By Craig Davis, Craigslegz.com
The renowned sportfishing capital of Islamorada has been reeling since Hurricane Irma plowed through the Florida Keys on Sept. 10.
Read my full report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about how the fishing community in Islamorada is coping with the aftermath of Irma.
Among those to take a hit was Bud N’ Mary’s Marina, an integral part of the Keys fishing scene since 1944. Its colorful history was featured here last December.
There have been numerous brushes with hurricanes over the years, but Bud N’ Mary’s has never met with the likes of Irma.
The 8-foot wall of water that washed over the island swept away the long outer dock and other mooring areas for the fishing boats were severely damaged.
Most of the buildings on the property held up reasonably well, but considerable repair and rebuilding will be required to get the venerable marina and the 45 fishing captains, guides and crews back in business. Work is underway.
Richard Stanczyk, who has operated Bud N’ Mary’s the past 40 years, said the best-case scenario would have the marina operating and fishermen running charters on a limited basis some time in November.
“We’ll never be taking what we were taking for a long time, maybe a year,” Stanczyk said. “But what we could do is get enough charters for everybody to feed their families and stuff like that.”
Among the items destroyed in the storm at Bud N’ Mary’s was a 15-foot Nova Scotia boat that was once owned by Ted Williams and passed along to Stanczyk by legendary guide and fly-fishing innovator Jimmie Albright.
The mold of a 3,000-pound white shark that has been an Islamorada icon hanging by the sign in front of Bud N’ Mary’s for years was initially unaccounted for. It was found under a pile of debris, slightly damaged. But it can be repaired and will eventually return to its place next to U.S. 1.
Stancyzk also saved all the historic fishing photos and news articles that have been written about the marina and its fishermen over the years.
“We saved our history,” Stanczyk said. “I would have rather lost these buildings than lost that stuff.”