Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style

Member since April 2016

Islamorada, United States

Background
Capt. Mark Byrnes is a Florida native fishing guide, born in Miami in 1953. He started fishing in the Keys when he was 6 yrs old,. As soon as he was old enough to drive (but unable to afford a decent boat) he was spending weekends fishing day and night on the old rickety wooden catwalks attached to the old Keys bridges. He was usually tasked with bringing home snapper and grouper for his family to eat. For his own enjoyment he discovered the thrill of jumping tarpon and of seeing these monsters explode out of the water. In the 70's and 80's his passion was Offshore Fishing in small center console boats...However, he always liked to explore the Keys flats and backcountry of Florida Bay and the Everglades every chance he got in his flats skiff. Slowly but surely he became hooked on the shallow water inshore scene and has fished inshore/flats/backcountry exclusively for more than 20 years now. Capt Mark expertly navigates the Islands, banks, creeks & channels in Everglades National Park.
Techniques
Capt. Mark Byrnes specializes in Tarpon Fishing...but he also tailors trips to his client's desires and targets bonefish, permit, snook, redfish, trout, snapper and sharks. Captain Mark is very patient with beginners and kids of all ages but also has the skills & intensity to pole the flats & sight-fish with expert casters with spin or fly gear.

Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style

Islamorada, United States
Background
Capt. Mark Byrnes is a Florida native fishing guide, born in Miami in 1953. He started fishing in the Keys when he was 6 yrs old,. As soon as he was old enough to drive (but unable to afford a decent boat) he was spending weekends fishing day and night on the old rickety wooden catwalks attached to the old Keys bridges. He was usually tasked with bringing home snapper and grouper for his family to eat. For his own enjoyment he discovered the thrill of jumping tarpon and of seeing these monsters explode out of the water. In the 70's and 80's his passion was Offshore Fishing in small center console boats...However, he always liked to explore the Keys flats and backcountry of Florida Bay and the Everglades every chance he got in his flats skiff. Slowly but surely he became hooked on the shallow water inshore scene and has fished inshore/flats/backcountry exclusively for more than 20 years now. Capt Mark expertly navigates the Islands, banks, creeks & channels in Everglades National Park.
Techniques
Capt. Mark Byrnes specializes in Tarpon Fishing...but he also tailors trips to his client's desires and targets bonefish, permit, snook, redfish, trout, snapper and sharks. Captain Mark is very patient with beginners and kids of all ages but also has the skills & intensity to pole the flats & sight-fish with expert casters with spin or fly gear.
Angler's Choice
Verified

Our Charter Listings

Islamorada
trips from
US$ 450

Customer Reviews

5.00 out of 5 stars from 9 reviews

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Went fishing on Saturday, May 13, 2017

Being on the water with Mark is like an extension of our family.  His expertise in knowing the hot spots and producing results along with his excellent personality makes for just an awesome trip every time out.  Highly recommend!!

Fished May 2017

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Went fishing on Monday, April 24, 2017

My half day fishing in cold water for Tarpon was saved by at of the ninth inning switch to a bottom bait. The 80 lbs fish hit while Mark was handing me the rod.
What a thrill.

Fished April 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Thursday, May 4, 2017

Glad you enjoyed catching that tarpon Pete. Many memorable jumps close to the boat. I love to scratch off “bucket list” fish especially for an easy going 80 year old salt like you! 80 for 80! hope to see you next time you sail down this way. Mark.

Went fishing on Saturday, April 15, 2017

Words cannot express how much appreciation we have for Mark, his knowledge of the Florida Bay numbers, ability to put us onto the most exciting fishing my dad, me and my son have ever had, (with nearly 100 years of fishing between the three of us) and just being a genuinely good guy to hang out with in the most beautiful place in the world for a few days.

