Long story short: Emma Zajdel used her girl power.
The full story: Emma was fishing with her dad and two friends — Robert and Ashston Clark — near Little Gull Shoals on June 30, hoping to catch some bluefish. The blues were breaking about a mile and a half east of Assateague Island so they threw in a couple lines.
One of the lines they were trolling went tight. Emma was already secured with a fighting belt so Robert Clark handed her the line. As soon as she had the rod in place, the fish took off.
“At first, we thought it was a shark, and the line was going out.” Emma said. “I could hear the reel and the drag and I thought I could go over the side.”
Her dad, Ed, was piloting. “I kept the boat in gear and followed the fish at a 45-degree angle to keep the line tight and Emma settled,” he said
Emma kept the fish on the line for about 20 minutes before she was able to reel it in. Dad and Robert lifted it on board and found a nearly 95 pound fish.
It wasn’t a blue. It was a giant cobia. And it went “ballistic.”
“Emma and Ashton scurried to the front of the boat while Robert and I wrestled the fish into the fish box and iced it down,” said dad.
They kept the fish iced overnight and took it to a certified scale the next morning. Maryland fisheries biologist Steve Doctor confirmed it was a cobia, weighing 94.6 pounds and 66.5 inches long.
Emma is only 52 inches high.
Her catch broke the state record set by a 79 pound cobia in 2014.
Fishing season for cobia is closed but Emma caught the fish in Maryland waters and was able to keep it, and eat it.
“It tasted very good,” Emma told the Maryland DNR.