Enjoy your trip with Reel Time Fishing Charters, family-owned, and operating out of Bradenton, FL. Near Cortez. Reel Time Fishing Charters specializes in knowing what fish are in season and where to catch them. Captain Jared Mong is USCG licensed and insured. Jared grew up in Bradenton and has fished the waters around Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, and Tampa Bay since he was a kid. He knows what bait and tackle to use and will take you to the area that is best to catch the fish you want. Most of all he is there to make sure you have an amazing time on the water.
What’s Biting in the Gulf of Mexico near Cortez?
Amberjack – The Greater Amberjack is a big, strong fish that grow well over a hundred pounds and are primarily target for their quick fast action once hooked. Amberjack eats small fish especially bigeye scad, as well as crabs, squid, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
Barracuda – The Great Barracuda is the only species of this large family located in Florida waters. The Great Barracuda can grow to 51 pounds and over 6 feet in length; most caught in Florida average 2 to 3 feet and 5 to 20 pounds. Barracuda are found offshore all over Florida traveling alone or in loose schools in open waters and lurking around reefs looking for the opportunity to ambush prey. Barracudas can swim over 25 miles per hour!
Cobia – The Cobia is a large species that grow to 4 feet and can weigh over 50 pounds, but most caught are in the 30-pound range. Mostly a solitary fish, you may sometimes find them in small groups in bays and inlets around structures. Offshore, Cobia feeds on crab, shrimp, squid, and small fish usually around shipwrecks and deep reefs.
Flounder – The Gulf Flounder is the smallest of the Florida Flounder averaging 1 to 2 pounds but can be caught up to 6 pounds. One way to tell this Flounder from the other 2 found in Florida is by the very dark spots on its back that form a large triangle.
Gag Grouper – The Gag can be found on shallow reefs over rocks and reefs throughout Florida and they are usually caught around 25 pounds. The markings on their bodies can be described as “worm-like” and sometimes form kiss prints. Gags are considered to most the best tasting of all the Groupers.
Goliath Grouper – The Goliath Grouper is an endangered species that has been making a comeback. They are found on artificial and natural reefs at depths anywhere from 15 to 165 feet. The Goliath is known for stealing angler’s catches as they reel them in. The Goliath feed on mostly slow-moving creatures, rarely do they target large fish as the Goliath is a very lethargic species that spends most of its time hiding out in caves waiting to ambush its next meal.
Hogfish – Hogfish can be found in many color variations around hard bottom areas, coral reefs, rocky ledges, and shipwrecks. The Hogfish averages 3 pounds and can be as large as 20 pounds offshore in 200 feet of water.
King Fish – King Mackerel travel in large schools near the surface of the water, close to shore over sandy bottoms. King Mackerels can also be found near reefs, wrecks, and other hard structures. Bottom fishing from bridges, piers, the surf, and boats is the best way to catch a Kingfish. King Mackerel are heavy feeders preferring herring, shad, sardine, pilchard, menhaden, jack, anchovy, ladyfish, mullet, drum, and will also eat shrimp, sand fleas, and squid.
Mangrove Snapper – Mangrove Snapper are common in shallow waters especially around mangroves but larger Snappers move offshore to hard-bottom or reef areas for more food and shelter. Usually found at 10 inches inshore, they can grow to 2 feet offshore. Mangroves are inquisitive fish that will come out of their ambush spot to see what’s going on when they hear a noise like your engine’s motor, but they will flee after hearing loud sudden noises.
Permit – Permits are usually found in shallow, tropical waters such as flats, channels, and muddy bottoms feeding on crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish. Permits are commonly found from 20 to 30 pounds with the record in Florida at 51 pounds. Angler fish for Permit by stalking them by sight on shallow flats, and cast directly to them. Use fresh crushed crab and lobster in a dispenser for an excellent attractant for the Permit fish; use a small live crab on your hook.
