Anglers who enjoy saltwater fishing know that there are three major kinds of fishing: inshore, nearshore, and offshore. Typically, offshore charters are those that go out anywhere from 10 to 50 miles from the coast. Nearshore charters will explore the nearby reefs and wrecks, generally within 9 miles of the shore. While inshore fishing trips are those within a mile of the coastline in the bays, inlets, and channels. There are premium fishing spots around the world that fit all three classifications; today we’ll focus on the Top 10 Inshore Destinations found throughout North America.
In no particular order, here are ten fishing destinations to add to your bucket list. These should be your go-to spots if you’re looking for species such as redfish, speckled trout, flounder, snook, tarpon, and more!
Simply put: Southeast Louisiana is an angler’s dream. This is where the Mississippi Delta meets the Gulf of Mexico and creates a thriving habitat for a variety of inshore species. But the biggest draw here? Redfish. Add a popping cork to the line and you’re sure to see some action. Venice is the place to launch, with anglers navigating the many marshes and jetties to the plentiful fishing grounds. It’s very easy to get lost in the maze of channels if you’re not familiar with the area; consider hiring a local Venice guide to lead the way.
The Florida Keys
At the southern tip of the Sunshine State is a string of islands known as the Florida Keys. Sure, you could come for fun in the sun… but really it’s all about fishing! To the north of the islands is an area known to locals as the “backcountry” – and here’s where your inshore fishing adventure will most likely take place. The mangrove islands and various cuts home tarpon, permit, snook, trout, and mangrove snapper. Tarpon, also known as the “silver king,” is wildly popular in the area, especially for those looking for fly fishing opportunities in the Keys.
Mosquito Lagoon, Florida
Want to fish someplace that’s untouched by civilization? Then make your way to the east side of Florida to Mosquito Lagoon. This 21-mile lagoon starts at the Ponce de Leon inlet near New Smyrna Beach and stretches south to Cape Canaveral. The southside of the lagoon is not heavily influenced by the tides, which means redfish, trout, and black drum can grow large on the many shrimp, crab, and clams that call this place home. The northern part of the lagoon is the place to fish for tarpon. Light tackle and fly fishing are the two main techniques used to catch this speedy fish.
Port O’Connor, Texas
All along the Texas Gulf Coast are bays and inlets that offer fantastic fishing grounds. Port O’Connor is a small town with a front row seat to the best of the best fisheries. Matagorda Bay and Espiritu Santo Bay are just two examples of where flounder, redfish, and trout can grow to large size and in good numbers. Flounder is a Port O’Connor favorite. Fish the fall or winter months for peak season of these camouflage masters. Head to the deeper parts of the bay to catch bull reds, those that grow over 27 inches. Fishing with shrimp, mullet, or croaker is a sure bet.
Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
One of our favorite fishing spots along the east coast is Charleston Harbor, on the coast of Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Not only do you get unparalleled views of these historic cities, but the fishing is down right incredible twelve months of the year. If you’re visiting during cooler months, hook up on a giant redfish. Or, fish during the summer for an even bigger cobia. Cobia aren’t typically an inshore fish, but during the warmer months they like to move in closer to the shore. You’re destined for the trip of a lifetime when you fish this plentiful harbor.
Cape Coral, Florida
Southwest Florida has several inshore fishing spots, almost too many to name. So what makes Cape Coral stand out? As they say in real estate: location, location, location. Cape Coral (and by extension Fort Myers), has access to the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Estero Bay, and of course the Gulf of Mexico. You could fish this area for several days in a row and never catch the same thing twice. Depending on what time of year you visit, expect to see snook, redfish, tarpon, mangrove snapper, and trout. Fish near any of the local bridges and you could also see sheepshead, a black-and-white striped fish that’s a small and easy catch, perfect for the novice anglers in your group.
Fishing in Galveston means variety. Not only where you fish, but how you reel in your next catch. Galveston Bay covers 600+ square miles and offers anglers the options of wading, trolling, or anchoring near reefs. Wade fishing is our personal preference, moving through the water to where the big fish are. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, hire a local guide to help you know where the drop-offs and ledges are located. Depending on the season, you could find a seatrout or redfish tugging on the line.
Pamlico Sound, North Carolina
Anglers know that the Outer Banks of North Carolina offer some of the best fishing grounds in the world. The nearby Gulf Stream home giant sized tuna and marlin. But the inshore anglers know that this is also the place for giant redfish. Pamlico Sound covers 3,000 square miles along the Tarheel State’s coastline. The unique topography of the sound allows for redfish to grow in large numbers and size. Anglers often wade fish for reds and trout. Trolling the sound for striped bass (or rockfish) is another popular excursion.
Laguna Madre, Texas
Speaking of unique topography, Laguna Madre is only one of six estuaries in the world that have a higher salinity count than the ocean. These rare conditions allow for the fish that live and eat here to grow large. Speckled trout (or “specks”) is a favorite throughout this lagoon. Laguna Madres is located near the southern tip of Texas and is, quite frankly, one of the best fisheries in the world. Separated into Upper and Lower sections, there’s no bad spot when fishing Laguna Madre.
Apalachicola Bay, Florida
We’ve covered just about every region of Florida, it only makes sense to include the Panhandle. From the Emerald Coast to Florida’s Forgotten Coast, anglers can find healthy populations of inshore species. Our particular favorite in this area is Apalachicola Bay. Anglers can fish the channels, inlets, or oyster beds for trout, redfish, and trout throughout the year. Sheepshead is another favorite here. Hire a local Apalachicola guide and you’re sure to have a productive day of bending the rod.
Book an Inshore Fishing Trip
Now that we have you dreaming of your next fishing trip – why not book it today?! FishAnywhere.com can help you find the charter that’s the best fit for your group. Simply start with a search of where you’re staying and then reserve your trip. It’s that easy!
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