him.
“He came up a fourth time, and that was when we finally got him. But we had to come back in after we caught that one because it wouldn’t fit in the ice chest.”
The anglers, who were fishing on Adam Moore’s 24-foot Haynie, had no clue the big cobia was a potential Top 3 fish Friday afternoon.
“We had no idea,” said Derouen, who’s planning on getting a replica mount made. “We actually weighed it when we got home on an unofficial scale and it said 112…
“But the next day, I went and got it weighed on a certified scale at Hollier’s Cajun Kitchen in Sulphur, and it was 108.8. I don’t know if it lost a couple of pounds overnight. We had tried to find somewhere to weigh it Friday night, but it was 8:30 by the time we got back to the house.”
LOWA, which maintains the state’s official fishing records, lists Garnett “Lucky” Caudell as the cobia record holder, with a 149.75-pound fish taken in Grand Isle Block 69 in May of 1965.
Derouen’s fish would rank No. 3, right behind Jason Reed’s 112-pounder caught in 1994, and would be the first fish to crack into the cobia Top 10 since 2000.