With fishing terms like inshore, nearshore, offshore, deep sea, big game fishing and more, it can be tough to get a grip on what’s what. If you’re new to charter fishing in Hilton Head, or anywhere else for that matter, you may be curious to know the differences between inshore and nearshore fishing before booking your fishing trip. Although different, both have their merits & both make for a great day of low country fishing.

We define the main difference between the two based on how far you’re fishing from shore. Anglers agree that 30 feet of water is the accepted line-in-the-sand acting as the border between the two. Here’s a breakdown of some of the other differences between inshore and offshore fishing:

Inshore Fishing

When you’re fishing inshore, you’ll usually be within a few miles of shore and, more often than not, within casting distance of it working popular spots like beaches, rocky shorelines, piers, jetties, flats, and islands with light tackle.

Inshore fishing details:

  • Within a few miles of shore, or in water less than 30 feet deep.
  • Light tackle, more casting and use of live and dead bait.
  • Less equipment needed, less reliant on a graph for locating fish.
  • More consistent year-round fishing through seasonal climate changes.
  • Smaller species like Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, Black Sea Bass, and Tarpon.
  • Catch larger quantities of fish.
  • More of a family friendly boat charter.

Nearshore Fishing

Offshore trips that often require a commitment; they can take you anywhere from 3 to 30 miles away from the coast. Our nearshore fishing trips generally go 3-30 miles off the coast of Hilton Head Island, SC.

The kind of water experienced on an nearshore fishing trip warrants heavier gear and technology like sonar and radar. The techniques used out here are less hands on – until a Kingfish is trying to steal all of your line – and you may only catch one or two, but hookups can last hours.

Nearshore fishing details:

  • Water depth of 80 feet or more, usually 5-30 miles offshore
  • Heavy tackle, trolling equipment
  • Greater use of radars, radio & weather technology, and sonar
  • Seasonality and weather has more impact on fish behavior
  • Larger species like Kingfish, Barracuda, Black Drum, Amberjack, Cobia and Sharks
  • A couple of fish landed can be considered a great day
  • Less family friendly, chartered fishing trips range from 6 to 8 hours.

Is one better than the other?

Absolutely not. Some people prefer to be close to land on an inshore fishing charter while others love seeing 360 degrees of horizon around them on an nearshore trip. Preference plays a huge part, but it’s just one of many. Trust us, whether you choose an inshore or nearshore trip, you’ll enjoy your day of the waters of Hilton Head!

Made up your mind about an inshore or nearshore fishing charter? Book it today! We can customize a fishing trip for small groups up to 6!