John’s Note: Dustin Mizell of Foley, Alabama, owns Fish-Kabob Bowfishing and Charters www.fish-kabob.com, Mizell’s Mounts – a taxidermy business, South Coast Safaris – his local bowhunting guide service – and Puddin Proof Productions – a video company. He specializes in one of the fastest-growing and most-exciting outdoor sports – bowfishing – that combines hunting and fishing.
When we’re fishing near shore (usually within sight of the beach) we’ll be bowfishing for cobia, king mackerel and remoras during daylight hours. At night, we’ll bowfish close to the shore for sharks. If we’re shark hunting in the daytime, we’ll be away from the swimming beaches, but we’ve found the best bowfishing for sharks is at night. We also have the opportunity to take sting rays, whiting, mullet, bluefish and occasionally a flounder nearshore.
The inshore trip is probably our most-popular trip, because we’ll take a number of stingrays, mullet, pinfish, croakers, sheepshead, black drum, flounder, sometimes spadefish and other species of fish. We not only bowfish Alabama’s bays, lagoons and back-bay areas, but also fish the inshore waters in the peninsula of Florida, because Florida has pretty much the same type of back-bay regions that we have in Alabama.
The time of year and the weather and the water conditions determine the kind of fish we’ll take on our back-bay trips. The sheepshead usually come in to spawn in February and the first part of March, and they sweep out beds in the grass. If the water is clear, we can take quite a few sheepshead. If we find structure in 2-3 feet of water, we may locate a spot with as many as 20 sheepshead in it. Mullet is the most-common fish we see throughout the spring and summer.
In the early spring, the cownose rays come into the back bays of the Upper Gulf Coast. They also reappear in September, and we see them throughout the late spring and summer in the back bays. We take Atlantic stingrays and a few southern rays and roughtail rays, starting in the spring. As the weather warms-up, more and more rays will come into the back bays.
The winter months and the early spring are probably the most-productive times of the year to shoot black drum. During the spring, we never know what type fish we’ll shoot, since the weather and the water conditions dictate what fish we’re likely to find. For anglers wanting to shoot flounder, the best time of the year seems to be in the early spring when the weather’s still somewhat cool, during the months of March and April. In the summer, we’ll average seeing about two flounder per trip.
A few years ago, I started keeping a log on what type of fish we take throughout the year when we’re bowfishing. We rate the fishermen by how well they shoot, the numbers of opportunities they’ve had, and the types of fish they’ve taken. Then I can tell our customers what they reasonably can expect to shoot any time of the year they come to Alabama’s Gulf Coast to go bowfishing. Most of the trips we take inshore will be for stingrays, particularly since they’re such big targets. During the late spring and summer, they’re abundant too.
I also offer combination wild hog hunts during the daylight hours and bowfishing trips at night. Go to my webpage at www.fish-kabob.com; on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/fishkabob; by email [email protected]; or, by phone 251-504-4709.