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The story begins in Marataizes, Brazil. It’s here where spear fisherman Marcelo Mello Lobato lives. We were able to contact Lobato, who tries to dive once or twice a month, usually on weekends or holidays when the sea conditions allow aboard a 21-foot boat with a newly acquired 2013 150 Yamaha 4Stroke.
On the boat’s second journey to sea, Lobato was with Cyrus Bravin and Gabriel Santana. Their destination was 50-miles away, to what Lobato describes as a large iron pipe which fell from a cargo ship to the depth of 26-meters, about 85-feet deep. The spot is known for producing large Cobia, known as “bijupira”, which means “tasty fish” to the locals.
The day started well, as the crew secured a large 54-pound cobia. Thirty-minutes after taking this fish, Bravin entered the water once again to see many smaller cobia still around.
Cobia, as curious as they can be, began to migrate toward Bravin. It was then that the large fish appeared. Bravin held about 30 feet below the surface until he got a shot, striking the beast.
The spear that was now stuck in his back did not phase the great bijupira. “It continued to swim near the surface as if nothing had happened,” describes Lobato. “I swam over to see if we could get another shot.”
Then the fish became aware that something was wrong. He swam with all his might to the bottom, where the anglers thought the fish would become entangled in the pipe. After 10-minutes the cobia began to slowly rise from the bottom. When it was about 15-feet from the surface, Lobato hit the cobia once again. The fish bolted a second time for the bottom, but weary and tired, it came to the surface.
Bravin lined up a third shot as the fish rose, this time immobilizing the great bijupira. The 30-minutes of back and forth between anglers and the great cobia came to an end. The anglers secured the enormous fish in the boat, only then relaxing and posing for a few pictures.
When they arrived home the fish was weighed on two separate scales at a fish company to confirm the weight. The final result was 78 kilograms, or 172-pounds! The previous record is 145.9 pounds, taken on February 2nd, 2011 by Valente Baena off the coast of Mexico.
Previously, the crew had seen huge cobia but the largest one they captured was 72-pounds. Other divers had captured cobia over 100-pounds before. Two weeks after the capture of the great cobia, Lobato speared one at 45-kilos, or 99 pounds.
Believe it or not, Lobato says there were bigger fish next to that one but he couldn’t get in a shooting position to take one larger than the 99-pounder.