What Is Inshore Fishing? An Ultimate Guide & Compared To Offshore Fishing

What Is Inshore Fishing An Ultimate Guide & Compared To Offshore Fishing

Are you prepared for action on the water? Try inshore fishing instead, then!

What is inshore fishing, first and foremost?

Angler to angler and region to region, inshore fishing can be defined differently. However, any fishing that occurs in waters that are 30 meters deep or less, and frequently much less than that, is generally regarded as being it.

So, it doesn’t really matter how close you are to the shore. If you’re fishing inshore, it really depends more on how deep the water is.

Please continue reading for more information.

What Exactly Is Inshore Fishing?

Let’s clarify what we mean precisely when we talk about inshore fishing before moving on. The majority of the time, it involves fishing in waters that can be anywhere from a few inches to 15–20 feet deep, within a mile or two of shore. Remember that all of the fishing is in saltwater, so this guide won’t cover freshwater fishing.

As opposed to nearshore or offshore fishing, staying close to shore has its benefits. The first benefit of fishing inshore is that you can catch a lot of fish even on a brief trip because it doesn’t take as long to get to the fishing grounds. Additionally, it is important to note that the waters close to the shore are calmer than the vast blue ocean. For those who are prone to motion sickness as well as families with young children, this makes it a better option.

Let’s talk about fish now that the fundamentals have been covered.

Inshore Fish Types

Redfish, also known as reddrum, is one of the most popular species along the east coast, particularly in the southeast. Reds are voracious feeders who spend the majority of the day pursuing and consuming mullet, shrimp, and crabs. Although many lures are used, live mud minnows or chunks of mullet are the best bait. Typically weighing between 5 and 20 pounds, redfish and their cousin, the black drum, can reach much larger weights—some exceeding 50 pounds.

The common and shrimp-loving spotted sea trout are also abundant. In addition, both are excellent choices for dinner. The same is true of flounder. Snook and bonefish are extremely sought-after by expert anglers who frequent inshore waters in Florida and the Bahamas, which are located a little further south.

Going after tarpon, which is not a fish for eating but instead provides excellent sport for anglers who enjoy a tough, challenging fight, is a good option if you’re looking for a little more size and a challenge.

What Sort Of Boat Is Best For Inshore Fishing?

Inshore fishing success is largely dependent on the boat you select. As we previously mentioned, you’ll need a smaller, more maneuverable boat to access inshore areas. Generally, a good inshore fishing boat is about 18 to 25 feet in length, which gives you a manageable size while still maintaining good overall stability.

With offshore fishing, you frequently spend a full day or even several days on the water, but this is not the case with inshore fishing. This implies that you don’t necessarily need the comforts and amenities that offshore boats offer. For instance, it is not necessary to have a sleeping area, and a head (bathroom) is also not necessary. A boat loaded with top-notch fishing features, like a casting platform, rod storage, and a live bait well, is more important than having luxuries like a fridge or canopy, of course.

Which Inshore Fish Species Are The Most Well-known?

Although inshore fish species aren’t as large or showy as the prized Marlin or the flashy Tunas of the deep blue, there is a lot of variety here that keeps anglers coming back for more day in and day out. You’ll have a ton of options, from delicious bottom fish to tough fighters that keep you on your toes. For inshore fishing, these are some of our top picks:


Redfish are by far the most well-liked inshore fish in the US, and they are a crucial component of any productive fishery in the Gulf and Atlantic waters. Due to the distinctive noises they make when spawning, they are also referred to as Red Drum. They are a year-round target, and because they frequent big schools, you might incite a real frenzy.


The preferred inshore bottom feeder of the South, flounder will become your go-to choice when it comes to tasty table fare because of their mild flavor and smooth texture. Even catching flounder requires a specific fishing technique, but we’ll get to that later. If you’ll be fishing on the West Coast, the California Halibut, which are their Pacific cousins, are a fantastic alternative. While flounder can be found all year long, fishing during the winter months won’t be as productive as it is during the rest of the year.

Spotted Seatrout

These fish, also known as speckled trout (or specks), are a popular target for both inexperienced and seasoned anglers. One of your first catches will undoubtedly be a Speck if you decide to begin your inshore fishing expedition somewhere along the Gulf Coast. From spring through fall, when they gather in more shallow waters, is the best time to go after these bad boys.


You’re in the presence of royalty, so dress sharply! As a result of their long leaps and sassy acrobatics, Tarpon, also referred to as “Silver Kings,” have earned the title of true inshore superstars. Every year, thousands of anglers from across the US travel to Florida to test their mettle against these tenacious combatants. Obviously not the best option for your first fishing trip, but keep them in mind for after you’ve made a few trips.


Shark fishing is a surefire way to pique children’s interest in the wonderful sport of fishing. Inshore species like Bonnethead or Blacktip Sharks are frequently encountered and great fun for beginning anglers to pursue. They won’t turn down pretty much anything you put in front of them and aren’t picky eaters either. For the best experience, try to find a charter captain who specializes in family vacations.

What Is Inshore Fishing An Ultimate Guide & Compared To Offshore Fishing
What Is Inshore Fishing? An Ultimate Guide & Compared To Offshore Fishing

Where Are Inshore Fishing Spots?

There are many different options available for inshore fishing. Going where the fish are is always the first step, but it’s often easier said than done. We think inshore anglers will enjoy the following locations and water features the most.

Grass Flats

In flat areas like Florida, grass flats are particularly popular fishing locations. We advise looking for “deep grass flats” or anything that is submerged in water that is between 4 and 10 inches deep. Fish have more opportunities to eat on these deeper flats, which frequently results in better luck for anglers.

