What Is Inshore Fishing? Comparing It With Offshore Fishing To Help You Plan Your Next Catch

fish bait

Visiting coastal areas of the world are enjoyable for a lot of reasons, but for the person who likes to fish there are so many types of fish to catch, and that prospect is exciting! For the most part, you can hook all the fish in the world in one of two ways, inshore fishing, and offshore fishing. What is inshore fishing and how does it compare with offshore fishing.

What Is Inshore Fishing?

someome fishing

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In short, if you are fishing within 30-miles of the shoreline, then you're inshore fishing. That means fly fishing, hanging out on a bridge, in your canoe, or rowboat is all considered inshore fishing. Anything that heads out farther on the water, that’s another case entirely. 


There are significant differences between inshore and offshore fishing, and which one you choose can make an impact on your experience, good or bad. While the short answer is the mileage, there is much more that divides one from the other.

30-Miles In


Specific details of your fishing trip will change drastically depending on that one marker. 

Location

Inshore fishing is the only one of the two that offers the option to fish while in a boat or with your feet firmly planted on the ground. For example, fly fishing is a sport that might bring the sight of people standing in the river, sometimes waist high in waders, casting their lines into a slow running stream. 

If you have ever fished from beaches, piers, jetties, a coastline layered in rocks, hanging out in mangroves, estuaries (where fresh and saltwater meet), or flats then you have been inshore fishing. There are benefits to the location. While you fish, you are closer to land and able to get to shelter easier. Fishing like this is a nice add on to a camping trip. 

Some inshore fishing fans head out from the beach. There is still that 30-miles of water that you can’t possibly reach by foot, so a simple craft is needed. Fishing from these vessels is also inshore fishing. While you are on a floating receptacle, your proximity to land is much better than the offshore boats. 

Time

Most trips that involve inshore fishing can be done in a few hours and don’t take much planning because you aren’t traveling the same distance as an offshore charter that heads way out to sea. 

Equipment

boat

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In this category, there is quite a bit of contrast between inshore and offshore fishing. When it comes to inshore fishing, everything you need runs on the small side. 

Boats

There are certain types of fishing that don’t require a boat, but for the kinds of inshore that do, these boats are small. They include the following:

  • Motorboats
  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Jon boats
  • Rowboats
  • Small sailing vessels
Technology

Besides your phone and earbuds, you don’t need much more for this type of fishing. If you are planning on heading out to that 30-mile point in a boat, then having a radio to reach shore might be a good idea, but for the most part, inshore fisherman can skip this category altogether. 

There are trackers available, even though some sporters don’t use them, for bass and other types of inshore fish. 

Rods

The type of rod you will use will be much different in this sport than its counterpart that takes your farther away from shore because the fish you will catch inshore tend to be smaller, so the equipment you use reflects that. 

Rods available for this type of fishing are diverse but, if you like to visit various locations, a travel rod made from graphite is an excellent choice. 

Tackle

What you put at the end of your line differs in many ways. The environment you fish in plays a part as well as what type of fish you are going to catch. Lures and tackle tend to be light when it comes to inshore fishing. 

Those who are fishing enthusiasts and tend to stay inshore can use live or dead bait. They also might use lures made from metal or even plastic. You also need a box for lurehooksremovers, and line storage. 

Weather

One of the best things about keeping your fishing close to shore is your ability to get under shelter when the weather gets bad. You can plan inshore fishing trips more times per year and more often. 

Cost

Fun costs money like everything else, so fishing is no different. With inshore fishing, your expenses tend to be a bit less. You don’t have to charter a boat if you don’t want to. The equipment is smaller so putting gas in that motorboat will cost less than the type of boat you need to catch a marlin. 

The fact is because inshore requires shorter distances and can be planned for short time slots plus involves materials that tend to meager in comparison to offshore fishing, everything will cost a little less.  

Variety And Size

We can’t list all the fish you can catch while fishing inshore but a few that are popular are the speckled trout, flounder, and redfish found off the coasts of Louisiana in the southern United States, and bluefish and striped bass on the east coast of Massachusetts.

How Does Offshore Differ?

people fishing

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Just as inshore is small, offshore fishing is much bigger, in more ways than one. This type of fishing takes commitment, and you can go hours before you even get a bite. Still, it is fun and exciting. You can expect the trip to differ from your inshore vacations.

30-Miles Out


Once you hit that 30-mile marker on an ocean or one of the more mammoth lakes of the world, like the Great Lakes in the middle of the United States, you are in a whole new world. 

Location

Once you pass that divide, you will probably head to an area where you will lose sight of any land. Some people love to be surrounded by a vast amount of water, which is both exhilarating and intense. 

Typically, chartered boats stay within another limit, which is 130-miles from the land. Once you go farther, you are taking a higher risk and might even be leaving the protected waters of that country. Before you head out, it is essential to plan your course. 

Time

Most trips on sporting boats that head far out take anywhere from 12-72 hours, which means more packing and planning is involved. 

Equipment

man fishing

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You probably already suspect that this category is going to vary significantly from the inshore fishing list we’ve put together and you are correct. Just as things are small with coastal sporting, when you head farther out, everything, including the fish, starts to get bigger. 

Boats

If you try to take any of the ships used for inshore fishing out past that 30-mile marker you might get into trouble and to be honest, it would be a fantastic feat of strength to catch a white sea bass while balancing in a kayak. Special boats are designed specifically for this type of sport. 

Technology

Ships like this come with all kinds of equipment you might not find on an inshore fishing vessel. Typically they are outfitted with built-in coolers, live wells, and fish boxes. They also come with a fighting chair, a flybridge, high powered engines, and outriggers.

Some inshore fishing boats have a lot of gear but, when you head far out, you also need chirp sonaropen radar for night fishing, and an excellent working radio to call shore. These types of boats tend to have XM satellite radio for weather updates

Rods

The fish you catch offshore are more massive, so the rods are made to withstand the fight. You can purchase rods created for definitive species, like a marlin

Tackle

You can use lures or live bait to catch these fish, and odds are the charter you book will be able to help you obtain that. Other devices can help you with your game including in-line planer board releases or weight clips

Weather

Unlike inshore fishing, the weather dictates when you can go out. Do your research and know the weather patterns of the area you want to visit. Plan it at a time of year where your chances are more significant to get out there. If the weather goes bad and a cancellation happens, you’ll save money but miss out on the experience of a lifetime. 

Cost

Because this sport requires bigger boats, longer distances, possible overnight stays, and much more equipment and planning, the price is higher than it’s shoreline equivalent. 

Variety And Size

Some of the fish you can plan on catching, depending on the location you choose to have your adventure, include grouper, amberjack, yellowfin tuna, king mackerel, halibut, and haddock.

The Bottom Line

Which type you choose depends on what kind of experience you want. Inshore fishing offers fun for the whole family and doesn’t cost as much. Offshore fishing is less hands-on, that is until a shark grabs your line.


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