Men heading out to fish in Orange Beach, AL

Bowfishing: A New Way to Slay on Alabama’s Beaches

If you can’t choose between hunting a deer and reeling in a drum, bowfishing may be the sport for you. 

There’s a hot activity shaking up the nightlife scene on Alabama’s beaches - and there are no dancing skills required. We’re talking about bowfishing, an outdoor sport that turns a peaceful fishing trip into an adrenaline-filled adventure. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Bowfishing on Alabama's beaches

What is Bowfishing?

Is it hunting? Is it fishing? Is it archery?

Yes, yes, and yes! Bowfishing is a fishing method that uses specialized archery equipment that combines a hunting bow with a sturdy fishing reel. After stalking your prey in shallow waters, you shoot it with a barb-tipped arrow before hauling it in on your reel-mounted hunting bow. Combining the best elements of all three sports creates a fun and exciting alternative fishing option.

But the equipment isn’t the only unique feature of bowfishing. Because your target is only a few feet away, there’s no need for scopes or angling experience - just a steady hand and a thoughtful aim. It’s harder than it looks, as you need to account for water refraction when lining up your shot. For this reason, experienced bow fishers will often advise you to “aim low!”

Despite the challenge, bowfishing is a great activity for all ages - even small children. Unlike traditional fishing, you don’t need to be still or quiet, and most chartered trips include music, cheering, and friendly competition. The kids will also love getting to stay up late, as you’ll have the best luck at night when fish are more active. This gives it an even cooler vibe, as your flat-bottom boat’s bright LED lights will illuminate shy underwater creatures you can’t see during the day. 

Bowfishing with Fish-Kabob Bowfishing

Bowfishing in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

The Alabama Gulf Coast is teeming with bowfishing opportunities. Our local inlets, bays, lagoons, and waterways are perfect hunting grounds for stingrays, flounder, sheepshead, drum, and other species.

If you’re just getting into the sport, a guided charter is the way to go - they’ll supply the equipment you need and help you navigate the shallow waters around the area. Luckily, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have several great companies stocked with local experts who are more than willing to help you plan a bow-tiful trip.

Photo credit: Fish-Kabob Bowfishing

Bowfishing Businesses in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

  • The Hunting Company/Fish Kabob Bowfishing. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind bowfishing experience thanks to their custom-made bowfishing boat, The Destroyer. The area’s only air-driven charter boat, this specially designed rig allows up to six passengers to easily shoot off the deck at the same time. They offer a variety of charter packages to suit any group, from short in-shore journeys to overnight trips off-shore and more. 
  • Shallow Stalkers / Liquid Trails. Board a LED-laden boat and set out on a guided bowfishing adventure with Captain Zack Kettles. Bow in hand, your group will stalk the shallow waters on an exciting hunt for giant stingrays, flounder, sheepshead, and even sharks. Every trip includes easy-to-use equipment and instructions, making this experience great for all ages. Don’t want to shoot? No problem! You can also try tossing a shrimp net for underwater marine treasures. 
  • Night Shift Charter Service. Led by Captain Ron Stone, your group will follow the fish through Alabama and Florida waters, hunting the biggest Flounder, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, and Stingrays you can find. When you return to the dock, whatever you catch will be cleaned and bagged for you, then sent home with a spice mixture made by the iconic Wolf Bay Lodge's executive chef - also known as Captain Stone himself!
  • Intercoastal Safaris. The experts at Intercoastal Safaris run four-hour saltwater bowfishing trips up and down the Orange Beach coastline. Each boat contains a wide variety of equipment perfect for beginners, pros, and even kids. With guests shooting an average of 100-200 times per night, you’re sure to mark a monster! 

Now that you know the ropes, it’s time to start reeling in the fish - and some great family fun! If bowfishing isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want to drop a line, browse our other great fishing charters for a reel good time! 

START PLANNING YOUR GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH VACATION

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