Fishing Saltwater Fishing

Alabama Charter Captain Arrows Pending World-Record Stingray

The southern stingray weighed roughly 153 pounds, and should easily top the current world record for the species
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pending world-record southern stingray
Captain Dusty Mizell with the pending world-record southern stingray. Dusty Mizell

Captain Dusty Mizell shot an absolute monster of a stingray off the southern coast of Alabama last Friday night. The roughly 153-pound southern stingray is a pending world record, and once Mizell submits the appropriate paperwork to the Bowfishing Association of America, it should easily replace the current world-record for the species, which was shot by Matthew McCrary in 2014.  

The veteran bowfisherman and charter captain is based near Gulf Shores, Alabama, where he owns and operates Fish-Kabob BowFishing and occasionally ventures into Louisiana and Florida. Mizell, who calls himself the “number-one bowfishing guide on the coast,” has built his reputation chasing rays, flounder, alligator gar, and other species in both fresh- and saltwater 200-plus days a year.

Mizell is also one of the only captains in coastal Alabama that runs a fan boat. This allows him to run extra shallow and put his clients on trophy rays, which he says are one of the most sought-after targets on Gulf Coast.

“I do have grudge matches with certain trophy rays that have eluded me,” says Mizell, who currently holds the BAA world-record for roughtail stingray—a species that is similar to the southern ray but runs slightly smaller.

southern ray pending world record 2
Capt. Mizell hoists up the trophy stingray, which weighed roughly 153 pounds. Dusty Mizell

Arrowing a Giant at 1 a.m.

“My first trip [on June 24] was with one of those families that couldn’t shoot very well,” Mizell says. “But we shot a 6-and-a-half-foot alligator gar in the salt, which is hard to do. So I knew it was going to be an epic night. The tide and moon—everything was right.”

Going back out on his second charter, Mizell says he headed straight for an area that usually holds some rays. And sometime around one in the morning, they came across a giant scooting across the shallows. Mizell, knowing exactly what they were looking at, told his clients that it might be best for him to take the initial shot and have them hit the ray with a follow-up arrow or two.

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“They gave me the opportunity,” he says, “and I’m glad they did. Because when I fought it close to the boat and asked for a backup shot, he missed it three times right there.”

Mizell already had a well-placed arrow in the ray, so he was able to tire out the fish on his own and land it. After wrapping up the trip in the wee hours of the morning, he took it to a proper scale, where he recorded a video of the stingray being weighed and measured—which he says is a requirement for the BAA. Now all he has to do is submit the application and he’ll have another world-record stingray under his belt.

“There are a few more different types of rays that I don’t have the world-record for yet. But it probably won’t take me that long,” Mizell says. “Once I know that I’m trying to break records, I keep at it. And I’ve gotten pretty good at doing it.”