Offshore fishing can require as much as two hours just to get out to the sea.
In addition, you do not need as much equipment. You can use lighter tackle, and people use both live and dead bait. There are a few different techniques you can use for inshore fishing, and you will use a GPS and a fish-tracking device.
Techniques for Inshore Fishing
You can use many different techniques for inshore fishing. You will choose one based on what type of fish you are targeting and what time of year it is.
The most common methods are still fishing and drifting. You can find a lot of different fish this way, and you can use a fly rod to catch Bonefish, Redfish, and Blacktip Sharks.
Another type of fishing is bottom fishing. People enjoy this method because they can catch Flounder and Bottom-Feeding Sharks.
In addition, people enjoy trolling for Snook, Barracuda, and other types of fish. Take a look at the following fighting techniques for inshore fishing:
Fishing the dock lights
When you are inshore fishing, there are many different techniques you can use to catch a lot of different fish. Generally, you will want to fish near a place with underwater rocks, logs, wrecks, or docks where the game fish can hide.
What Type of Tackle to Use
Many people use an inshore spinning rod or a baitcasting rod with light or heavy tackle combined with an inshore saltwater spinning in a size 3000 to 4000.
Light tackle will allow you to target Speckled Trout, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, small Redfish, and Flounder. Normally you will use a 6.5 to 7 foot rod with a fast-action tip and a 6 to 12 pound test line.
If you use heavy tackle, you can catch larger fish, including Sharks, Cobia, Tarpon, large Redfish, and Tripletail.
In this case, you will use a 7 to 7.5 foot long rod with a fast action tip and a 12 to 20 pound test line. You can use a test line up to 50 pounds for the biggest fish.
Most fly anglers will use a nine foot rod for inshore fishing, and they will have a reel that is made for saltwater fly fishing. If you are fly fishing, you will want to back your line with 200 to 300 yards of braided line.
Types of Inshore Fish
There are many great fish to catch when you go inshore fishing. They may be smaller than offshore fishing fish, but they are challenging to catch and put up a good fight.
You can find the following types of fish, depending on where you go:
You can go inshore fishing any time of the year, even when there are seasonal changes, and you can find a variety of fish that are challenging to catch.
They may be smaller than offshore fish, but you can still find them up to 100 pounds or more but generally inshore tackle is light enough.
Inshore fishing includes any fishing you do that is in water less than 30 meters deep or close to the shore. You might fish in the inter coastal waters, or it could be in the backwater areas.
There are many different types of boats you can use, and it will depend on where you want to fish and what method you want to use. Read on to learn about the different types of inshore fishing boats.
Inshore Fishing Boats
1. Flats Boats – Skiffs
You can use Flats boats in places such as the flats of South Carolina or the Florida Keys. They can go into shallow waters that are just a few inches deep, such as canals, bayous, and creeks near the coast. Anglers often use them in place of wading.
Size: Flats boats range from 15 to 21 feet long, and they have a 6 to 7.5 foot beam.
Capacity: They can hold two to four passengers.
Where They Are Used: They are mostly used in flats and in the backcountry.
Features and Equipment: These boats have a side, flat bow for casting, and they often have a poling platform and pole. They will come with navigational equipment and safety equipment.
Storing your inshore rods and inshore reels might be an issue as space can storage is not always the best on these types of inshore boat
The outboard motor is usually less than 100 horsepower, and they can come with a trolling motor. Some of them have forward casting platforms, as well, and a shallow water anchoring system.
What They Are Good for: Flats boats offer great visibility, and the engine noise is normally reduced so that it won’t scare the fish away. This boat does well in very shallow waters as few as six inches deep. It provides a relaxing and quiet fishing experience.
2. Bay Boats
Bay boats are low profile, and they have a low enough profile to navigate through shallow waters. However, they can also handle waters that are not calm and still because they have a higher freeboard. They are most popular with anglers who fish in larger bays.
Size: Bay boats are normally 18 to 23 feet.
Capacity: Most bay boats can hold four people as well as a captain.
Where They Are Used: Bay boats are often used near the shore including inshore, bays, and the backcountry.
Features and Equipment: When you get a Bay boat, you can expect to find safety equipment and navigation equipment. In addition, it will have an outboard motor.
