Different anglers may have slightly different definitions of what constitutes inshore fishing. For the most part, it’s just as it sounds. Inshore fishing is typically defined as anything within 9 miles of the shoreline and in water 30 meters deep or less. Therefore, inshore vs. offshore fishing is a distinction based on both how far you are away from shore and the depth.
Continue reading to learn more about what inshore fishing is, the type of fish you can catch inshore, and the equipment you’ll need for a successful day on the water.
What is the Difference Between Inshore and Offshore Fishing?
Compared to offshore, inshore fishing occurs in shallow water that is typically more calm and mellow. With inshore fishing, you probably won’t need a large or super high-tech boat and you won’t have to travel as far to get to your destination. You can also expect consistent yet seasonal weather while inshore. This is in opposition to the unpredictable conditions you’ll face while offshore.
The fish you’ll find inshore tend to be smaller than when offshore fishing. Therefore with inshore fishing, you can expect to use lighter equipment across the board. Don’t get discouraged though, as you’ll probably find greater numbers of catchable fish while inshore.
One isn’t better than the other when it comes to inshore vs. offshore fishing. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and what kind of experience you want. We suggest assessing your skill level along with what you want to fish before deciding on your location and desired fish species.
What Species of Fish Can You Catch Inshore?
You probably won’t have the chance at a massive trophy catch while fishing inshore, but you may be rewarded with high volumes of biting fish. If you want a little bit of sport fishing action while In the shallows, we suggest going after tarpon. You probably won’t want to eat this one, but it’ll put up a fight and they can get pretty big (up to 8 ft.).
Most Popular Inshore Fish Species
- Striped Bass
- Spanish Mackerel
Where Can You Inshore Fish?
When it comes to inshore fishing, there are plenty of options to choose from. The first step is going where the fish are, but this is often easier said than done. The following locations and water features are some of our favorite options for inshore anglers.
- Grass Flats: Grass flats are especially common places to fish in flat places like Florida. We suggest searching for “deep grass flats” or anything that is in water between 4 and 10 inches deep. These deeper flats offer feeding opportunities for the fish, which often means better luck for the anglers.
- Docks & Bridges: As you probably know, docks and bridges attract a wide range of fish and you won’t have to travel too far to get there. Make sure to look out for any signage that states whether or not fishing is allowed from your specific dock or bridge.
- Mangrove Shorelines: Mangrove shorelines are great places to look for redfish and snook. It will take some patience and knowledge of the local area, but mangroves can be highly productive inshore fishing destinations.
- Channels: Channels and inlets act as underwater highways of sorts as fish use them to move from one spot to the next. This makes for fantastic inshore fishing where you have the opportunity to catch multiple different species.
- Reefs: Natural and artificial inshore reefs are another fantastic option when looking for a spot to fish. In places where natural reefs are uncommon, things like old bridges and construction materials make for great artificial options.
What Equipment do You Need for Inshore Fishing?
Boats used for inshore fishing tend to be smaller with fewer amenities than you would need in deeper water. More specifically, you’ll want your boat to be nimble enough to access hard-to-reach inshore fishing areas. There are plenty of common inshore boats to choose from, but you may even opt for a kayak or canoe in some circumstances.
When choosing a rod for inshore fishing, it’s important to look at the rod length, power, and action. In most inshore fishing scenarios we recommend a longer rod (over 6 ft long). Additional length helps you cast longer to get close to inshore features like mangroves. A longer rod forfeits some power, but you should be able to handle the types of fish you face inshore.
In terms of tackle and trolling gear, you can probably keep things light. As the water gets deeper the bigger and more expensive your equipment will get. Once again, what you pack along ultimately comes down to personal skill set and preference.
With a little bit of planning and patience, your next inshore fishing trip could be one for the books. Equipment requirements won’t be as intense as what you’ll need for offshore angling, but that’s no excuse for getting caught with the wrong gear for your conditions. Feel free to browse our wide range of affordably priced rods and salt boxes that come complete with free shipping.