The captains and pros listed below are among the very best in the sport of saltwater fishing. Their attention to detail and ability to consistently locate and catch fish is unparalleled. Even the most seasoned veterans can learn something from them. Each one has played an instrumental part in the creation of my World of Saltwater Fishing television series and I’m proud to recognize their contributions.


CAPTAIN DEBBIE HANSON   –  An award-winning outdoor writer and women’s sport fishing advocate, Debbie specializes in fishing the waters of Estero Bay for redfish, snook and trout on light tackle when she’s not guiding clients to freshwater success on Southwest Florida’s lakes and canal systems. She can often be found lending angling support and encouragement to women of all ages through speaking engagements and via her website at shefishes2.com.

CAPTAIN JEFF MALONE  - When it comes to tarpon fishing around the Hawks Cay region of the Florida Keys, Captain Jeff Malone (Tarpon Time Charters) is at the top of his game. From capitalizing on the main tarpon migration to catching resident fish the remainder of the year, he can do it all on fly rod, lures or live bait. Jeff is equally skilled at guiding clients to other shallow water game fish the likes of bonefish, permit, snook, barracuda, sharks and snappers. He can be reached through www.tarpontime.com, and 305-776-1485.

CAPTAIN BILLY WELLS - Adhering to a professional philosophy of running and covering water until he finds fish, Captain Billy Wells is a very “in-demand” guide. He operates his 42-foot Freeman catamaran, “Wild Bill”, out of Venice, Louisiana.  A head guide with Mexican Gulf Fishing Company, Billy is a specialist at catching yellowfin tuna. He also trolls for blue marlin, dolphin and wahoo, day drops for swordfish and produces quality bottom fish. Billy can be reached at 504.329.7451, Email: Captainbillywells@gmail.com.

CAPTAIN KEVIN JEFFRIES – A very personable and knowledgeable pro, Captain Kevin Jeffries operates his First Down Charters out of Key Largo.  He specializes in live-baiting for sailfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo and kingfish, as well as trolling for dolphin and billfish. He’s also a bottom-fishing specialist, dialed in on the patch reefs, deeper reefs and wrecks off the upper Florida Keys.  And, of course, he’s one of the few skippers targeting Cubera snapper at night during their summer spawn.  To contact Kevin: 305-409-4789; www.firstdowncharters.com.

PAUL CASTRONOVO – An on-air talent for over three decades, Paul Castronovo parlayed a quick wit and what a previous generation called “the gift of gab” into a career that has included success in both radio and television.  Best known as host of the “Paul Castronovo Show,” he has been a fixture on morning radio for more than 26 years, supported by a generation of loyal listeners, advertisers and dominant ratings.  Through his radio show, Paul has had a considerable impact in the community, having raised millions of pounds of food for Feeding South Florida. Castronovo has also taken leadership positions with the Miami Dolphins Foundation, co-chairing its charity effort, Fins Weekend, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Board of Directors, and Ocearch.  An accomplished angler in his own right, Paul resides in Boca Raton with his wife, Gina. They have two sons, Nic (a graduate of the University of Florida) and AJ (who attends UF).

CAPTAIN JIM WILLCOX – Jim first came to Bud n’ Mary’s as a young boy with his father. After visiting Islamorada for nearly twenty years he decided to move here and become a backcountry guide. A specialist at lure fishing for shallow water game fish around Islamorada as well as those deep within the Everglades and Gulf, his reputation for consistently producing quality catches keeps him in very high demand. Be it snook, redfish, tarpon, seatrout, cobia, tripletail, bonefish, permit or sharks, Jim has them dialed in. An accomplished tournament captain, Jim has earned first place finishes, top guide awards and has caught and released the most bonefish during the Spring Bonefish World Championship for the last three years. He can be reached through www.ultimatekeysfishing.com, and at 305-393-1128; E-mail: captjimw@ultimatekeysfishing.com.

CAPTAIN BEN SHARPE -  With major experience at fishing wahoo and billfish tournaments throughout the Bahamas as well as sailfish competitions off South Florida, Ben Sharpe is a bank of knowledge on what it takes to consistently score these fish. Ben has been an instrumental team member in a number of big boat big game competition victories.When he’s not on the water pursuing his passion, he runs his own tournaments, most notably the Dust ‘em Off Sailfish Warm Up, held out of South Florida. Ben can be reached at: 786-366-7883.

CAPTAIN MARK SCHMIDT – Captain Mark Schmidt is a veteran light tackle guide who operates his Sun Dancer Fishing Charters  from Murray Marine on Stock Island.  He has been guiding in the lower Florida Keys and Key West since 1980.  A noted reef-, wreck- and live-bait fishing specialist, he’s been guiding clients to impressive catches aboard his 27-foot center console.  He’s also an expert at fishing the flats for tarpon, permit, bonefish and sharks aboard his 17-foot skiff.  Mark can be reached at 305-797-4032, and by emailing: sundancercharters@comcast.net.

DARRELL GWYNN - One of the winningest Top Fuel dragster pilots in history, Darrell Gwynn accumulated 28 NHRA National Event wins, of which 18 were in Top Fuel and 10 in Top Alcohol, before a severe racing accident put an end to his driving. This occurred in April, 1990, when Gwynn ran an exhibition race at England’s Santa Pod Raceway. At halftrack and approximately 240 miles per hour, his dragster suddenly broke and veered left into the retaining wall. Then 28, Gwynn suffered major life-threatening injuries, lost his left arm and was paralyzed. Given this unfortunate event, one thing that never changed was his willingness to meet challenges head-on and to live life on his terms. The competitive spirit he developed early on still burns today. A South Florida resident, Darrell often pursues his other passion – saltwater fishing. He’s the Director of the Darrell Gwynn Quality of Life chapter of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and, of course, he stays true to his racing roots at www.darrellgwynn.com.

CAPTAIN ANDREW TIPLER - Operating Last Cast Charters from the lower Florida Keys, Captain Andrew Tipler is a highly-accomplished light tackle and fly guide specializing in flats- and backcountry fishing for bonefish, permit, tarpon and sharks. He’s equally adept at reef fishing for groupers, yellowtail, mutton and mangrove snappers, as well as offshore fishing for sailfish, kingfish, dolphin, tuna and wahoo. And if that’s not enough, he spends a lot of time fishing the Gulf wrecks behind Cudjoe Key. Andrew can be reached at 305-744-9796, Email: Scarpa1@bellsouth.net.

CAPTAIN RYAN WENZEL  –  A South Florida native, Ryan Wenzel has been fishing as long as he can remember, with his favorite place being the Florida Keys - Islamorada, more specifically. His passion for fishing has always run deep, and he’s thrilled to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. A skilled and licensed captain, he has spent summers fishing the offshore waters of Venice, Louisiana. Based out of World Wide Sportsman with his triple-Mercury powered 34-foot Sea Vee, Ryan’s specialties include dolphin, blackfin tuna, day swordfish, sailfish and bottom fishing the local wrecks and reefs. He can be reached through: www.4reel-charters.com, and at 954-551-2508.