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Inshore vs Offshore Fishing

Mark Armstrong
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Whether you’re looking to catch big game fish or a range of saltwater fish, you will probably be wondering whether offshore or inshore fishing is right for you. But what’s the difference?

Both can have their advantages and you’ll probably find that one is more suited to you than the other. So in this guide we’ll look at offshore vs inshore fishing to give you a better idea of what type of fishing might be the most suitable option for you.

Inshore vs Offshore Fishing- Pinterest ImagePin

What Is Inshore Fishing?

Inshore fishing is generally considered as fishing in waters that are less than 98 feet deep or, more specifically, less than 30 meters. It also means that it can include coastal waters up to 9 miles off the coast, as well as intracoastal waterways, bays and estuaries, so it’s generally saltwater.

Where To Go Inshore Fishing

One of the benefits of inshore fishing is that it can be a little more accessible for most people, as there might be less chance of you needing specialist equipment. For example, you could easily fish while standing on the beach or on a pier.

With inshore fishing you might find that you can use similar equipment as you would if you were freshwater fishing, as long as your gear is resistant to corrosion, particularly your reel.

The waters along the East Coast, as well as the Gulf Coast can be popular for inshore fishing because of the abundance of shallow saltwater flats.

What Might You Need

The type of equipment or bait you’ll need will likely depend on the type of fish you plan to catch. Flounder, spotted sea trout and redfish can be common targets among inshore anglers, particularly off the coast of Florida.

Light rods and reels can be useful in these types of waters, and your bait will often be lighter too. Because the water is relatively shallow you won’t tend to need as much line capacity compared to offshore fishing.


kayak can be an ideal vessel for inshore fishing as it can allow you to navigate into shallower areas that larger boats may not be able to access. It can also give you an advantage over anglers casting from the land, as you can have the chance to get closer to the fish.

> Kayak fishing tips

Because inshore fishing will tend to target smaller species of fish compared to offshore fishing, a kayak, canoe or small boat can be useful, as this should allow you to carry all the gear you’ll need

Man on Sit-On-Top Fishing KayakPin

Inshore Pros

  • Can easily be done from land or kayak
  • Less expensive
  • Potential to catch a higher number of fish
  • Not as dependent on weather or seasons
  • Less travel time to reach your fishing hole

Inshore Cons

  • Covers a smaller area
  • Limited to equipment
  • Less chance of catching a trophy fish

What About Offshore Fishing?

Offshore fishing is also known as deep sea fishing, and will tend to be in waters that are more than 98 feet deep. It will usually also mean that you’re fishing at least 9 miles away from the shore.

One of the main differences between inshore and offshore fishing is that you will often have to travel in a pretty sizeable boat for offshore fishing, such as a charter sportfishing boat, as you can often be around 30 miles away from land, if not more.

This also means it can take much longer to reach your fishing destination than if you were inshore fishing and some trips can even last several days.

Because the fish will generally be larger, you might find that a little extra strength is required and perhaps different techniques to reel some of them in, as they can have more weight to put up a greater fight.

Video: Reeling Technique For Tuna

Types Of Fish To Catch

Another noticeable difference between inshore and offshore fishing will likely be the types and sizes of fish you can catch. If you’re in deeper water, you’re more likely to be able to catch some bigger fish compared to fishing in the shallow zones around the coast.

Depending on where you’re offshore fishing, there are likely to be plenty of species of fish to be found. Tuna, marlin, grouper, wahoo, amberjack and shark can be popular targets for offshore anglers.

Because the fish will often tend to be larger, you might find that you will need heavier duty line and gear in general. The bait you use will also often be larger. This may also mean that because your target fish are larger, you will probably catch less of them compared to the number of smaller fish you might catch while inshore fishing.

Offshore Pros

  • Potential for catching big trophy fish
  • More people can join you
  • Greater variety of large deep sea fish
  • Can cover a larger area
  • Chance to use high tech equipment

Offshore Cons

  • Requires a sport fishing boat
  • Can be more expensive
  • May not be as successful in terms of number of fish caught
  • Can take longer
  • Needs more heavy duty gear and often specialist equipment
  • Trips can depend on weather or seasons

Ok, Let’s Wrap This Up…

Now you know the difference you probably have a preference for one or the other. Both inshore and offshore fishing can be good options depending on what you’re looking for in your fishing trip.

Inshore fishing can be more accessible to more people, as many people can fish from the shore hop in a kayak or canoe. With offshore fishing, you will likely need to charter a boat and specialist equipment if you don’t have your own.

Whichever you prefer, remember to have fun, stay safe and leave us a comment to let us know what you catch. And don’t forget to share this with your followers. 

15 thoughts on “Inshore vs Offshore Fishing”

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned how you will need different tools depending on whether you are fishing inshore or offshore. My son is celebrating his birthday soon and he has invited me to go with him on a weekend deep sea fishing trip. Because I want to make sure we know what to bring and what we are doing, I will keep this in mind as we search for fishing guides near us!

  2. It was helpful when you said that there is a better chance of fishing a bigger trophy by going offshore. My dad wants to go fishing before the fall, but he wants to do it at the bay. He will like the idea of catching a bigger fish if we rent a boat and go deeper into the ocean.

  3. My son and I have always enjoyed fishing, and we want to go on a special fishing trip before he goes back to school. We’ve never gone deep sea fishing before, but we don’t own a boat or the proper gear. I’m glad you mentioned that chartering a boat with the proper gear is good for offshore fishing.

  4. It’s great to know that there is plenty of fish to be found when going offshore fishing. My son and I want to go fishing and he wants to find fish that he’s never caught before. I’ll let him know that we’ll go fishing on a boat in open water to get the fish that are new to him.

  5. My husband recently started fishing. He will be interested to know the difference between inshore and offshore fishing. Thank you for your helpful information about fishing.

  6. That’s good to know that you could catch big fish offshore. I always feel like fishing is more fun if you can catch a big one. I should consider getting a boat so that I could go fishing off the shore.

  7. I appreciate the description of how inshore and offshore fishing differ. My brother and I want to go on a big fishing trip together this coming year. We’ll have to talk about what we would most be interested in.

  8. It’s fantastic to learn that you will need to charter a boat if you want to go offshore fishing. My son and I are visiting California soon and we were wondering how we could go fishing while we’re there. I’ll be sure to look for a charter so we could go fishing offshore.

  9. I’m glad you talked about how you can catch big fish offshore. My son and I have never gone deep sea fishing together and we want to make sure we have the proper gear. I’ll have to find a charter boat that can provide us with everything we need to have a good fishing day.

  10. It’s fantastic to learn that you’ll catch bigger fish when going offshore fishing. My son is wanting to learn how to fish and he was wondering where we could catch bigger fish at. I’ll be sure to talk to him about going offshore fishing to catch fish.

  11. It’s great that you talked about fishing charters and what they usually include. Recently, my sister and I decided we want to surprise our families and organize a fishing trip. We think a boat trip could be perfect for our family, so we’ll be sure to look into that. Thanks for the advice on fishing trips and how they come with the right equipment.

  12. It sure was exciting when you said that with offshore fishing, you will be able to catch some bigger fish since you will not fish in the shallow zones around the cost. This is something that I will consider because I would like to go fishing on the 25th to celebrate my birthday with my boyfriend. Since I want to feel the excitement of catching big fish, I will go for offshore fishing trips.


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