Spear fishermen off Brazil have pulled from the depths an enormous cobia that weighed nearly 30 pounds more than the existing spearfishing world record, and nearly 40 pounds heavier than the angling record.
The behemoth weighed 172 pounds on two separate scales, because the fishermen wanted to be sure, and because it seemed impossible that a cobia could weigh so much.
The International Underwater Spearfishing Association lists as the men’s world record a 145.9-pound cobia subdued by Valente Baena off Mexico in 2011.
For the sake of comparison, the International Game Fish Association lists a 135-poind 9-ounce cobia as the largest ever captured on rod and reel.
The freakishly large cobia captured off Marataizes, Brazil, was speared first by Cyrus Bravin, then by Marcelo Mello Lobato, and a third time by Bravin, according to a report in Florida’s Bradenton Herald.
If two people, in fact, shot the fish, it will not qualify as a world record. But that does not diminish the size of a species of fish known locally as bijupira, or “tasty fish.”
Lobato was interviewed by Capt. Jon Champan, who writes a fishing column for the Bradenton Herald. The two corresponded with the help of an online translating tool.
Bravin’s initial shot hit the mark but seemed to have no effect. “It continued to swim near the surface as if nothing had happened,” Lobato recalled. “I swam over to see if we could get another shot.”
Suddenly, however, the fish sounded and remained near the bottom for about 10 minutes. When it rose toward the surface, Lobato fired a harpoon, causing the cobia to sound again. It surfaced once more and Bravin, according to Lobato, fired the immobilizing blow.
Cobias, which are dark brown on their backs and silvery-white on their sides, inhabit tropical and sub-tropical waters both offshore and inshore, and tend to gather around structure. They’re highly prized for their fighting spirit, and the taste of their flesh.
The 172-pound cobia was hanging out with others near a submerged iron pipe, which fell from a cargo ship and sank to a depth of about 85 feet.
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