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What is the best size rod and reel for inshore fishing?

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Selecting the best rod and reel size for inshore fishing might seem a tricky task as it confusing to whether to pick a heavier tackle or lighter one.  Inshore fishing is all about fishing from one or two miles from the shore where the water is approximately 15-20 feet deep or max 30 chances are mostly lower than this range.

It is hard to declare one general size as an allrounder rod and reel for inshore fishing as there are many variations in this scenario the factors worth highlighting that influence the inshore casts are

  1. Size of the fish:   When you are clear about your fishing targets i.e. up to smaller catches like trout, small redfish, flounder, or other inshore smaller targets it’s insane to go with long footers heavy rods. Half of the inshore gear selection is solved by identifying the target fish size.

Inshore fishing covers a variety of fish from trout, sea trout, mackerel, redfish (small and large), snook, catfish, flounder, and many others. But one clear hint is this type of fishing targets relatively smaller fish than offshore fishing.

  • Type of inshore fishing: Inshore fishing is a general term that covers trolling, pier or jetty fishing, and sand flat fishing. So it’s boat fishing from deck to standing on the ground.  You may require rods of different lengths and reels of different sizes with different lure and line ratings.

So, let’s dive into how you can find the appropriate rod and reel size for your next inshore fishing setup.  We have defined the gear selection targeting species size as it gets easier to understand.

best rod and reel size for inshore fishing



Rod and reel size for small inshore catches

The light inshore fishing indicates smaller inshore targets like spotted sea trout, flounder, redfish, bluefish, and other smaller fish of the same weight and size. With these targets, the lighter fishing gear setup is recommended.

Inshore rod length

6-7 feet long rods are the optimal selection, they offer appropriate casting distance and accuracy for inshore smaller catches. This length rod is good with maneuverability and suitable for bottom fishing and other finesse techniques to target the above-mentioned species.

However, to cast significantly longer with artificial lures for pier and jetty fishing, the length of the rod can be up to 10-12 feet but 7 feet long rod is the most common pick by most of the anglers and suitable for every skill level angler even with heavier catches.

Rod Power and action

7 feet long rod with medium power and fast action rods offers enough leverage and a fast hook set to target decent-sized fish from shore.

Fast actions rods are sensitive enough to detect the smallest fish nibbles to minimize the chances of a lost catch.

Learn more about rod power and action in detail in our article “Fishing rod power and action“.

Inshore Reel size

With a 7 feet long rod 3000-4000, the reel size is perfect. This size reel has enough line capacity of having your back. Make sure to go with fast retrieving spinning reels of gear ratio 6.1.

As we are fishing saltwater, make sure to pick corrosion-resistant fishing reels for long-lasting smooth casts.

Line capacities are usually mentioned on the reel models so these can be picked accordingly.

This tackle guide is also suitable when fishing from shore

Rod and reel size for heavy inshore fishing

If you are up to bigger and hard fighting catches like sharks, Larger Redfish, Bluefin Tuna, and Cobia inshore into some serious fishing then 7 ½ feet to 8 feet long rods are recommended as heavy inshore rods. It is a good range of rod lengths to work with.

Inshore Rod Power and action

The backbone of the rod must be enough to lift heavier catches at this point medium-heavy to heavy power rods with fast action tips are suitable.

At this point, it is preferred to pick rod durability over sensitivity as bigger catch bites aren’t hard to detect.

These types of rods will be casting heavy lures up to 2 oz. or more with heavy lines. Live baits are also recommended to entice bigger catches.

Inshore Reel size for heavy inshore

In the case of kayak or deep water pier fishing when larger fish are the targets, a 5000-6000 is sufficient with enough spool capacities to tackle heavy weights.

For larger catches, it is recommended to pick saltwater spinning reels with slow retrievals i.e. 4.1 to 5.1 with enough line capacity up to 20lb.

Best rod and reel sizes for different types of inshore fishing

Types of inshore Fishing Smaller Inshore Fish Catches     Bigger Inshore Fish Catches    
  Rod Size Reel Size Line Capacity Rod Size Reel Size Line Capacity
Pier Fishing 7’-9’ 3000-4000 15-20 lb. 9’-12’ 4000-6000 20 lb.
Jetty Fishing 6’6”-7’ 2500-3000 10-15 lb. 8’-9’ 4000 15-20lb.
Beach Fishing 6’8”-7’6” 2500-3000 12-20 lb. 7’-10’ 4000 20-30lb.
Kayak Fishing 6’6”-7’ 3000 10-15 lb. braid 7’-8’ 4000-5000 30-50 lb. braid
Trolling 7’-8’ 4000 20-30 lb. 7’6”-9’ 6000 30-50 lb.
Rod and reel guide for inshore fishing

Frequently asked questions


It’s also important to consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing. If you’re using heavy bait and sinkers, you may need a stronger rod with more backbone. On the other hand, if you’re using a lighter tackle, a softer, more flexible rod may be a better choice.

Ultimately, the best rod and reel size for inshore fishing will depend on your personal preferences and the specific fishing conditions you’re faced with. You may need to experiment with different tackle guides to find the one that works best for you.

You might have noticed in the above table that 7 feet long rod is suitable for most fishing situations, most folks rely on a 7 feet-spinning rod with a 3000-4000 reel size covering up to 20-30 lb. line capacity works great in nearly all inshore fishing casts with medium power and fast action tip.  

Check out some of the best inshore spinning rods to catch some exciting catches.