Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing – What’s The Difference?

Inshore vs Offshore Fishing

Inshore vs. Offshore Fishing

For all the folks new to charter fishing, you may ask, “What is the difference between inshore and offshore fishing?” Well, no problem because we are here to help you understand!

Of course, The main difference between the two is the depth of the water at the fishing location. In ocean or seawaters, inshore fishing is within a few miles from the shore. Estuaries and bays are popular inshore fishing spots as well. Offshore fishing is far from the shore, typically 20-30 miles out, in waters hundreds and thousands of feet deep.

Other than fishing locale, there are six criteria that help differentiate the two.

1.) The Boat

Inshore: small motorboats, canoes, and kayaks

Offshore: large sports fishing boats

2.) Weather

Inshore: consistent fishing year-round even with significant seasonal changes

Offshore: weather and time of the year often dictates what type of fish you will catch

3.) Expense of Fuel & Supplies

Inshore: shorter distances and durations, smaller boats and fish

Offshore: longer distances and durations (often overnight), larger boats & fish (more ice required)

4.) Tackle

Inshore: light tackle, live and dead bait

Offshore: heavy-duty equipment, large heavy bait

5.) Electronic Equipment

Inshore: While tracking devices are important with inshore fishing, it is minimal compared to that of offshore fishing.

Offshore: Includes 74-mile open radar (allows for travel and fishing at night), XM Satellite Radio & Weather, Chirp Sonar (technology used specifically for recreational fishing).

6.) Variety & Size of Fish

Inshore: Smaller varieties such as speckled trout, flounder, redfish (drum and sheepshead)

Offshore: Larger fish such as grouper, amberjack, mako sharks, blackfin, yellowfin, wahoo, marlin, cobia, snapper, dorado, king mackerel.

Difference Between Inland fishing and deep sea fishing?

Deep sea fishing differs in the size of the boat and tackle. Whereas inland fishing can be accomplished with deep-sea tackle, it is much more difficult to fish in the ocean with inland, fresh-water tackle. Saltwater fish tend to have bigger, sharper teeth than freshwater fish, and that is why you see a lot of stainless steel leaders being used. Saltwater fish also tend to weigh more than freshwater fish (species-dependent, of course), setting the requirement for heavier lines, stouter fishing rods and bigger reels to handle the bigger line. I went fishing on a chartered boat once in an area known to have marlin, and the line in the reel was made from lead-filled stainless steel wire!

Fishing pressure has prompted freshwater line manufacturers to engineer stealthily-colored line, which helps an angler present a more natural-looking bait. Deep-sea fishing happens in deeper (obviously) water, where it takes a larger-than-average boat to SAFELY get to the fish (you have to deal with waves and wakes from any passing ships), which decreases the fishing pressure and therefore the requirement for stealthy line. So, that stainless steel line isn’t as much a hindrance as it would be for a freshwater fish.

Finally, the baits are completely different, but the matching is the same. Find out from your charter what types of baits you’ll be using, as they’ll know what helps you catch fish (and keeps people coming back). You can get away with a synthetic worm in a coastal area, and around a reef. Since nearly every saltwater fish pursued by anglers is a carnivore, generally squid, bait fish like ballyhoo, herring and mullet, shrimp, clams, and cut bait are the norm. Artificials that match any bait fish, eels or squid are common as well.

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I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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