About Bud N' Mary's

Bud N' Mary's Fishing Marina is located in Islamorada, Florida, The Sportfishing Capital of The World!  It was established in 1944, and over the years has been one of the most famous sportfishing destinations in the world!  It is home to over 40 of the finest offshore captains and backcountry guides.  We also have a spectacular party fishing boat, the Miss Islamorada.  There is also a great dive shop, boat rentals, motel, boat storage, transient dockage, and tackle store.  We will be posting fishing related events, catches, media publications, and overall news concerning Bud N' Mary's here, so keep tuned in!  You can contact Bud N' Mary's at 1-800-742-7945 or e-mail us:


How to catch Cobia in the Florida Keys

Fishing for cobia in the florida keys is a fun endeavor and often takes a bit of luck and timing with conditions.  We will be mainly focusing on cobia fishing in the gulf of mexico.  These fish usually are around in the gulf in the early spring time as well as in the fall/winter, when water temperatures are a little cooler.  They are most often found on wrecks, pilings, or holes out in the gulf waters on the edge and out west of everglades national park.  Now finding these wrecks and holes is tricky and most guides won't give numbers that hold these fish away easily! These fish can grow very large in size, some having been caught in excess of 100 lbs, though most the ones we catch in the 'backcountry' are in the 5-20 lb range.  Occasionally there are some 40-50 lbers back there though.  Water quality is one thing to look for, you don't want nasty, muddy water which can be found during periods of high winds or fronts.  Also in general the falling tide is best for most fishing in the gulf, however catching cobia in islamorada is often done on the change of the tides.  These fish will often surface and/or feed during the change, so timing can be key to hitting 'cobia spots.'  So how does one fish for cobia?  Well when fishing for cobia in islamorada, specifically in the gulf of mexico, pinfish are about the best bait there is.  I usually fish a medium/heavy rod with 20 lb braid and 40 lb leader.  A 1 oz sinker and a 4/0 J hook is usually about right.  Simply hook the pinfish through the lips and let him sit out on the bottom.  You can fish two or three baits like this, sometimes it's also good to either float one on the surface, or even just free line him.  Having lively 'humming' baits is key, as well as the right size pinfish (you usually dont want giant ones, but the medium size ones). Islamorada cobia fishing can turn on all at once, so be ready especially on that tide change for all rods to go off at once.  Also if you do hook one, have another bait at the ready as often more fish will come up with the one that is hooked.  Cobia are a good eating fish though have to be fairly large to keep, at this time 33 inches to the fork of the tail, so if you gaff them make sure they are going to be 'legal size.'  One other way of catching cobia in the florida keys is off the backs of large bottom dwelling creatures such as stingrays, sharks, or sawfish.  If you hook any of these creatures in the gulf, look behind them when they surface and again be ready to cast a bait if cobia are following them.  On the offshore side in the winter most cobia are caught by sighting sting rays.  The big schools of cobias will follow them and often live grunts are cast in the path of the ray, rigged with a heavy lead of 6-8 oz and heavier leader 80 lb with a big 8/0 J hook.  Light tackle fishing the smaller cobias in the gulf can be much more of a battle on an islamorada cobia charter.  It's also good sport to practice catch and release with these fish.  Best of luck in your efforts on learning how to catch cobia in Islamorada!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing