Shark Fishing

Shark Fishing in Islamorada has become extremely popular the last couple of decades. We catch sharks all year long and on both sides of Islamorada, meaning offshore and in the backcountry. Our shark fishery is all catch and release. We primarily use circle hooks to help ensure a healthy release. The time of year will dictate what species of shark you can try to catch. Both kids and adults love catching sharks since they put up such a great fight!

Our heavy tackle MONSTER Shark Fishing is best from March through May. The amberjack spawn this time of year offshore on the humps, which creates a feeding frenzy with giant sharks. These bad boys include massive tiger sharks up to 1000 lbs, hammerheads up to 500 lbs, bull sharks up to 400 lbs, and a variety of others. Sometimes people catch the hard fighting amberjack, nicknamed “reef donkeys”, and then we stick the 40 lb jack out for bait! These are true monsters and are without a doubt considered “trophies”.

Since we don’t keep the sharks, fiberglass replicas are often made, which are called “release mounts”. We get a good estimation of the size and a picture next to the boat, and then the taxidermist will make what could only be described as a “piece of artwork”.

Every person that see’s it on the wall will want to hear the story behind it. From August through November we also catch big dusky sharks, silky sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads, etc. The rest of the year there are always a few sharks around too, both on the reef, wrecks, and further offshore.


The backcountry is also home to a variety of different sharks. In the winter months we see lots of acrobatic spinner sharks (which jump and twist), blacktip sharks, bull sharks, bonnetheads, etc. In the spring and summer months the lemon sharks are extremely active, as well as many of the other species. All of this shark fishing is light tackle (10 – 30 lb test), and is catch and release. Many of these sharks are 10 – 100 lbs, but a 200+ lber isn’t uncommon! We often catch smaller stuff to use for bait such as ladyfish, which we use both live and dead. You also have shots at plenty of other large species while your shark fishing, such as tarpon, sawfish, goliath grouper, cobia – you never know what may grab your bait!

So when your are ready to go fishing for sharks in the Florida Keys, mention it to us and we will get you set up. On many trips you can shark fish for part of the day, and then still spend the rest of the time going for other fish. Sharks are usually readily available just about any time of year, however at time they can be tough just as anything in fishing. In particular with the backcountry fishing, they can be tough when the water is cold during a cold front. Sharks can make a great trophy to hang on the wall as well. We almost always practice catch and release with sharks and a fiberglass replica mount can be created with a simple measurement of the fish.

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…

  •   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
  •   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
  •   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
  •   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
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