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 Sharks in Islamorada

Islamorada shark fishing is one of the staples of our guide industry.  Barring extreme cold, you can always usually find sharks to fish for in the Florida Keys backcountry no matter the conditions.  We catch a variety of sharks depending where you fish, and you also have a shot at a tarpon, goliath groupers, and even rare sawfish in certain areas.  They provide great action on heavier tackle for all ages.  Many of them jump and put on a show, fighting often as hard as a big tarpon!  your best bet for catching sharks in Islamorada is going to be getting fresh bait.  Almost anything will work, though some species work better than others.  My favorite is usually mackerel or barracuda, sharks can smell those baits from a long way away and always seem to find them.  Ladyfish is also a good bet and are usually plentiful in the backcountry most of the time in certain areas.  Your basic rig is going to be fairly simple.  I like to fish spinning reels with heavy braid, usually 80 lb or so on a BG 90 with a heavy rod.  I put a long stretch of 60 lb mono wind-on leader on the end, about 30 feet or so, with a couple of 1 oz sinkers going to a swivel.  You may need more weight depending on current and such, though typically you want just enough to hold you on the bottom.  From there I use a piece of #9 wire, about 3 feet, to an 8/0 Owner J hook.  Circle hooks will work while florida keys shark fishing but often larger blacktips and such will open them up when they go nuts.  I usually cut the bait in half, unless it is pretty small then maybe just trim the tail off.  If you can keep the baits alive the wiggling/bleeding may help produce more bites as well.  Just cast out and lay your bait on the bottom.  I usually fish two rods at once.  If you have a plentiful amount of bait, cutting up chunks and chumming with it can help, or better yet dumping a cooler full of carcasses can really get the sharks going!  Another tactic is to butterfly a large fish such as a barracuda or king mackerel and tie the carcass to the back of your boat with a rope.  Fish your drags very light, almost none, and when a fish picks it up just let them take it for a while.  A shark will often hold the bait in his mouth and not actually eat it for 15-20 seconds, so if you tighten your drag to quickly they may drop it without getting the hook in their mouth.  Slowly tighten the drag after you feel an ample amount of time has passed, I usually go roughly 15-20 seconds.  Live bait shark fishing is also an exciting way to shark fish in Islamorada.  You can either drift or anchor with live baits floated on the surface with a cork and same wire leader rig as before, minus the weights.  Even kite fishing baits such as mullets or blue runners can produce very exhilarating bites!  The best places to fish our often the deeper channels in the backcountry, usually in the muddier water.  The gulf is also a good bet and you can fish pretty much anywhere out there.  The clear water in the cuts between Islamorada and flamingo often holds lemon sharks.  Blacktips are often out in the gulf and around the western edge of the backcountry, as well as in muds of ladyfish and mullet.  Bull sharks tend to be more around the flamingo area and many of the creeks and around the mainland/cape area.  Hammerheads are often in the gulf in the spring time, as well as the bays near Islamorada.  Though you may find any species of sharks in any area - their are no fences out there!   Another good bet for sharks is staking up on the edge of banks and such where there is a good current flow.  The current will take the smell of cut bait a long distance and don't be fooled - big sharks will come up in shallow water!  Good luck shark fishing in the Florida Keys, and remember to be very careful.  A small shark can hurt you just as bad as a large one, so don't get too close and never bring sharks in the boat!

Capt. Rick Stanczyk

Instagram: @richardstanczyk
Facebook: Islamorada Tarpon Fishing