We had been planning a surprise 2-day fishing trip for my dad’s 70th birthday for going on 9 months, and as our date approached, couldn’t find a referral for a great guide. After searching online and coming across fishingbooker.com, and after reading Mark’s profile and seeing the photos from other anglers, we knew it he could deliver, but we didn’t quite know how well.

From Mark’s handling of some of hardest weather to fish (15-20 knot winds, with 30 knot gusts), to his tactical and strategic thinking around physical structure, tide, wind and current movements and as a father himself, amazing ability to work with and bond with my son (age 10), the trip was nothing short of perfect.

On the first day, we barely made it out in the morning around an east-to-west storm system that was centered directly on Islamorada. Undeterred, we made our way north throughout the Florida Bay, with Mark navigating the channels in the flats like his brain was directly connected to GPS and sonar. I swear he could have done in blindfolded, especially in the rough seas we went out in. After a 25 mile journey, we got into great, large baitfish (ladyfish and jack) just to get warmed up and have nice, fresh stuff to work with the rest of the day. After catching no less than 20 fish, including dinner (nice sized trout), we made our way further north.

My son caught several blacktips and we got into a bunch of other activity; snapper, jack, a massive tarpon that shook the bait, etc. The kicker was some sort of sea beast that my son and dad fought for an hour or so, that we actually never got a chance to see, but the consensus around the marina was that it was a sawfish (it never came off the bottom). In any case, they had great time fighting him.

On day two, the weather was much better and we spent the morning hunting tarpon to no avail, eventually making our way further north to target bonnethead shark, which was a blast, as the photos will show, moving on from there to continue our shark adventure… and what an adventure it was. One nurse, and multiple lemon shark, and we all reeled in big fighters, including one 6 ft, 150 lb. monster and a 6-7 ft. 200 lb. behemoth that managed to spit the bait and subsequently get hooked in one of the rear lower fins. This one was mine. I had to drag it from its tail 200 yards by its tail with its belly dragging in the flats. 45 minutes later, and using what must have been the most-perfectly tied rig ever known to man (I was pulling with my opposite hand full force on the spool… zero drag), we got her to the boat. It was unreal.

If you ever fish in the Florida Keys, and want to have the most incredible experience of your life, you absolutely MUST book with Mark. Do not book anything less than a full day if you can. Leave some time after your trip to hang out at Angler House Marina, where Mark is based. Great people there, and it’s clean, comfortable with great amenities.

Again, this was the trip of a lifetime and as soon as we can, and as often as we can, we will be back to have another adventure with Mark. If we could go back right now, we would.

Thanks so much, Mark!

Fished April 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thanks Ryan.Wow that was a glowing review. Not sure what to say after that but I can tell you that I had a great time fishing with you, your dad and son. Challenging weather conditions indeed. That high pressure system sat on us for over 2 weeks with 20+ knot winds the entire time. We made the best of it though. The Tarpon came unhooked on the first jump but that’s how it goes. The big Lemon Sharks were great fights. You surprised me with your perseverance by continuing to fight and subdue the tail hooked jumbo lemon shark. Definitely close to 200 lb! The smiles on Dillon’s face as he caught all those different species was priceless. I hope to see you guys next year. Take care, Mark Byrnes

Went fishing on Thursday, March 23, 2017

We had a great half-day out in the boat with Captain Mark.  We were surrounded by Tarpon.  They teased us but they wouldn’t bite.  Captain Mark tried everything in his power to get them to bite but the water was probably a little too cold.  We did catch and release a couple of sharks.  Overall, we had a fantastic day.  We would certainly do it again.  We highly recommend Captain Mark.  He is patient and works harder than any fisherman that I have met to try and guarantee success.  Thanks for a great day Mark!

