Capt. Robert Earl McDaniel warned we were in for a long day on the Gulf of Mexico, doing what we were planning to do, which was chum for giant spawning cobia on shallow sand bars in early May.
“I hope you understand that in this type of fishing, there’s a whole lot of sitting and waiting, interrupted by brief periods of intense excitement,” the skipper of the Whipasnapa charter boat said.
A few hours later, sitting about a mile off the west tip of Horn Island, we found out exactly what Capt. Earl meant. Our near-comatose state, brought on by the relentless, rhythmic rocking of the 25-foot boat on the 4- to 5-foot waves, ended with the first click from one of the six reels in use. It clicked a second time and eventually a third, before the clicking came so fast you couldn’t differentiate whether it was the fifth or 1,000th.
Over the next two hours, we had constant action. It wasn’t always from our desired species, but also from sharks — big, backbreaking ones if we were able to successfully hooked up — and giant jack crevalle.
We had at least nine or 10 shark strikes, and all but two chewed through the line. We caught several jacks, too, before we caught a 55-pound cobia.
“That’s the great thing about the Gulf of Mexico,” Capt. Earl said. “You put a line in the water, and you never know what’s going to bite, but if you sit long enough, something surely will.”
Chumming only intensifies that theory. When you introduce enough enticing stink in the water, have it spread by current, sooner or later a