Docks & Bridges

You are probably aware that docks and bridges draw a variety of fish, and getting there won’t take too much time. If fishing is permitted from a particular dock or bridge, be sure to pay attention to any signage that specifies this.

Mangrove Shorelines

Redfish and snook can be found in abundance along mangrove shorelines. Mangroves are a great place to go inshore fishing, but it will take some perseverance and local knowledge.


Fish use channels and inlets as sort of underwater highways as they travel from one location to another. This makes for excellent inshore fishing where you can catch a variety of species.


Another excellent choice when looking for a place to fish is an inshore reef, both natural and man-made. Old bridges and building supplies make excellent artificial reef options in areas where natural reefs are rare. See more about What Is Mask Fishing?

What Gear Do You Need For Inshore Fishing?

In comparison to boats used for fishing in deeper water, inshore fishing vessels are typically smaller and equipped with fewer amenities. More specifically, you need a boat that can maneuver into inshore fishing spots that are difficult to get to. There are many popular inshore boats to choose from, but in some cases you might even choose a kayak or canoe.

A rod’s length, power, and action should all be considered when selecting one for inshore fishing. A longer rod (over 6 feet long) is advised for the majority of inshore fishing situations. You can cast farther to approach inshore features like mangroves by adding length. Although a longer rod loses some power, you should be able to handle the inshore fish.

You probably don’t need much in the way of tackle or trolling equipment. Your equipment will inevitably grow bigger and cost more as the water depth increases. Once more, what you bring along ultimately depends on your preferences and skill set.

Get The Right Inshore Fishing Boat From Scout

The revolutionary fuel-saving NuV3 hull design of Scout is the foundation of the 215 XSF, and the deck features plenty of standard amenities for everything from serious fishing to comfortable cruising. The boat, which is made entirely of hand-laid fiberglass, measures 21′ 6″ overall and has a wide, comfortable beam of 8′ 6″. The 215’s forward seating in the bow as well as a forward sun lounge/coffin box with a cushion are notable standard features.

As a complement to the already well-liked 231 XS and 251 XSS, the 231 XSB is our third XS model in the bay boat/inshore lineup. For the comfort of the crew, this model features up to five removable backrests (two receivers forward and three receivers aft), as well as the Scout Post, a new thru-hull bow anchor pole feature that is presently pending patent. On this fishing boat, you can choose between three different leaning posts, two optional aft baitwells, and plenty of rod holders and storage. The 231 XSB shares all the traits of a serious bay boat with our other XS models, in addition to having sexy, aggressive lines and tested high performance.

This 240 XSF is the hottest boat in its class thanks to its sleek lines, innovation, and high performance. This forward seating center console model, which is built on our ground-breaking NuV3 fuel-efficient hull design, is prepared for the open seas while also costing less to fuel. To eliminate the transom splash well and create a level, full-access swim platform for safer access and use, we added a longer outboard shaft to the boat. Aerated transom bait well, fold-away stern seat, forward lounge seating with fish / storage box and overboard pump out, powder coated elite leaning post with cooler, rod and cup holders are just a few of the many standard features that come with this model. LED lighting, including rope lighting and distinctive underside hardtop lights, fold-away stern seat, and powder coated elite leaning post with cooler, rod and cup holders are also included.

The 251 XSS was created as a “hybrid” model that could operate and perform well in both inshore and offshore waters. It has forward seating. This boat’s proud bow, hull design, depth, and freeboard allow it to slice through offshore waves while keeping you dry. It has a draft of about 13 inches for backwater fishing. Large anchor locker, port and starboard lockable rod storage boxes, high performance leaning post with rod holders, transom ladder, and trim tabs are among the features that come as standard.

We have the ideal inshore fishing boat for your unique needs thanks to our extensive inventory of high-quality boats. You’ll discover exactly what you require, whether you need a big boat for deep-sea fishing or a small boat for focusing on intertidal areas.

Inshore Vs. Offshore Fishing

Defining Inshore Vs Offshore Fishing

Any fishing that occurs in waters up to 30 meters deep is considered inshore. Smaller species like snapper, trout, striped bass, tarpon, and snook are caught here. For any skill level, from your child’s first fishing trip to the experienced angler, inshore fishing offers a more consistent experience year-round despite seasonal climate changes.

You are regarded as being “offshore” and in the deep-water fishing zone once you are 30 meters under the surface. Larger species like tuna, marlin, wahoo, and amberjack can be caught here. Offshore fishing trips frequently require a day or overnight commitment and can take you 30 to 130 miles from the coast while you scan the horizon in all directions.

You’ll need a sturdy boat and solid, reliable equipment if you venture this far out into the water.

Boat & Equipment Needs

Inshore vessels are typically small and have few amenities. Your fishing vessel needs aren’t as stringent because the waters there are typically calmer. The small motorboat, kayaks, and canoes are some typical inshore craft that are frequently used to troll the surf line or inlets.

For inshore fishing, you’ll require a lot less gear. Casting will happen more frequently with lighter gear.

Offshore boats are significantly bigger than inshore boats. In order to experience deep sea fishing, anglers are typically taken out on a fishing boat or a sport fishing charter. These boats are usually upgraded with technology, sleeping quarters, ice chests, and even dining areas.

Boat size increases and equipment weight increases as the depth of the water increases. You’ll require heavy tackle and trolling gear in order to reel in those larger fish.

The End

The information on inshore fishing ends here. You should give inshore fishing a try if you enjoy being out on the water. This activity can be enjoyed by those without any prior experience. In the world of fishing, everyone is welcome.

Thank you for reading, and good luck.