These boats sometimes are equipped with a trolling motor as well. They have shallow water anchoring systems so that you can sit and fish. You should also have a live bait tank.
Bay boats can handle waters that are choppy because they have higher sides in the higher freeboard. The hull also has a deeper vee than the flats boat. There is not normally a poling platform.
What They Are Good for: When you are inshore fishing, bay boats offer more versatility because they can be used in a variety of inshore fishing situations. They are pretty easy to operate, and they have enough seating for a family fishing trip.
3. Center Console Boats
The Center Console boats are great all around boats for inshore fishing. The helm is in the center of the boat on a console, and you can move around more than you can on a Bay boat or a skiff.
You will also have good visibility. In addition, some of these boats have a toilet on board. You can get this boat anywhere from 18 to 40 feet long, which gives you a lot of choices.
Size: Center Console boats range from 18 to 40 feet long.
Capacity: Depending on the size of the boat, they hold between four and six passengers and a captain.
Where They Are Used: They can be used in a variety of locations, including inshore, near the shore, and even offshore.
Features and Equipment: In addition to navigation and safety equipment, you will find a live bait tank. This boat will also have up to four outboard motors. Some of them have a trolling motor as well. You can have it equipped with a toilet, outriggers, and downriggers, too. Another option is the T-top for shade, as well as a Tarpon or Cobia tower.
What Are They Good for: Because the console has the controls in the center of the boat, you can fish from any spot on this boat. It is capable of going inshore or offshore fishing, but it is easier and less expensive to run than big offshore boats. It gives you the flexibility to do whatever kind of fishing you want or need to do.
People often wonder what the difference is between inshore and offshore fishing. The answer is actually quite simple.
Inshore is any fishing that takes place in water that is less than 30 meters deep, and offshore fishing takes place when the water is 30 meters or deeper.
Many people also say that offshore fishing takes place nine or more miles from the shore.
Inshore Versus Offshore Fishing
Although the differences are how far from shore you are fishing, this also changes what type of boat you need, what type of equipment you will use, your tackle, the time it takes, the electronic equipment you need, and the variety and size of the fish you will find.
Read on to learn about the differences between these two types of fishing.
Inshore fishing takes place closer to the shore. People go in inter-coastal waters, channels, bays, and other areas with water less than 30 meters deep.
Because the waters are calmer than they are in offshore fishing, people can use smaller motorboats, and even canoes or kayaks. They might use wading boots or fish near a dock.
There are many different methods of inshore , including the following:
Inshore uses lighter tackle, and it can use live or dead bait. In addition, you use GPS and fish tracking devices to find the fish. In addition, you will travel shorter distances, and you can spend more time dangling your bait to catch fish.
The majority of inshore reels will be spinning reels or some occasional baitcasters.
Another major difference is the variety and size of the fish that you will find. When inshore , you will find the following fish:
How Is Offshore Fishing Different?
On the other hand, offshore fish is also called deep sea fishing, and you will travel away from the coast to waters that are deeper than 30 meters.
They use large sports fishing boats, and the weather and time of the year will determine what kinds of fish you can catch.
Offshore fishing also uses 74-mile open radar, XM Satellite Radio & Weather, and Chirp Sonar. You will need large heavy-duty tackle and heavy bait.
Offshore fishing targets large fish, including the following:
When you go offshore fishing, you will be dependent on radar and sonar for finding the fish. The actual fishing technique is not as hands on until a fish is on the line, and it can last a long time. You typically will catch fewer fish.
Offshore fishing takes a long time, and you will plan on spending from 12 to 72 hours away from the shore.
It is not as family friendly, whereas you can take the family inshore fishing for a half-day. You should also consider that the weather and the season will play a role in what kind of fish you are able to catch.
Summary of Differences Between Inshore and Offshore Fishing
The main difference between inshore and offshore fishing is that one takes place closer to the shore.
However, this fact creates a widely different set of circumstances for the two different types of fishing. People usually do the one they prefer based on these features:
If you are just starting out with inshore fishing then getting the right gear from the get go will make all the difference to your success and ultimately your enjoyment.
Inshore fishing tackle can vary greatly depending on how big a species you intend on targeting.
For most anglers new to fishing inshore I would suggest sticking to species such as speckled trout, redfish, pompano and kingfish.
Your best bet when selecting the best tackle for inshore fishing is to keep it simple and choose a combination that will work best as an all rounder rather that a specialist combo that excels at one technique but not another.
Rod – 7’6″ in length, medium/heavy power rating with a fast action
Reel – saltwater spinning reel size 3000
Line – 12 lbs monofilament or 20 lbs braid with a 12 lbs fluorocarbon leader
Inshore Fishing Tackle and Gear
For most anglers a spinning setup will be the preferred choice.
For most setups inshore rods will be 7’6″ in length, have a fast action and be rated for line in the 12 to 15 lbs range.
Fishing over flats or any kind of sight fishing with lures will require you to keep your distances somewhat from any fish as they can spook quite easily in shallower waters.
A longer length allows you to make longer casts and keep your distance. Longer casts also allow you to cover a lot more water from the same fishing spot before you decide to move on.
A 6’6″ length pole just won’t cut and although they might be easier to use than a 7 footer when skipping lures in and around docks you’ll quickly find that a shorter one is limited.
Even upgrading from a 7′ to a 7’6″ will make that 7′ feel limited and after a few weeks of use the difference between them will feel like night and day.
Investing in a good pole is a good idea, a high quality reel however is a must. Salt water spinning can wreck a cheap reel in no time even if you rinse it well after every outing.
The most common types of inshore reels will be a saltwater spinning reel in a size 3000 or maybe a 4000 if you are doing a lot of big lure work.
You’ll want to be able to spool on roughly 200 yards of 12 lbs monofilament or 20 lbs braided line.
All saltwater reels need a high quality drag system and they also need to be as well sealed as possible to keep out any salt.
Salt can destroy the internal gears and drag components if it gets a chance to enter inside the reel housing.
No matter how good a reel you buy always make sure to rinse it thoroughly in freshwater as soon as possible and get it service every one to two years.
You can also run 12 lbs fluorocarbon especially if you are jigging.
If you are using braid as your main line then it is always a good idea to use a 6 to 8 foot fluorocarbon leader.
Braid is extremely visible and fluoro is pretty invisible, both lines have little stretch in them and pair well together.
Sometimes you want a little stretch in your line, personally when using a large lure that has multiple big treble hooks I like to use monofilament as the stretch acts as a bit of a shock absorber.
Paddle tail swimbaits, topwater plugs, bucktail jigs, jerkbaits and spoons are all solid producers in the right circumstances.
Local knowledge is usually what trumps all, ever angler has their favorite lures but they won’t work everywhere and finding out what works locally is the best path to success.
If you are using bait under a bobber or on the bottom with some sort of sinker rig then you need to buy the right hooks.
Circle hooks work really well when using bait. They also help in not gut hooking fish as more often than not a circle hook will hook a fish in the side of the mouth which is the best place to hook them.
Most saltwater fishing can be divided out into three distinct types of fishing offshore, surf and inshore within each of those there are a huge number of different species to target.
However, a heavy offshore rig would not make the best inshore fishing setup and getting your tackle correctly matched to the species you target and techniques you will be using is a crucial component to your success.
That, and a little luck!
When looking at choosing an inshore setup most anglers will opt to purchase an all rounder that can be used for various different locations and different types of lures.
Personally I think to get the very best from your inshore fishing two highly targeted setups are best, one light and one slightly heavier.
Light setup – 7 foot medium power rod with a fast action and 8 lbs line, suited to jigging, drop shotting and light close quarters casting for smaller sub 5 lbs specks or redfish.
Heavier setup – 7’6″ medium/heavy power rod with a fast action and 10 to 12 lbs line for heavier lure work and longer casting when sight fishing on flats.
If I had to choose one it would be the heavier setup as I do little small jig work and the longer rod will always have the better casting performance.
Inshore Fishing Setup
A rod length of at least 7′ is prefer ed if possible 7’6″ when fishing inshore.
As a general rule you when fishing grass flats for example the chances of you getting right up to school of redfish or speckled trout is quite rare and you will be casting from distance more often than not.
Longer rods cast longer distances and they will also allow you to pick up any slack line in your system when you go to set the hook.
If you go with a shorter rod of about 6’6″ in length and then switch to a longer rod of 7’6″ the difference in usability will feel like night and day.
Longer rods are just better.
The only real exception is if you are skipping smaller lures around tight docks. Then a shorter inshore spinning rod makes a little more sense as they are a bit more accurate when fishing close up.
Power wise a medium/heavy power rod is usually the best power rating to go for.
These rods will be rated for line in the 10 to 20 lbs range. Whereas a medium power rated rod is suitable for lines in the 8 to 17 lbs range.
In my experience 8 lbs line is a little bit too light.
A fast action is always the correct choice. Fast action rods have better sensitivity and will allow you to set the hook quicker.
There are many different types of reels available but for inshore work either a spinning reel or baitcaster should be sufficient.
Depending on whether you choose a spinning or casting setup the kind of reel that you choose should be suitable for the line that you will be using.
For monofilament line in the 10 to 12 pound range a size 3000 inshore spinning reel or size 30 baitcaster reel.
For heavier lines a size 4000 as it will have a larger spool and bigger line capacity.
Low profile baitcasters that are common in the freshwater bass fishing world are usually not suitable as they are not very well sealed.
Salt water can wreak havoc with a reel so it’s need to have a very tightly sealed reel housing and drag system.
Suitable brands are Penn, Shimano and Abu Garcia, all of which make purpose built saltwater spinning reels.
Braid, fluorocarbon or monofilament? Every angler has their favorite.
When selecting a line for your inshore setup understanding the attributes of each type of line is important.
Mono has some built in stretch to it whereas braid and fluorocarbon does not stretch that much.
Braid is not very good at standing up to sharp objects whereas mono is quite abrasion resistant.
The best line weights for an inshore fishing setup is 10 lbs mono or 20 lbs braid.
Inshore fishing gives you access to a large variety of fish species and fishing styles whether that’s using bait or working lures in and around structures or other features where fish are likely to be found.
Pairing the right spinning reel with a suitable rod with the correct power rating and action will allow you to make pin point casts especially on lighter setups.
Whilst a baitcaster may excel at casting larger lures long distances a spinning reel will normally perform better for closer range work or if using lighter lures or bait rigs.
A good inshore spinning reel will be a size 3000 to 5000 from a high quality brand that is designed for saltwater fishing
Fishing reels need to be capable of standing up to the harsh environment that fishing in the sea imposes on your gear.
Salt is highly corrosive and can wreck the internal gears of a reel if it is allowed to penetrate the reel housing.
Although you could use a freshwater reel unfortunately they do not have the same level of protection from salt water.
The Revo Inshore a better sealed version of the popular Revo series of spinning reels from Abu Garcia.
It is a beefed up version of the Revo that is built with to better handle the corrosive nature of fishing at sea.
Available in four sizes a 30, 35, 40 and a 60 with the smaller models up to the size 40 being suitable for inshore work and the 60 for more targeted work with larger species in mind.
The Revo range of spinning reels are know to be really good casting reels and the Inshore version is no different.
You get a machined aluminum braid ready spool which combined with the Rocket Line Management system lays your line down evenly on the previous layers of line allowing for a big reduction in backlashes and much better casting performance.
On the smaller 30 and 35 size models Abu have used their Insert molded C6(IM-C6) body design to help reduce weight for better all day use.
On the larger 40 and 60 size they have used an all-aluminum body for better strength and reduced body flexing which is often the cast with bigger reels.
A Carbon Matrix drag system ensures smooth operation even under very high loads when you are hooked into larger fish.
Machined aluminum internal gear and 6 corrosion resistant bearings make for a really smooth running reel even when under a lot of pressure from larger species.
The sixth model in the much loved Spinfisher series from Penn is one of the highest quality that they have ever designed.
Penn are well known in the sea fishing world in particular their line of offshore reels like the stunning Penn International, they also have a big presence in the spinning reel market with the Spinfisher, Clash, Fierce and the massive Penn slammer which is used for really heavy spinning setups.
The Spinfisher is their high performance reel for smaller inshore spinning gear and it is one hell of a workhorse.
From beach casting to shorter pier or sight casting over flats the Spinfisher can handle just about anything you can throw at it.
