Reef Fishing

Reef fishing in Islamorada is a great way to spend a day on the water. We fish the reef year round in the Florida Keys, but the offshore charter boats primarily focus on it from October – April. The reef line runs parallel with the Keys and is an average distance of 4 miles off shore. The reef drops from an average depth of 60’ on top to 90’ on the bottom. We use all sorts of fishing techniques while on the reef, so don’t think it’s strictly bottom fishing! Charter boats use all sorts of fishing methods including bottom fishing, trolling, kite fishing, drift fishing, and sight fishing. Common reef fish are sailfish, snapper, grouper, barracuda, cobia, mackerel, shark, African pompano, wahoo, etc. We also catch the occasional mahi and tuna while fishing with live baits, so you have to be ready for everything! Usually they are further offshore but they can be a nice surprise. Many of the fish we catch while reef fishing make good table fare too! So whether you bring some home or just take a bag of fresh fish to a local restaurant, you’ll enjoy your catch! There’s also quite a few “wrecks” just out side the reef which we fish around too. They’re anywhere from 100′ – 200′ of water and our captains know some well known ones as well as some secret ones! Wreck fishing is grouped under our “reef fishing” category and many days fishing the wrecks are the way to go!

Most days we start out by catching live bait and then go from there. A full day is always recommended for the best fishing experience, but if a ½ day charter is all you think you can handle or have time for, give the reef a shot! The average travel time in and out is only 20 minutes each way, so you’ll have plenty of fishing time! Florida Keys Reef Fishing is a great option for the whole family! If a private charter is not in the budget our Miss Islamorada Party boat (head boat) fishes the reef too and is an affordable way to get out and catch a few fish for dinner.

Fishing Reports

Late April Backcountry Fishing Report

April is nearing it’s end and tarpon season is definitely in full swing here in the Florida Keys.  We had a very early start to our tarpon season here in South Florida, with a super warm and calm February and March.  Thousands of fish of all sized showed up in… Read More

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What Our Customers Say…

  •   Our family enjoyed two half day fishing trips in March 2019, while on vacation in The Keys. Both our Captains were exceptional and we highly recommended them! The trips were out of Bud n’ Mary’s Marina. One trip booked through the captain ahead of time and one booked through the marina the day before. The first trip was with Captain Mike Walter, in search of a big tarpon to fulfill our daughter Chelsea’s Bucket List. Captain Mike immediately put us on the tarpon and Chelsea was thrilled with the fight of her 80 pounder. The second trip with Captain Dave Peck was for a variety of different species and we caught a lot of fish, which we enjoyed. But the last fish of the day was the highlight and we will remember it as “The Fish of a Lifetime” a 250 lb Goliath Grouper! It truly was an Amazing Experience! More

    thumb Janet M
    4/07/2019
  •   Captain Nick Stanczyk is an absolutely fabulous guide and captain. He knew where to fish which put onto a giant fish very quickly. Then he never took his eyes off the line and kept the boat properly placed for the duration of an 8 hour plus fight. In the end, we landed a record size swordfish of over 757 pounds. As experienced captains ourselves we cannot say enough positive things about Capt. Nick, his boat or and his crew. In addition, Bud n Mary’s knows how to treat fisherman of all levels. The Galley Girls Cafe located at Bud n Mary’s puts together great early am breakfast in plenty of time to make the boat departures and their lunch boxes are excellent as well. If you are looking for great day trips or a trip of a lifetime Capt. Nick Stanczyk and Bud n Mary’s is the place to go.

    thumb DebbieL2887
    4/01/2019
  •   A full day out fishing. Dress in layers as the morning is cool, but afternoon gets warm. Bring hats and suntan lotion.
    Everyone caught a lot of fish- the crew made it easy and fun. After the trip they sorted the fish, filleted it for us and recommended several restaurants to cook it for us. It was a great day.

    thumb SimonFamily476
    3/25/2019
  •   My husband and I visited Bud and Mary's to grab some bait for our 5th anniversary fishing day trip the beginning of the month. Super friendly and happy people, we're very helpful to point out a nice spot to go fishing, and supplied us with great shrimp bait. Food smelled great but it was early so we plan to come back and try it. The property was super clean, including the dock. There were a lot of charters out that morning and a few visitors milling around. They have a small school of tarpon and nurse sharks and some pelicans hanging around wait for scraps, and you can purchase food to feed them. Really want to jump on a charter next time we come down! They also have a dive shop that had a huge selection of gear, but was closed for lunch while we were there. Great place, we will be back.

    thumb janettez2014
    3/21/2019
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