Cortez is one of the last remaining fishing villages in this part of Florida and with all its inshore riches it might not be the first place to come to mind if you want big fish. But one thing you can’t deny - Cortez deep sea fishing has untapped potential that you would be wise not to overlook.

The fishing community of Cortez has good access to the Gulf fisheries and a number of charters to accommodate even the boldest of anglers who want to head offshore and explore deep waters. Is the journey far offshore worth the effort? With a little luck, sure it is.

What fish will I catch?

A general rule of thumb here is ‘the longer the trip, the better the catch’, but it need not be like that every single time. Odd fish have taken anglers by surprise before, and with some luck, you could be getting succulent tablefare even on a six hour trip.

As you head out into the Gulf, you can sample some of the standard bottom fish that everyone from a total novice to a hardcore angler wants to get. Yes, Red Snapper are an item you should cross off your fish wishlist. The same goes for Gag and Red Grouper. In the same waters, up to 20 miles from the shoreline, you can also catch hot shots such as Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, and the odd Mahi.

‘Variety’ is a good word to describe what you can get far offshore. Here we mean anything that comes after the 80 mile line. Weather the trip and you could be grappling with Gag, Red, Warsaw, Yellowedge, Snowy, and Scamp Grouper, as well as a healthy stock of Triggerfish, Yellowtail Snapper, and Amberjack. But bottom fishing is not all you can do here. These waters can also surprise you with Blackfin Tuna, trophy size Mackerel, Mahi, and much more.

How to get them

When you book a deep sea fishing charter out of Cortez, you should know that a lot of action will include bottom fishing. This means medium to heavy tackle, long sturdy rods, and plenty of biceps workout. Some of these fish will be down at a depth of 500+ feet, so many captains will supply you with electric reels, and customized 40-80 lbs rods. Depending on what you want to get you will either sink live bait deep down, such as shrimps and crabs, or use diving plugs. Grouper are pretty aggressive and will often take anything that mimics bait fish.

Trolling for topwater species lets you spread several lines at a time for better chances. You can also use live bait. Again, the target species dictates what you will be using. Tuna love feeding on Mackerel, while Mahi will go after flying fish or anything that imitates them.

What you need to know

As you will be fishing quite far from the shore, you’ll want to stock up for the trip. Pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, comfortable clothes, and an extra layer of clothing, just in case. Remember to bring Dramamine as getting sea sick 80 miles from the coast is not the nicest way to spend the day. Most charter captains will provide all the gear you need, but it might be good to consult with them before the trip.

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Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Cortez

Amberjack

Snapper (Red)

Tuna (Blackfin)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Top Deep Sea Fishing Charters in Cortez

Nearby Deep Sea Fishing Destinations