Pompano – Pompano is a highly prized food fish and sought-after game fish that is usually between 6 and 10 inches long. This is a schooling fish and is a good pier and shore fishing target. Often confused with the Permit which is deeper bodied, Pompano rarely grows larger than 6 pounds, Permit is common to 40 pounds. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans, and sand
Red Grouper – Red Grouper like to hide in a hole and dart out to grab food and return to their hole. Due to this habit of darting out for food, they are opportunistic and will eat almost anything. They prefer squid, crab, shrimp, lobster, and octopus, but will eat any dead fish that sink into their habitat.
Red Snapper can live 25 years and weigh more than 25 pounds with the record in Florida caught at 46 pounds. This Snapper is more abundant in the colder northern Florida offshore deep wrecks and reefs but can be found statewide. The Red Snapper feeds on crab, shrimp, fish, and worms.
Redfish – Red Drums are primarily an inshore fish found throughout Florida and can reach 45 inches and weigh 51 pounds. Redfish feed in shallow waters in schools and feed on a variety of fish such as Atlantic Croaker, Pinfish, Mullet, Menhaden, Flounder, and also crabs and shrimp. Redfish have many feeding patterns from hiding behind the structure to ambush their prey, to sucking prey off the bottom which is where you hear the term Redfish tailing (look for the tails above the surface). It is common to find them around mangroves and oyster bars feeding on the small crabs and shrimp.
Sheepshead – Sheepshead live near structures that have oysters growing on them such as mangrove roots, jetty rocks, docks, pilings, and piers. Sheepshead is common at 4 pounds but can be found further from the shore near navigational markers at 10 pounds or more.
Snook – Snook can be readily found in bays usually around structures and in shallow water off beaches, but mostly in southern Florida. cannot survive in water temperatures below 60 degrees. They tend to feed two hours before sunrise and two to three hours after sunset with the best fishing during a tide change at these hours. Shrimp is by far the best bait for this elusive fish, especially when they come from the same waters as you are fishing. Some people use live pilchards with great success.
Tarpon – Tarpon is found mostly in coastal waters and estuaries where the water is warm and shallow with sandy mud bottoms. This large species is commonly 6 feet and over 100 pounds in south Florida and gets as large as 280 pounds. Often encountered solitary, they frequently travel in schools, especially in the Keys. Tarpon feed on stingrays, mullets, silversides, catfish, blue crabs, sardines, anchovies, and pinfish. They are a sought-after species for sports fishing but make terrible table fare, so catch n’ release is the game with this fish.
Tarpon is famous for its aerobatics once hooked. In order to keep your catch hooked you must bow to the Silver King and lower your rod tip by pointing it at him when he goes airborne. Your slack line keeps your line from breaking and the hook in place.
Speckled seatrout inshore action in the winter months throughout the state is a lot of fun with the average-sized catch at 4 pounds. Look for the spotted seatrout in grassy areas, around a structure, in the mangroves, or in deep holes with a sandy bottom. Speckled seatrout feeds on crustaceans, shrimp, crabs, and baitfish. Free line live pinfish or shrimp near the edges of mangroves or over grass beds to attract them out of deep holes.
The Tripletail is a surface fish, lounging around floating debris and buoys waiting for its dinner to arrive. They can grow to 40 pounds but are normally found much smaller. They have very sharp teeth and spines with razors for gills, so handle with care. Tripletail feeds on smaller fish, shrimp, and crabs and is very good table fare.
Half-Day or Full-Day Fishing Charters
Half-Day Tarpon Fishing: Spend 4 hours out on the water chasing down and reeling in Tarpon
¾ Day Tarpon Fishing: Spend 6 hours out on the water chasing down and reeling in Tarpon
Full-Day Tarpon Fishing: Spend the entire day – 8 hours out on the water chasing down and reeling in Tarpon!
Book Now: 941.518.9937
Not only will you experience a great fishing day, but you will get to enjoy the ocean views, sea life, and sun. The beauty and majesty of the sea create a sense of serenity that will make you long to get back out into the water as soon as possible.
Anna Maria Island, Bradenton & Cortez Fishing Charter – Reel Time Fishing Hooks ’em All!
Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Cortez, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, and Sarasota