Inshore vs Offshore Fishing: Which is Right for You?

Thomas Krik

Written by

Thomas Krik

Marc Lowe


Marc Lowe

inshore vs offshore fishing

Choosing between inshore vs offshore fishing can be challenging as both experiences are unique. While offshore fishing means going as far as 15miles to more than 60 miles for large fish, inshore fishing means enjoying the activity within 10 miles of the shore.

The choice of which excursion you prefer, offshore vs. inshore, will depend on your skills and preferences. Let’s examine what each of these fishing options offers so you can decide which trip is best.

To help you understand the difference, the comparison table below highlights the distinction between inshore and offshore fishing.

  Inshore fishing Offshore fishing
Types of fish Tarpon, sardines, and bonefish. Almaco Jack, Bigeye Tuna, Dolphinfish, and Gray Triggerfish.
Boat size Small boats (smaller than 22 feet long) Bigger boats and equipment (larger than 22 feet)
Distance from the shore Conducted within 10 miles (15 km) from the shore. Conducted over 15 – 60 miles (24 – 96km) from the shore.
Water depth 50 feet >50 feet deep
Number of people Can be done by one to six people. It can be done by 12 to 16 people.
Ideal fishing time Best during the warmer months. You can fish anytime.


1. Inshore Fishing


Fishing in the ocean from close to the shore is defined as inshore fishing. It suits people that are prone to seasickness. In fact, inshore fishing is an activity around 10 – 15 miles from the shore or closer to catching fish at a depth of 50 feet.

Some people view inshore fishing as difficult due to underwater vegetation and rocks.

2. Offshore Fishing


So, what is considered offshore fishing? Offshore fishing, by definition, is deep sea/ ocean fishing. It happens more than 20 miles from the beach or coastline. You will need a bigger boat if you want to try offshore fishing.

Indeed, you will catch bigger fish on a long offshore fishing trip, as the water depth there is more than 50 feet.

Difference Between Inshore Fishing Vs. Offshore Fishing

For you to decide which fishing excursion you will try, you need to know the difference between inshore fishing vs offshore.

1. Fish Species


As highlighted earlier, different types of fish are found in inshore and offshore waters. In offshore waters, there are exotic and big types.

In coastal waters, on the other hand, you will find small and common fish types. Here is a comparison table of the types of fish you can find in inshore and offshore waters.

Inshore waters Offshore waters
Atlantic Croaker Almaco Jack
Black Sea Bass Bigeye Tuna
Cobia Dolphinfish
Florida Pompano Gray Triggerfish
Inshore Lizardfish Knobbed Porgy
King Mackerel Sailfish
Little Tunny Sharks
Pigfish Swordfish
Stingrays White Marlin
Spanish Mackerel Yellowtail Snapper

2. Shore Distance


How many miles from the shore is acceptable in inshore fishing? Inshore fishing is done within 15 to 20 kilometers (10 miles) of the coast. If you go further than that, you will now be doing offshore fishing.

You are probably wondering how far is offshore fishing. Fishing at a minimum depth of 50 feet and over 15 miles from the shore is known as offshore fishing.

3. Boat Size


Since you don’t go into deep waters while inshore fishing, you only need a small size boat (17 to 20 feet). You can have a good time fishing inshore with kayaks or canoes, thus rather easy and affordable to prepare.

On the other hand, offshore fishing boats should be big and fit to go to the deep seas, measuring about 22 feet to more than 30 feet).

Furthermore, when going inshore fishing, your required equipment include:

  • Fishing rod: 7 – 7.5 feet long
  • Fishing reel
  • Live baits

However, offshore fishing requires more gear and equipment as you might go for days far from shore:

  • Fishing rods and reels: shooter than 7 feet for short-range cast
  • Fish net
  • Long-nose pliers and braid scissors to cut the wire
  • Fishing knives
  • Lures and baits
  • Binoculars

4. Pros and Cons

1. Inshore Fishing

Inshore fishing, or as it is popularly known as shallow water fishing, has several advantages and disadvantages, as highlighted below.

  • Requires less equipment like fishing rods and bait
  • Convenient for many users due to its closeness to the shore
  • Suitable for beginners and people who get seasick
  • Only takes a little bit of time to fish.
  • High probability of catching much fish
  • Hard to catch a trophy fish
  • Might encounter vegetables and rocks
  • Might be bumpy when the wind comes

2. Offshore Fishing

Most people prefer offshore fishing due to the many advantages that come with it. However, there are several drawbacks that people experience with this fishing type. Let us explore the benefits and drawbacks.

  • Get to see rare and exotic marine life
  • Types of fishing equipment are more advanced in technology
  • Suitable for large numbers of people
  • Can avoid rocks, underwater plants when fishing
  • Quite expensive: a big boat and many pieces of equipment.
  • Fishing trips can depend on weather
  • Takes time and preparation

Which is Right for You?


Which is better will solely depend on your current skill, the fish you want to catch, and your preferred experience on the sea.

  1. Fishing in the ocean from far from the shore can be an exciting and thrilling experience while fishing big exotic fish. They are ideal if you want to go far with many people, catching fish for several days.
  2. If you want to catch small fish near the shore or are afraid of deep waters, inshore fishing is the better option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Is The Best Time And Weather Condition To Go Fishing?

The optimum times for saltwater fishing are before sunrise or dusk if the weather and tides are agreeable. It is preferable to go fishing when there is an incoming tide because that is when most crustaceans, baitfish, etc., will be moving toward the shore.

U.S. residents should go offshore fishing during summer. You can also catch crabs and other fish species during the spring season.

Is A Fishing License Required For Inshore Or Offshore Fishing?

You will be required to have a license when offshore fishing, especially if you are doing so on a private boat. So, you will have two licenses, one for the vessel and the other for fishing.

On the other hand, inshore fishing should be licensed if you have a boat. You don’t require any other licensing.

How Can I Ensure My Safety While Fishing Inshore Or Offshore?

It is easy to get hurt either during inshore or offshore fishing. But to ensure you are safe, you should:

  1. Avoid fishing alone since no one will know when you are in trouble, and help might come too late.
  2. Wear your life jacket at all times when in water.
  3. Ensure the boat is in good condition, especially when going offshore fishing.
  4. Keep fishing equipment like hooks safe and the boat always neat.
  5. Have a first aid kit in your boat.


Choosing between inshore vs offshore fishing should now be easy. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. You can go fishing offline if you are up for an adventure.

But if you get seasick quickly, stick to inshore fishing just around the shores. Also, if you want small fish, there is no point fishing deep seas. You will be guaranteed a good fishing experience, whichever you choose, especially when you go with your buddy!

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