Fishing used to be a necessary practice for survival for many of our ancestors, but today, it has become a great avenue for people to get away from everyday life. Millions of Americans buy a fishing license every year, showing how popular fishing is like a pastime activity. 

Whether you’re fishing from a kayak, boat, or the shore, fishing truly is a laid-back endeavor. But fishing is not just fishing. There are many kinds of fishing, and you must familiarize yourself with the differences of each kind. 

With fishing terms like big game fishing, inshore fishing, or deep-sea fishing, it can be difficult for a newbie to grasp what’s what. However, the two most common types of fishing include nearshore and offshore fishing

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at both nearshore and offshore fishing, what sets them apart, and what you need to know about them before booking your fishing trip.

What Is Nearshore Fishing

Nearshore fishing will mean something a bit different depending on where you go. For instance, nearshore fishing is any middle ground between the deep sea and coastal waters in volcanic islands or locations incredibly near the continental shelf. 

But generally, nearshore fishing involves fishing in waters about 10 to 20 miles off the beach. Reefs, shipwrecks, and rockpiles close to shore are abundant fishing grounds. 

Fish You Can Expect To Catch From Nearshore Fishing

The beauty of nearshore fishing is that the fish aren’t dictated by different seasons. But don’t expect to find a once-in-a-lifetime catch such as sharks or the massive marlin. 

However, you should expect to catch species such as the redfish largely attracted by live bait. You can also catch the black drum, flounder, and snook that are incredibly common in inshore waters. 

If you are looking for something a bit bigger than any of the species listed above, you can try and go for the tarpon. It may not be a fish you can put on your table, but it offers an incredible challenge for anglers who appreciate a sporty fight. The bonefish is quite elusive, but if you’re patient and stealthy enough, you can catch one or two nearshores.  

Best Gear For Nearshore Fishing Trips

Although nearshore fishing is not as intense as offshore fishing, it can be further broken down into heavy and light nearshore fishing. As such, the kind of nearshore fishing you want will dictate the kind of gear you’ll need to equip yourself with for the activity. 

A light inshore rod will do just fine if you want to catch small fish such as the flounder, trout, pompano, and Spanish mackerel. But if you’re going for bigger fish such as big redfish, tarpon, and the tripletail, you will need a heavy inshore rod and reel to withstand heavy power. 

You’ll also need a fishing line, topwater plug, and a small jig head for attaching bait. 

What Is Offshore Fishing

Offshore fishing can be an exciting and rewarding fishing outing for any angler, whether experienced or are just starting. 

Otherwise known as deep-sea fishing, offshore fishing is defined as fishing done roughly 20 to 30 miles away and more from the shoreline in waters that are usually hundreds or even thousands of feet deep. Anglers typically take about 12 to 72 hours from the shore to find ideal fishing spots. 

Nearshore fishing, in comparison, is like taking baby steps because of how far you’ll have to go to make great catches at great depths. 

Since you’ll be traveling for longer periods to get to a far distance from the shore, offshore fishing might require you to take the whole day off, which shouldn’t be a problem for any angler worth their rod. However, you’re going to have to factor in the weather, and you’ll need a bigger boat for comfort. 

Fish You Can Expect To Catch From Offshore Fishing

When it comes to offshore fishing, you’ll have to venture far out to get big fish. This is because some species are seasonal and migrate to inhabit different waters across different times of the year. However, some species make reefs their permanent home. 

Some species you can expect to find include the giant permit, cobia, king mackerel, dolphin, barracuda, and amberjacks. You can also find pelagic fish that swim close to the surface, such as the mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna, and billfish. 

The billfish are perhaps the most popular offshore fish species and have an iconic appearance, making them an attractive target for sport anglers. As for the tuna, it all comes down to the bluefins and the yellowfins. Bluefins are often very big, while the yellowfin are some of the fiercest fighters you’ll find in the ocean. Both are, however, incredibly tasty. 

If you want to catch yourself some permit or kingfish, you might want to plan your trip around July and August. These are the prime months when these species arrive at the wrecks. 

Best Gear For An Offshore Fishing Trip

Apart from the obvious rod and reel, you might need a landing net for bringing in heavier fish. Swinging them over the gunwale is a bit risky since you might lose them but using a landing net to scoop them up is a lot safer. 

You will also need a set of binoculars to try and spot diving seagulls. A strong presence of diving seagulls means much fish nearby, and binoculars will help you spot them from far. You can also use them to spy on other anglers to try and find out if they have any ongoing action. 

A lip gripper will also protect your fingers as you grab your catch by the jaw. You don’t want to go home with a perforated thumb. 

The Bottom Line

If you were to ask 500 professional fishing guides the difference between inshore and offshore fishing, you would probably receive about 500 different answers, especially if those guides come from different places across the world. That’s because everybody of water in each location has different topography and layout. 

Both offshore and inshore fishing have their different pros and cons, but all in all, they provide a spectacular shipping experience. If you would like to charter fishing boats in Fort Myers, Florida, contact Caloosahatchee Cowboy Charters at 239-628-2990 to make a reservation

We go out of our way to ensure that we provide the best fishing experience in the USA. Visit to make a reservation today.