John's Journal...

Exciting Saltwater Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell

Day 2: Dustin Mizell on Bowfishing Offshore Salt Water and Taking Game Fish, Sharks and Remoras

Editor’s Note: Dustin Mizell of Foley, Alabama, owns Fish-Kabob Bowfishing and Charters, Mizell’s Mounts - a taxidermy business, Psycho Safaris – his local bowhunting guide service - and Puddin Productions - a video company. He specializes in one of the fastest-growing and most-exciting outdoor sports – bowfishing - that combines hunting and fishing.
Click for Larger ViewTo be honest, having the opportunity to take fish on an offshore trip is often a hit-or-miss game. Sometimes, we’ll have a lot of opportunities to shoot fish. At other times, we only may have a few chances. So, our offshore trips are usually a combination of rod-and-reel fishing and bowfishing, once we see fish close to the surface that we can take. We charge by the distance we have to travel to have an opportunity to take the kind of fish our customers want to take.
Click for Larger ViewWe use completely-different gear on the offshore trips as we do on the inshore trips. We shoot heavier poundage bows and use heavier line than when fishing inshore. As long as we’re shooting fish that weigh 10 pounds or less, conventional bowfishing tackle that you use in fresh water is sufficient. However, generally, when we’re bowfishing offshore, we’ll be catching big fish. For this reason, we use break-away arrows. The line from the break-away arrows is usually tied to a leader line that’s attached to a rod and reel. With this system, we can shoot any-size fish and then bring the fish to the boat with the rod and reel. We rig with 600-pound-test braided line on the break-away arrow. If we’re not going to use a rod and reel, we’ll use a poly ball (polyurethane) float that is attached to the line. This way, we can follow the poly ball until the fish tires. Then, we can pull the fish into the boat. Using this system, we can shoot some really-big fish and land them. We’ll use braided line for other fish from 200-pound test all the way up to 600-pound test. We try to match the line to the size and the type of fish we’re trying to shoot.
Click for Larger ViewOur primary targets offshore are remoras, because they’ll be holding on any type of bottom structure or structure that comes near or sticks out above the surface of the water. They're usually the first fish to show-up when we’re seriously bowfishing. Most of the time, we chum for fish holding on wrecks, reefs, oil and gas platforms or some other kind of structure. Sometimes, big spadefish with their very-wide bodies will show-up right on the surface and present fairly-easy targets. We see a lot of spadefish around the rigs. On the Sargassum grass mats, we usually can find dolphin and tripletails, also both wide-sided and good targets for the bowfishermen. If we go out to deep water, we’ll often have the opportunity to shoot barracudas, sharks, king mackerel and cobia. If we’re on a snapper spot, and snapper season is in, when we start chumming in the early part of snapper season, the red snapper will come up close to the surface, and bowfishermen can pick out the one they want to shoot. 
Click for Larger ViewMost of the time, the further we go offshore, the fewer opportunities our bowfishermen will have to take fish. That’s why we offer a combo hook-and-line fishing trip and a bowfishing trip. If we’re not seeing any fish to shoot with our bows and arrows, our parties can let their lines down and catch fish on hooks and lines. If we catch a really-big fish like a shark and can’t get it in the boat, then while it’s on the line, we allow our customers to shoot it with their bows and arrows to help subdue the fish and get it to the boat.

I also offer combination wild hog hunts during the daylight hours and bowfishing trips at night. Go to my webpage at; on Facebook,; by email; or, by phone 251-504-4709. 

To get John’s book, “The Bowfishing Bible,” go to To learn more about hunting and fishing from John E. Phillips’ print and eBooks, go to and

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Near Shore and Inshore Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell for Game Fish, Sharks, Sting Rays and Remoras

Check back each day this week for more about Exciting Saltwater Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell

Day 1: Bowfisherman Dustin Mizell Dreams of Working in the Outdoors
Day 2: Dustin Mizell on Bowfishing Offshore Salt Water and Taking Game Fish, Sharks and Remoras
Day 3: Near Shore and Inshore Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell for Game Fish, Sharks, Sting Rays and Remoras
Day 4: Bowfishing for Mississippi Reds and Taking Brackish Water and Freshwater Trips with Dustin Mizell
Day 5: Various Bowfishing Trips on Alabama’s Gulf Coast with Dustin Mizell

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Entry 873, Day 2