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What Is Inshore Fishing? — Detailed Answers

What Is Inshore Fishing? — Detailed Answers
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Whether you’re a pro or amateur in the world of fishing, one term that would definitely crop up at one point or the other, especially when fishing in open waters, is inshore fishing. 

Should you ask different people what this means, you’ll most likely get slightly varying answers. This can be confusing, but that’s what this article is set to solve with a good and relevant definition.

So, what is inshore fishing?

Inshore fishing means fishing in saltwater that is less than 30 meters in depth. Because these types of fishing areas are usually close to the shoreline, we can understand why some people tend to describe inshore fishing as fishing close to the shore.

Of course, if there is inshore fishing, then that means outshore fishing exists, which generally means fishing in water that is over 30 meters deep. 

Now you might wonder, which is better? Neither is actually better than the other. This is because your choice will largely depend on your interests and preferences at a particular time.

That being said, it is important to know the peculiarities of each of these kinds of fishing so that you can make the right choice and be well-equipped with the appropriate materials and tools.

Image by Volker Lekies from Pixabay

Inshore Fishing vs. Outshore Fishing

What are the differences between inshore fishing and outshore fishing?


Inshore fishing is more beginner and kid-friendly. This is because the waters are shallower and calmer, making it easier for someone who is just starting out to ease into the world of fishing. Plus, it is suitable for those who may suffer from seasickness and who love to fish without venturing into rougher waters.

Fishing inshore is also more leisurely in nature and great for a family adventure. You get to do a lot of casting (more practice for beginners) and even compete over who has the highest number of catches. Even when fishing alone, you can gun towards beating your personal record of number of fish caught.

It is also great for a quick fishing trip, as you don’t have to travel far out into the water before you get fish.

However, if you are looking for a tougher challenge then outshore fishing is the way to go because it is more vigorous and intense and typically involves fewer number of people. Of course, if you’re using a boat that is fitted with lots of comfort and convenience, it can be an enjoyable venture too, even for beginner anglers and kids.

With respect to time, outshore fishing requires more time than inshore fishing to get to your fishing location, set bait, troll fishing spots, circle around, and reel in your catch (prepare to struggle with the fish here). So, you need to make an allowance of at least 8 hours for that.

What is inshore fishing?
Image by Khalid Mehmood from Pixabay


Inshore fishing takes place within a few miles from the shoreline, or in saltwater that is less than 30 meters deep. This point might vary across different waters due to differences in geography. But anything above that 30 meter mark for depth and you’re already crossing over to outshore fishing territory, which is above 30 meters and usually between 20 to 50 miles offshore.

Boat Type and Size

When fishing inshore, smaller boats are enough to get the job done as the water close to shore is quite tame. For this, think canoes, runabouts, kayaks, motorboats, and the likes.

Outshore fishing has different requirements, and since you’re going into deeper and rougher waters, you would need a larger vessel with more features to handle the water. Cabins with temperature control and home-like conveniences would make it easier, as you’ll be spending a good chunk of your day at sea, so put this in mind when you want to buy or charter a fishing boat.

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Tools Required

Less is more with inshore fishing as light tackle like small nets, light rods, etc. are enough to get the job done. Outshore fishing, on the other hands, requires heavier tools and equipment because the fishes offshore are generally bigger, faster and harder to catch and reel in.

A boat radio and emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) are also legally required once you’re going 2 nautical miles offshore, just in case you get into a fix. There’s also more dependence on weather technology, fish finders, radars, and sonar. This is because the fishes in the deep sea are more dispersed, further away from the surface and more susceptible to changes in season and weather conditions than inshore fishes. More so, because more safety is required for outshore fishing these tools become necessary to monitor the weather, look out for storms, and decide how far out to go.

Note that while one is milder than the other, both inshore and outshore fishing require great care and attention to safety.

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Fish Volume and Variety

Another major difference between inshore and outshore fishing is the type and quantity of fish you catch.

For inshore fishing, you can expect to catch a large amount of fish within a few hours, say 4 to 6 hours. Some common species that are usually caught during inshore fishing include speckled trout, flounder, snapper, redfish, tarpon snook and striped bass.

If you’re looking to catch a trophy fish however, outshore fishing is your best bet. You won’t catch a ton, in fact 2 to 4 is usually considered a good number after a long day at deep sea, but you would have big game that can’t be found inshore. Common outshore species include amberjack, wahoo, mahi mahi, tuna, sharks, and marlin.


Both inshore and outshore fishing are worth the time, energy and investment put into them, and each makes for a great and enjoyable experience in its own way.

At the end of the day, whichever you choose to do will depend on your preferences and available resources. Consider the peculiarities of each one and weigh the pros and cons.

More so, who says you can’t do both at different times, depending on which you feel up to and the conditions at that point? So whether inshore or outshore fishing, go ahead and fish away to your heart’s content.

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