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Bobby’s Fish Camp at Bladon Springs, AL

Bobby’s Fish Camp is located at the old Bladon Springs landing on the Tombigbee River in the southeastern part of Choctaw County. Bobby’s Fish Camp has been in operation for over half a century and is one of the oldest restaurants in southwest Alabama. Bobby E. Dahlberg built and opened the restaurant in 1956 to serve river traffic. He also built rental cabins on the river in the early 1960′s. The customers of Bobby’s Fish Camp were primarily local folks. In 1985, the Tenn-Tom Waterway opened which resulted in a significant increase with yacht traffic on the Tombigbee River. The yacht marinas at Demopolis, AL and Mobile, AL were nearly 240 miles apart and many yachts could not travel this far without refueling. At the request of the Demopolis Yacht Basin, Bobby Dahlberg installed a fueling station on the river at his Fish Camp which was about midway between the Demopolis and Mobile marinas. Bobby’s Fish Camp became the smallest marina of the Tenn-Tom Marina Association. In the years since the opening of the Tenn-Tom, yachts from all over the world have visited Bobby’s with some making it a routine stop. Bobby’s Fish Camp is listed as one of the stops on the Great Loop cruising route.

Bobby’s Fish Camp has the reputation for serving some of the best fried catfish in southwest Alabama.  Additionally, visiting Bobby’s is like traveling back in time. The inside of the restaurant is like a museum. It contains all types of collectables and artifacts. On the walls are pictures of old steamboats and places that no longer exist. There is a counter that has dozens of three-ring binders, each one stuffed with all types of pictures and old newspaper clippings. There are stories about life on the river and the history of Choctaw County including Bobby’s Fish Camp, Bladon Springs when it was a tourist resort, the Sims War, etc. There is the full story about the stern-wheeler riverboat, James T. Staples (or Big Jim) – the suicide, the ghost and the explosion. Many of the first-time visitors from the yachts come into the restaurant already knowing what they are looking for because of what they have read on the internet or what they have been told by fellow sailors.

Bobby Dahlberg operated Bobby’s Fish Camp from 1956 until his death in February 2010. It is now operated by his daughter, Lora Jane Dahlberg Mcllwain. The Fish Camp is open seven days a week for river traffic (boat fueling and docking, boat launches, ice, soft drinks, etc.) and to rent cabins and RV sites. The restaurant is open three nights each week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

For additional information about Bobby’s, just type Bobby’s Fish Camp into Google and read comments that have been posted on sailors’ ship logs.

Directions: Approximately 4 miles west of the Coffeeville, AL river bridge, there is a yellow Bobby’s Fish Camp sign located on the north side of Highway 84. Turn at this sign onto the gravel road. The restaurant is located approximately 0.7 mile down this road. GPS coordinates of the restaurant are N31.763220,W88.158138.

Source:  Lora Jane Dahlberg McIIwain (Bobby’s Fish Camp Owner)

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