Inshore vs Offshore Fishing

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 Image

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.


A 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 Kayak

Inshore Pros

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

Inshore Cons

  • times-circle
    Covers a smaller area
  • times-circle
    Limited to equipment
  • times-circle
    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

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

Offshore Cons

  • times-circle
    Requires a sport fishing boat
  • times-circle
    Can be more expensive
  • times-circle
    May not be as successful in terms of number of fish caught
  • times-circle
    Can take longer
  • times-circle
    Needs more heavy duty gear and often specialist equipment
  • times-circle
    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. 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments