Living the fishing dream in Orange Beach

Ride with Capt. Mike Rowell as he lives his dream of piloting a charter boat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Mike Rowell of the Annie Girl
Capt. Mike Rowell of the Annie Girl

While you’re out there with him, catch a boatload of memories on the Annie Girl.

“I was an electrician for 12 years,” Rowell said. “I’ve fished ever since I can remember and I always wanted to do this.”

He put down his electrician’s tools and became a full-time charter fishing captain 28 years ago. Passengers have ranged from 98 years young to just a few weeks old. And a baby was almost born onboard.

 “I’d taken a man and his wife,” Rowell said. “She was pregnant, he was a doctor and she looked like she was going to have the baby any minute. He said he hoped she did. It was an overnight trip. He wanted to deliver the baby offshore.”

A birth on the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico didn’t happen. But for Rowell, kids have always been a big part of the Annie Girl fishing experience. Sports tourism on the Alabama Gulf Coast has helped attract even more youngsters and has been a boon for the fishing industry, Rowell says.

Capt. Mike Rowell of the Annie Girl

“We get a lot of kids now,” he said. “Now Orange Beach holds these softball, baseball and other tournaments, so we get lots of kids. That’s been a big shot in the arm for our business.”

His year typically starts with yellowfin tuna overnight trips followed quickly by the annual cobia run and then into the popular red snapper season.

As his dream job enters his 28th season, Rowell still loves watching other people enjoy dream fishing trips on his boat.

“I like sharing what I know about fishing with other people, especially when it’s their first time,” he said.

Rowell and his fellow charter boat captains may take families out to catch fish, but they also land memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime.


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