Just like the Stradic above the main selling point of the Spinfisher is just how well it is sealed and the internals are protected from water and grit/sand.
The drag is also considerably beefy and Penn use a number of drag washers to almost double the maximum drag.
The line starts at a 2500 and tops out at a size 10500, for inshore work however a size 3500 is ideal or a 4500 if you are throwing heavier lures or beach casting long distances as the extra capacity on the spool will be necessary.
The Saltist line of spinning reels from Daiwa have gained massive popularity anglers and now with the Back Bay LT they have adapted it for inshore use specifically.
The Lt stands for light and tough which is exactly what you need for all day casting when fishing inshore.
As of now there are only two models available a 3000 and a 4000
Both reels have a drag rating of 15 lbs and the 4000 model has a 30% or so larger line capacity than the smaller 3000, there is roughly about .7 of an ounce in weight difference between the two.
They have an all aluminum body, 6 + 1 bearings and a waterproof carbon fiber Magsealed drag system.
The Magseal does away with traditional washers or gaskets and instead uses a magnetized main shaft that is coated with MagOil Nanofluid which seals the reel extremely well but also makes it run really smooth.
Just like the Revo Inshore the Back Bay LT has a machined aluminum spool that comes braid ready so no need for monofilament backing.
The 3000 will hold 170 yards of 20 lbs braid and the 4000 will hold 240 yards of 20 lbs braid.
Your safest bet when choosing an inshore spinning reel is to always stick to the top brands and their mid to high end reel offerings.
Although you can get away with a substandard rod a low quality spinning reel for inshore fishing is not going to cut it and you may well end up regretting such a choice.
Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Abu Garcia all produce spinning reels that are designed specifically with inshore usage in mind.
All your reels should be thoroughly rinsed in clean fresh water so that any dried in salt on the exterior of your reel can be washed away.
Over time this salt can become very corrosive and will lead to the operational life of your reel becoming much shorter.
It will also allow for your line to be rinsed free of salt and if you are using a high end line it really is best to keep it as clean as possible.
What Size Reel for Inshore Fishing ?
A good choice of size reel for inshore fishing will be something in the range of a 3000 to a 4000.
If you are casting all day for speckled trout or redfish then chances are that a size 5000 spinning reel would be a little too heavy.
A heavy reel paired with a light weight rod setup would result in the rod becoming unbalanced and your casting performance would start to suffer.
Generally speaking inshore spinning rods will have a medium or medium/heavy power rating and pair well with a size 3000 or 4000 reel.
You will probably want to hold at least 200 yards of 10 or 15 lbs rated line.
3000 or 4000 Spinning Reel?
For most anglers the difference between a 3000 or 4000 spinning reel will barley be noticeable unless.
The easiest way to decide is on what size reel matches you line. Always check the line capacities for the braking strain and type of line that you intend to use.
Braid is roughly half the diameter of the equivalent monofilament so make sure to double check.
How Much Drag do you Need for Inshore Fishing ?
As a general rule the drag should be set to roughly 20% to 30% of the line that you are using. So if you are using 10 lbs mono for light inshore spinning then a drag setting of roughly 3 lbs would apply.
If doing some heavier inshore spinning then you may go up as high as 20 lbs at a maximum and this would need roughly 6 lbs of drag.
Most angers are surprised by how little the drag setting should be. When using light line in the 10 to 15 lb range you don’t need that much.
G Loomis are known for building some very high end rods particularly in the salmon and Steelhead world, one particular line of rods the E6X gives you access to their superior technologies at a mid-range price point.
The E6X Inshore line as the name suggests is targeted at inshore saltwater fishing and the demands that it puts on both the rod and the hardware.
These rods are a definitely suited to more finesse inshore techniques like small jigs and plastics or throwing small bait rigs under bobbers.
Like all E6X’s the inshore fishing rod series is built on G. Loomis’s multi-taper technology giving a very light yet crisp rod blank that is super sensitive.
If you are looking for a rod that has a lot of feedback through the tip then the E6X is a serious contender.
A medium power rod is rated for line in the 8 to 14 lbs range and lures weights of 3/4 to 1-1/2 ounces which is perfect for lighter close quarters work.