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Rhode Island Angler’s Rare Cobia Catch Could Be a State Record

An offshore angler made a rare catch earlier this summer that could be a new state record.

Sport fishermen rarely catch cobia off the coast of Rhode Island, so when angler Matthew McCabe pulled a record cobia earlier this summer, people noticed.

According to the Providence Journal, McCabe’s cobia was a 36.2-pounder that measured 48.5-inches, with a girth of 23.5-inches. The fish is bigger than the current state record cobia, a 35-pound, 48-inch fish caught back in 1995.

McCabe and his brother-in-law caught the record cobia while fishing for fluke and black sea bass near the coast of Newport, a regional hub for sport fishing. The two angler’s had intended to fish further out to sea, but engine trouble kept them closer to the coast. That misfortune turned out to be a stroke of good luck.

“It was 11 o’clock and we were bottom fishing with pieces of squid between Brenton Reef and the second red can, off Castle Hill Light. The water was not moving very fast, the drift was not right. So, I put my 17-foot boat in gear to do a little power drifting. We went about 20 feet and, bam: That was it. The rod bent in half. As it came to the boat the first time, I thought it was a shark. Then it jumped out of the water and Todd said, ‘That’s no shark; it’s a cobia!’” McCabe said.

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Historically, northeast anglers rarely catch cobia, but that’s beginning to change. Each spring and fall, cobia migrate up and down the Atlantic. As the region’s bays and coastal waters are warming up, cobia are migrating closer to the coast, and in turn, closer to the reach of most offshore anglers.

Ask anyone who’s fought with a Cobia and they’ll you they are are challenging fish to catch. Once hooked, cobia become dogged fighters.

“If Todd wasn’t with me, we would have lost this fish,” McCabe said. “When we pulled it out of net, the 20-pound fluorocarbon hi/low rig was broken, so if he didn’t net the fish we would have lost it for sure. The fish nearly spooled me twice on two separate runs. We finally netted it the third time we brought it to the boat. It kept diving deep, as deep as it could, moving all around under the boat. I was afraid it was going to get cut off on the engine.”

Featured image via Providence Journal

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Rhode Island Angler’s Rare Cobia Catch Could Be a State Record