Difference Between Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing

Did you know that Louisiana is one of the best states for inshore or inland fishing?

You can catch relatively bigger fish like Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Bass by staying close to the shore. Plus, unlike other states, Louisiana is quite generous when it comes to tags.

You can catch up to five Redfish, twenty-five Trout, a hundred crappie, and ten Bass in a day.

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Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing – The Basics

There is a common tendency for fishermen to stay in their comfort zone and not explore new fishing avenues. For instance, “freshwater” inshore fishermen from Hawaii rarely move out in the deep sea. The same goes for deep-sea fishermen.

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Generally, offshore fishermen are unaware of the intricacies that go into mainland fishing. This post is intended to inform you about the differences between inshore and offshore fishing. I have also compared the two against a common reference.

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Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing: What’s the Difference?


Inshore Fishing

Inshore fishing involves fishing close to the shore in shallow waters.

Generally, fishing that takes place in water no deeper than 30 meters is termed inshore. Mainland fishing (ponds, lakes, and shallow rivers) also comes in this category.

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Below I have discussed some key factors related to inshore fishing:

Boat Type

An inshore fishing vessel is small and compact. It may not have the advanced safety features present in a pontoon or a cuddy cabin boat, but it comes with ample space for a livewell and fishing equipment.

Inshore fishermen prefer smaller and faster boats with greater maneuverability. Kayaks & Canoes, motorboats, dinghies, Jon boats, center consoles, etc. are some of the popular inshore fishing boats.

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Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Fishing equipment

Inshore fishing is done primarily as a hobby or for recreational purposes. Although some anglers do go out prepared to catch as many fish they are legally allowed to.

Shore angling is less about advanced tracking devices such as fish finders, GPS systems, and intuition and observational skills.

Water Depth

Some fishermen identify inshore and offshore fishing territory solely by the depth of water. Generally, a water body with water depth less than or equal to 30 meters is considered offshore territory.

Size of Fish

Inshore fishing is less about the size and more about the volume. Bigger fish don’t swim in shallow waters.

Although medium-sized fish species such as Snapper, Crappie, Trout, and Bass are available for fishermen to catch. On occasions, offshore fishermen get lucky to find big game fish such as Tarpon in shallow water.

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Safety Concerns

Offshore fishing is relatively safer than inshore fishing. Fishermen are advised to check the weather forecast every time they head out in the water.

Offshore Fishing

You are considered to be offshore when you sail away far from the shore in waters deeper than 30 meters. Generally, good offshore fishing spots are 20-50 miles away from the coast.

A productive deep-sea fishing trip would take almost half a day (in some cases more). As offshore fishing is done miles away from the shore, safety and protection of the fishermen and other passengers in the boat become a primary concern.

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Below I have discussed some key factors related to offshore fishing:

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Boat Type

An offshore fishing boat must offer the utmost comfort, safety, and reliability. People seem to get doubly hungry when they are in the ocean. The boat must have enough storage space for drinking water and some snacks for every person on the deck.

Center consoles are considered to be the best boat for deep-sea fishing. They allow you to employ a variety of fishing methods with minimal preparation.

For deep-sea fishing, the boat must be equipped with a livewell or an ice chest. The catch must remain alive till you get to the shore. Usually, fishermen take their share of catch and load them in an ice cooler, for further transportation.

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Fishing equipment

Fishing equipment used for offshore or deep water fishing is heavy-duty and large. Fishfinder, Spinning rods, GPS navigation system, etc. are fundamental accessories needed to catch big game fish.

Trolling is one of the most popular offshore fishing techniques. A fisherman drops multiple lines with heavy bait attached. The setup for trolling is quite intricate. Advanced equipment like outriggers and downriggers can only be connected to an advanced fishing vessel.

We’ve also reviewed some necessary fishing equipment. Read these when you need to buy one.

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Water Depth

The depth of water in offshore fishing is higher than 30 meters. According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average depth of the ocean is about 12,100 feet.

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When you are in the middle of an ocean, only a fish finder can determine the exact depth of water.

Size of Fish

As I mentioned earlier, bigger game fish usually swim in water deeper than 30 meters. With the correct equipment and fishing vessel, an angler can catch fish species such as Amberjack, Blackfin, Grouper, and Sharks.

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An average Grouper fish is typically around 7-feet long and weighs somewhere around 400 pounds.

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Safety Concerns

Deep-sea fishing is more prevalent among fishermen who want to enjoy the company of like-minded people.

Even hobbyists can indulge in this activity if they have a partner experienced in offshore fishing and sailing. The trips are way longer; hence offshore fishing is not suitable for a family.

Apart from that, motion sickness can also be a major problem. Without proper medication available in the boat, the entire day could get ruined easily.

Dramamine is one of the popular over-the-counter medicines for motion sickness.

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Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing Summary

Onshore fishing may not be as adventurous as offshore fishing, but it can be made more enjoyable by involving your family members and friends.

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Likewise, an inland angler can expand his/her comfort zone by heading out to the open sea. Are you new to fishing? Which one are you going to try out first?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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