Last place to get fuel ‘till Mobile AL
This up-bound tow delayed the early-risers this morning, as did the southbound one shown in the previous post.
Reportedly this was a “no-brainer” stop for ALL Loopers until the restaurant went out of business.
Maybe it still is! Rafting up is still common, as this spot is very close to Coffeeville Lock… the lock that’ll bring you down to sea level! How cool is that?!?!
Below is more on the history of this stop from one who knows!
Thank You Ed!
FYI, as the local to the area (Kingfisher Bay Marina in Demopolis has been our homeport for the past 8 years, no other AGLCA members are long term regulars there)… with many, many trips up and down the river to the Gulf Coast, including upbound in March 2020 at the beginning of the Pandemic… I can state emphatically, that Bobby’s Fish Camp had served it’s last meal in January 2020, long before the word Pandemic or Covid was on anyone’s mind in the USA. Covid had NOTHING to do with her closing the restaurant.
We stopped there in March 2020 (a rushed trip North to get back to home port as we were being refused transient services along the coast), and had a long dockside conversation with Laura Jean (the daughter of the late namesake Bobby), who described to us the struggles that she had with trying to make any money at the restaurant business. Her words, not mine… we had plenty of customers, just couldn’t make any money, so I decided to shut down the restaurant for good… I’ve tried everything. We asked if there was any chance it would reopen, and she said no, I’m done with it. The conversation didn’t touch on the pandemic at all.
We just shook our heads… as the one thing she didn’t try was to simply raise the prices to reflect a reasonable profit. Now… if that would have killed the business and driven off customers… so be it… but she never even tried to see what would happen. I can tell you the vast majority of boaters who stop there wouldn’t have blinked or noticed a couple dollars extra for the catfish dinner (it was underpriced… even for the local West Alabama area, she was cheaper than same meal at any restaurant in Demopolis).
BTW… if you like a fried catfish dinner… it was excellent. We always made it a point to be through on nights she would be open, and always ate in. We even drove in to the place once by Jeep (pretty crappy road down there) to eat there.
Very few of the original “fish camps” remain… Ezell’s in Lavaca (also on the banks of the river… you may or may not have noticed it… just before you crossed under the Alabama state highway 10 bridge near Butler Alabama… about halfway between Demopolis and Coffeeville) is one of the few, and is probably the best one left operating. Unfortunately, they have no docks, and there are none nearby. An intrepid boater could anchor in the lee of the bridge pilings (safely protected from where tows go), drop a dingy and pull into the shoreline and climb up the bank nearby and walk to the restaurant.
Ed Offshack, ITSOK2, 1999 Sealine F44, Homeport: Demopolis, AL