What to Expect on Your First Inshore Fishing Trip 

If you’ve never done much fishing, there’s no shame in being new to the sport. If you’re looking to get started as a new angler, an inshore fishing trip led by an experienced fishing guide is a great way to get your feet wet.

Inshore Fishing 101

To explain inshore fishing, let’s start with offshore fishing. It’s also called deep-sea fishing. It takes place in waters around 100 feet deep and far from shore. Those boats that disappear on the horizon and stay gone for hours are headed for offshore destinations like abandoned oil rigs. They’re carrying hopeful anglers who are determined to land a record marlin or grouper. You’ll get there soon enough if that is your desire.

Simply put, inshore fishing is fishing that is not offshore fishing. There are many advantages, especially for beginners.

For one, the fish are easier to spot and catch. Would you rather fight a giant tuna for half the day or quickly snag a speckled trout and head to lunch?

That’s not to say that inshore fishing isn’t serious. It is. Anglers of all skill levels fish inshore waters every day. The point is that you can catch more fish in less time fishing inshore than you can offshore.

Also, on an inshore fishing trip, you can fish from beaches, piers, jetties, bridges or charter boats. The equipment is lightweight, affordable and easy to use. The weather is more predictable closer to shore, and the waters are shallower and calmer. Travel time is greatly reduced.

There’s definitely a learning curve, but friendly natives and seasoned charter boat captains are eager to help.

Finding Good Inshore Fishing Spots

This is a classic case of “so many fish, so little time.” The Bayou State boasts marshes, wetlands, bays and rivers, not to mention the vast Gulf of Mexico. Whether you’re wading near the beach or sailing out a few miles, you’re bound to encounter plenty of fish. It’s not unusual to catch redfish, bass or black drum within minutes. 

One of the many great things about charter fishing is having an expert captain guide you to the best inshore fishing spots. Just let your captain know what you want to catch, and he can advise you on the best spots, days and times to snag the perfect catch. 

Gear and Bait

Inshore fish are typically smaller than fish in deeper waters. That means the tackle is lighter. Rods and reels designed for beginners are fairly basic and easy to use with practice.

When you fish with an inshore charter fishing captain from LouisianaCharterFishing.com, your captain will provide you with the ideal gear and bait, and teach you how to use it. This means you can enjoy a stress-free fishing experience without worrying about having the right equipment. 

If you’d still like to purchase your own gear, tackle shop owners are famously intuitive and helpful. Many experts recommend starting with a 2500- to 3500-series reel with a 15- to 20-pound braided or monofilament line. Get a 7- to 8-foot medium-heavy action rod. These are ideal for catching small fish in open waters. As you master inshore fishing techniques, you’ll move on to heavier equipment with more bells and whistles.

As for the best bait, it depends on whom you ask.

The idea is to use either live bait — such as wriggling little shrimps or sea worms — or a lure that looks an awful lot like it. However, some savvy fish take the live bait and manage to avoid the hook. Anglers then have to rewind the terminal tackle, which might include floats, leaders or sinkers and re-bait the hook. Many anglers resent the hassle and stick to realistic-looking lures.

Inshore Fishing Techniques

There’s more than one way to catch a fish. If you’re looking to snag a specific species, your charter boat captain will guide you on the best inshore fishing techniques for the perfect catch.

Here are some of the most common inshore fishing techniques you may come across:

  • Bottom fish by anchoring the boat over bottom feeders, like bass or grouper, and dropping the bait.

  • Drift fish by dragging the bait from a drifting boat.

  • Match lures to the color of the water.

  • Fish early or late in the day.

  • Replace dull hooks.

  • Consult local weather forecasts and tide charts.

Clothing and Sundries

Consider the weather, the type of fishing you’ll be doing, freedom of movement, and comfort. Layering is smart; temperatures can fluctuate wildly between the pier and wherever the fish are biting. Bring lightweight shirts, windbreakers and other pieces that are easy to slip on or off — and, of course, think waterproof.

The importance of sun protection can’t be overstated. If you’re not smart about this, you could fry your skin even on a cloudy day. In addition to the health risks, the pain of a sunburn will last long after your final catch of the day. 

Sunscreen is a must, and hats are highly recommended. There is even UV-protection clothing these days with sunblock built right into the fabric.

A charter boat is no place for cheap flip-flops. Wear sturdy sneakers or waterproof shoes with non-skid soles.

Polarized sunglasses reduce glare to help you see beneath the water surface. Seasoned fishermen swear by rose, amber and copper lenses for spotting inshore species.

You might want to take a break and cool down, so pack a swimsuit and towel.

Bug spray, lip balm, and extra pairs of dry socks are great examples of sundries that belong in your backpack. A zip-close bag will come in handy for your fishing license, ID and smartphone.

A wrapped sandwich that fits into your pocket is arguably a sundry, but an adequate cooler is best for most foods. You can’t beat collapsible coolers for convenience. Fishing is all about getting your hands dirty, so be sure to pack sanitized hand wipes for washing up before meals.

Water is more than a sundry. You need it. Bring it. Sports bottles keep water cold and prevent plastics from polluting our waterways.

In the spirit of being prepared for anything, a first-aid kit can’t hurt. Throw in a seasickness remedy for good measure. Don’t forget any prescription meds you take.

Find Your Captain

Our charter boat captains thrive on teaching newbies to fish. Their skill, experience and valuable pointers will make this inshore adventure the first of many. If you’re ready to take the plunge and go on your first charter fishing adventure, explore our directory of inshore fishing captains today. 


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