John's Journal...

Exciting Saltwater Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell

Day 3: Near Shore and Inshore Bowfishing with Dustin Mizell for Game Fish, Sharks, Sting Rays 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.

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.

Inshore Bowfishing:

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; 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: Bowfishing for Mississippi Reds and Taking Brackish Water and Freshwater Trips with Dustin Mizell

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 3