Fished March 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Monday, April 3, 2017

Thanks Richard I hope you and Jaime enjoyed the time on the water. Tarpon can be finicky that time of year when the water temps are cool and the wind has been out of the North. A little frustrating when you know they are there but cannot get them to bite. Hope you guys enjoyed the Dry Tortugas trip and i hope to see you next time you get a chance to come down to Islamorada.
Mark

Went fishing on Monday, March 27, 2017

Amazing experience both Oceanside and bayside in Islamorada.  Mike worked very hard to put me in the fish- the tarpon just weren’t biting.  Outstanding guide!

Fished March 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bruce it was very frustrating to see the tarpon rolling around us and not be able to get them to bite. Hope you are able to come back for another shot at the Silver King. You are always welcome on my boat. Talk soon.
Mark Byrnes

Went fishing on Thursday, January 5, 2017

I have been fishing with Capt. Mark for over 20 years. Always a great experience! From bonefish to tarpon & permit, to snapper and sharks, we always see new things and I’m constantly learning something new from him. He’s a true professional and his knowledge of the Keys and backcountry is second to none. 

Whenever possible, I take advantage of the opportunity to fish with Capt. Mark and am grateful for the many great trips and experiences that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience with him over the years.. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a real FL Keys back country experience and who wants a true professional to guide them, whether your an experienced angler or a beginner.

Chris Deveso

 

Fished January 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, March 24, 2017

Thank you Chris.  Those were some very kind words to hear. I always have fun with you and your family. We have caught some good fish and had some exciting (and sometimes heartbreaking experiences when we found them but couldn’t get them to eat) over the years. Those photos bring back some great memories. Hope to see you again soon Buddy! Mark

Went fishing on Saturday, February 25, 2017

Had a great adventure with Capt. Mark.  He is laid back and has a knowledge of all things related to this trip.  Not only did we catch fish, we got a first hand view of the “back country” which is full of wildlife like osprey, rare white pelicans, dolphin, sharks and more.  Just the trip alone is exciting navigating through shallow water at times and narrow passages to get to some great fishing areas.  We caught a variety of fish and there was never a dull moment.  I plan on fishing with Capt. Mark anytime I’m fishing in the area, and highly recommend him to die hard anglers or any family looking for a true adventure!

Dave Brookmyer

Fished February 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hey Dave I appreciate the review. You forgot to mention that good sized tarpon that kicked your butt! We only had one tarpon bite that day up in the ‘Glades but we made the most of it. See you next time. Mark


Went fishing on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We’ve now fished the Florida Keys with Mark for 15 years. We started with Mark because we wanted (and it was critical) for our son Chris (age 12) to have a great first experience on the flats. I’ve used numerous guides throughout the world and many have a tendency to ignore the beginning, even average fisherman. Having caught numerous permit, tarpon, bonefish, and a few snook on a fly rod, I could deal with the personalities of most guides. However the guide I needed for Chris had to be exceptional. My search for an outstanding guide for Chris paid off but, quite frankly, Mark was also great for my wife and myself.  Mark has been fabulous for the family over the years including Chris (now 27) catching Snook and Sharks during the cold February of 2017. Sharks were his targeted fish for our trip. The Tarpon shown in the photo was caught by Chris when he was 12….

Fished January 2017

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, March 3, 2017

Thanks Roger it was great to spend some more time on the water with you and your family.
Water temps were not quite conducive to an influx of Tarpon but they should be here en masse pretty soon. Look forward to next time. Taks Care!
Capt Mark Byrnes

Went fishing on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I have been fishing for decades and this trip with Mark was by far the best. We were on the tarpon within 45 minutes after leaving dock. Also on other fish too. This guy knows what he is doing. Great boat. He even gave me more time than booking. Also great fishing gear. I would book him again in a New York minute.

Fished May 2016

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Matecumbe Sportfishing/Light Tackle Keys Style (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, March 3, 2017

Thanks again Mike. We had some pretty good action and the big one you got to the boat was well over 100 lb! I will never forget the one that free jumped and glanced off the gunwale as we were cruising at 25 mph! That was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences! (I hope…) See you again in May.
Capt Mark Byrnes