Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament also helps USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Eighteen boats participated in the 37th annual Gorenflo’s Cobia Tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Biloxi.
“You just can’t find this anywhere. The fellowship is great and I love to get out there and do what we’re passionate about -- which is going fishing,” said Steve Legg, Captain of Soulfisher.
Legg hooked first place in the tournament, beating out seventeen other boats who gave him a run for the money.
“I’ve been doing this tournament for 20-something years now. I was stationed in Key West, Florida, and I traveled up here to come fish this tournament. It’s pretty important. I love doing it,” he said.
State law limits boats to two cobia per day. With thousands of dollars on the line, that leaves little room for error when reeling in the catch.
Despite that, the camaraderie between participants is strong.
“You come out here, you’re very competitive. But each of these boats out here, they’re like, let me know if you need something, brother,” said Legg. “Or if you’re broke down, you’ve always got a helping hand out on the water.”
Jordy and Daniel Pitalo started the tournament in 1986 when the two friends bought Gorenflo’s Tackle Shop in Biloxi. Daniel Pitalo still oversees the event.
“They can weigh two fish Saturday and two fish Sunday. Then, what we do is take the top three fish out of the four and that’s how we corrugate the six places,” said Pitalo. “All the fish is being caught closer this year. Sea buoys, Gulfport ship channel, Pascagoula ship channel.”
Beyond giving fishermen another excuse to hit the water, the tournament also helps the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Facility. Participants tag cobia that are too small to reel in. The tags track the fish and send data back to the lab. Two researchers are also at the weigh-in to collect DNA from the cobia.
“They they’ve been doing is clipping the fins, taking a sample, and then they take it back to the research lab to study it,” Pitalo said. “It’s a partnership we’ve had for 37 years now.”
Click here to subscribe to WLOX News on YouTube: Keep up with South Mississippi news, sports, and local events on our YouTube channel!
Copyright 2023 WLOX. All rights reserved.