July 2, 2019
If you ask 100 Professional Fishing Guides the difference between Inshore and Offshore fishing, you’re bound to get 100 different answers. Especially if those anglers are from across the globe. That’s because every location and body of water has different layout, topography, and drop-off.
In very broad terms: Inshore fishing is closer to the coast, while offshore coast is farther away from the coast. Depending on where you’re fishing determines exactly where that line is. For the Gulf of Mexico, the line is generally 9 miles from the coast. In North Carolina, anglers consider the continental shelf or near the 100 fathom depth to be offshore. Others say that offshore fishing is “when you can’t see land.” For what it’s worth, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) considers offshore at 20 miles from the coast. Another good measure is 30 meters deep, but again that line is different in every body of water.
Getting past the semantics of the “line in the sand” so-to-speak, there are a ton of other variables that help determine which type of fishing is best for your family:
Let’s look at those each individually:
Are you looking for a family friendly adventure? Inshore fishing is by far the better option for families who have younger kids, or first time anglers. The inshore waters are calmer (so not as much seasickness); you do much more casting while inshore compared to offshore (which means less chance to get bored); and there’s less of a time commitment: a good day on the water can be at most 6 hours, but typically only about 4 hours.
That’s not to say offshore fishing isn’t family friendly; It certainly can be a great time! Especially on some boats that are fitted with large galleys and come with all the comforts of home (temperature controlled cabins, full restrooms, spacious seating) – it’s hard to pass on a high-quality offshore fishing adventure. Just know that the price often matches the quality; but it’s worth every penny!
Do you have a time limit? As we mentioned, inshore fishing is typically 4-6 hours long. Offshore fishing is where you really need to consider your time restraints. The more time you have the farther you can go out and spend more time with a bent rod. Typically offshore trips can range from 8 to 12 hours. This is because you’re covering a lot more area: setting bait, trolling in between spots, and then circling back around. It really is quite difficult to experience a proper offshore fishing adventure in just 4 hours (unless you’re in the Florida Keys where you have quick access to the Gulf Stream). We recommend planning at minimum 6 hours; but 8 hours is the typical duration of an offshore trip.
Are you looking to catch a ton of fish? For offshore fishing trips, pulling in three or five fish is considered a good day. That’s because the time it takes to reel in a monster trophy fish could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the species. It’s a much more athletic and rigorous experience, but the results are a great catch and lifetime of fish stories! Inshore fishing usually results in more catches, but that’s simply because you’re able to cast more. It comes with its own excitement in that you’re always trying to beat your PB (Personal Best)!
Do you have a specific fish that you’re looking to catch? Knowing what kind of fish you’re looking to reel in will definitely help narrow down your inshore/offshore options. Inshore offers smaller varieties such as Flounder, Sheepshead, Speckled Trout, Snook, or Redfish. You’ll also be able to use light tackle or even go fly fishing while inshore or near shallow waters. For those big game fish such as Marlin, Wahoo, or Mahi Mahi – offshore fishing is for you. You’ll be using heavy gear and can go trolling or bottom fishing for these species. Keep in mind, with these larger fish you can expect more of a workout – get ready for a fight while reeling your catch into the boat!
Is this your first fishing charter? Even if you’re an experienced angler in your own backyard or favorite watering hole, if you’re booking a private fishing charter for the first time you may not be sure which to go with: inshore or offshore. We recommend looking back at the previous questions and really consider what it is that you’re looking for: a specific fish? A certain experience? Looking to try something you’ve never done before? There really is no wrong answer: it all comes down to preference, and what you’re expecting to get from your next fishing adventure.
Inshore fishing and offshore fishing are completely different, and both very worthy of the time, money, and effort you exert into the experience. The company you keep always helps determine the outcome, so why not book with a FishAnywhere Professional Fishing Guide or Charter Captain? They will steer you right (and probably ask some of the same questions found here); you can start your search here with your fishing location. No matter which you choose: inshore or offshore fishing – you’ll be sure to find a fish on the end of your hook, potentially fresh dinner, and definitely a good time!
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