What is Inshore Fishing?

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Inshore and offshore fishing are two different types of fishing that both take place in saltwater. They both require different vessels, fishing gear, and techniques, but what defines inshore and offshore fishing? In this article, we will be answering the question, “what is inshore fishing” and going over the differences between inshore and offshore. We will also be looking at why inshore fishing may be the better option for beginners, anglers on a budget, and the type of kit you need for both. Enjoy!

What Defines Inshore Fishing?

Inshore fishing takes place in saltwater close to land or on land at depths of no more than 30 meters. For the experienced angler, fishing inshore is a matter of personal preference as a different style of fishing is used at such shallow depths. You will also find different species when inshore fishing as opposed to offshore which can be a determining factor when an angler is deciding to take the boat out into the open ocean or stay on or close to land to fish shallow waters.

Inshore fishing takes place in much calmer waters, so the fisherman’s requirements are much less than offshore fishing. A smaller vessel is fine in these conditions as there is less risk of danger in such calm, shallow water. The size of the fish that will be targeted in these areas are also much smaller than the fish you may encounter in the open ocean so lighter rods, reels, and nets are needed in comparison.

Inshore fishing can take place on the bank, on the beach, or from a small boat so it is generally a lot cheaper and easier to start fishing saltwater. An extended knowledge of navigation is not needed as much as if you were heading out into the open ocean and as a general rule, it will be much easier to find feeding fish in waters close to land. It is unlikely that the larger trophy species will venture into waters under 30 meters in depth but the variety of species and overall diversity in a small area can be much greater when inshore fishing (depending on where you are in the world).

If you are the group of friends or the family that wants a relaxing day out at sea fishing, then inshore fishing is the perfect option for you. You can easily head out on the water or sit on the shoreline to fish, make food, and spend quality time with the people around you. When you are out in the open ocean trawling or sitting anchored in choppy waters it is much less easy to relax, have lunch and enjoy a social trip with friends and family.

Overall, inshore fishing requires less fishing gear, a smaller boat, and less determination and hardship over offshore fishing. It is the perfect place to start for someone with limited knowledge of the open ocean, limited funds for their fishing setup, and someone that is looking to build their confidence fishing in saltwater. Usually, saltwater anglers start fishing as beginners in depths of bellow 30 meter either from the shoreline or from a small boat. When their confidence and determination grows, they end up venturing further afield to target big game and trophy catches.

What Defines offshore Fishing?

Offshore fishing takes place in saltwater at depths of over 30 meters. When you take a boat out to these depths’ life becomes more difficult and your skill level needs to be much greater. Not only does the species of fish and their size change but your navigation skills, fishing style, and safety concerns do as well. When fishing offshore your opportunities increase and you are more likely to hook into the fish of a lifetime, but extensive knowledge of the ocean and navigation are needed to track down feeding fish. If you head out offshore with no direct plan of attack you are set out to fail as the open water is a vast and cruel beast.

When you are heading out into open water for some offshore fishing it is likely that you will be targeting big game, trophy catches, shark, and other large species. When you are targeting such colossal fish the weight of rod, reel, and fishing line has to increase dramatically. You will also likely use some different techniques compared to what one may use while inshore such as long-distance trawling. The boat you take offshore will be massively different from a boat suited for inshore fishing as well. You will need something that can take a beating and endure the sea, with enough room to comfortably accommodate a group of anglers, all their rods, fishing tackle, and navigation equipment.

Although you are more likely to catch a huge haul offshore there are so many variables and it is not uncommon to head out for the day in the boat and come back empty-handed. With inshore fishing, you are unlikely to catch anything huge, but you have more chance of putting a fish in the boat. Due to the intensity that offshore fishing can bring it is also harder to relax when fishing out at sea. You must always be on the ball to make use of the next opportunity and make sure you are fishing effectively, so don’t expect a relaxing trip when offshore fishing as it is about determination, endurance, and chasing the big one!

If you are heading out for a social while fishing, then offshore fishing is not the ideal way to do it. However, if you are the group of friends that love chasing big hauls and trophy catches then the passion and buzz you get when a big fish is on the line is a great way to share your time. Enduring cold conditions, choppy water, or miles of trawling can put a strain on a family but if you are with a group of keen anglers, it can bring you together while enjoying the experience. It is safe to say that offshore fishing is not for everyone, but if you love fishing and enjoy hunting the big ones, then the excitement you get from heading out into the open ocean is incomparable.

Overall, offshore fishing is for the angler that wants to take there fishing to the next level and target big game and huge fish. It is not for the faint hearted and it is certainly not for everyone but the excitement you get when you are hooked up to something huge for an hour or more in the open ocean is something you will never forget. It is not exactly the relaxing fishing trip that most people have in mind but more of an adrenaline-fuelled sporting practice where you could catch the fish of a lifetime.

Why is Inshore Fishing a Good Place to Start for the Beginner?

Perhaps you have never fished before and you live near a coastline that is full of fish, or you have fished for bass, musky, and catfish in freshwater and feel it is time to take your fishing expertise to saltwater. If either of these are you, then you will need a place to start before heading out into the open ocean to target marlin, sailfish, tuna, and shark. Inshore fishing is the perfect way to get into the world of saltwater fishing and it can be as simple as getting a hold of some saltwater kit and heading to the coast for fish from land.

Inshore fishing gives you the ability to start catching saltwater species without the troubling demands of navigation, the open ocean, and complicated fishing styles. You can head out to the coast either on land or from a boat with limited knowledge and start catching fish quickly. This means you can build your confidence and skills fast and start to progress to new locations, boat fishing, and eventually offshore fishing.

Inshore fishing is a gentle way to get into saltwater fishing as it allows you to relax and take it easy while learning the ropes and improving your skills on the sea. It is also budget-friendly, and you need nothing more than a rod, reel, and a bit of tackle to get started. Renting a boat to fish inshore is also cheap as you don’t need anything too large with something as simple as a rowing boat with an outboard good enough for some locations. As well as hiring being cheap, buying a boat that is suitable for inshore fishing doesn’t have to be expensive either. A reliable second-hand boat can be picked up relatively cheaply and learning to use it is simple.

The other benefit of getting into saltwater fishing inshore as the beginner is timing. Even if you are heading out in the boat for inshore fishing you can control the length of your trip which is essential for the beginner. When you are just starting out fishing you probably don’t want to spend long 12 hour days in the boat in all-weathers, so inshore fishing is ideal because you can head out for as little or as long as you want. The only thing determining when you get home is how far you walk the coastline or how far you head out in the boat, whereas, if you are offshore fishing you will likely be a couple of hours from land at least.


To conclude, inshore fishing is when you either fish from land or in a boat close to the coast at depths of no more than 30 meters. Offshore fishing is when you take a boat out to sea to fish depths of 30 meters or more. Inshore fishing requires less kit, less money, and less knowledge to get started and it is the perfect way for the beginner to get into saltwater fishing. You can get out for a day or even a couple of hours and catch a diverse array of fish species however if it is big game and trophy catches you are looking for, then offshore fishing gives you the best chances.

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