Inshore

Know Your Sportfish

Fin identification helps to correctly identify your catch. *Click to enlarge.

Get the Sport Fish of Florida Book!


BE SURE TO ABIDE BY THE LAW

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: MyFWC.com A great many kinds of fish are protected by conservation laws that may include licenses, daily bag limits, possession limits, minimum and maximum size limits, permitting and other legal requirements. Many different jurisdictions and agencies are involved in managing the fisheries—at least a half-dozen in Florida alone, to say nothing of other countries—and their regulations sometimes conflict.

In Florida, information is available from such sources as Florida Sportsman Magazine, county courthouses and many tackle shops. Visitors to Florida or the Islands usually are able to get the needed information from their travel agents, resorts, fishing camps or charter captains. Visit www.myfwc.com www.myfwc.com or www.floridasportsman.com for the most current fisheries regulations.

Inshore

REDFISHinfo
COMMONSNOOKinfo
SPOTTEDSEATROUTinfo
BLACKDRUMinfo
TARPONinfo
PERMITinfo
POMPANOinfo
SOUTHERNFLOUNDERinfo

From the beach inland, wherever salt water may flow, including inlets and river mouths and intracoastal waterways and bays, all the saltwater canals and backcountry marshes, right up to dry land or where the water runs fresh—that’s the inshore zone. Even in Florida, let alone throughout the rest of the country, inshore waters vary wildly in terrain and character. There’s quite a transformation from Northeast Florida’s labyrinthine marshlands to the subtropical flats and keys off Miami on the east coast, and on the Gulf side, an equally dramatic transformation takes place from the Everglades’ expanses of seagrass flats up through the Big Bend’s rocky shallows to the Panhandle’s big, salty bays.

In all locations, however, inshore terrain is characterized by its mix of shallow terrain—whether seagrass, sandy flats, marsh or limestone rock—with larger bodies like bays and deeper channels and the residential and industrial development, or the absence of it. The quality of the fishing is governed by the health of the waters, including the profundity of forage species for predators, the tides and the salinity level, which is often in flux in inshore zones.

One prominent feature of much of Florida’s inshore zone, and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as well, is the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs for 3,000 miles up the East Coast and across the Gulf Coast and in southwest Florida. Bays—some of which, like Tampa Bay, are large enough to be considered fisheries in their own right—are another significant feature of inshore waters, as are inlets and river mouths. The docks, both residential and industrial, the bridges, seawalls, canals and all other manner of development are an equally important facet of the structure of inshore fisheries.

The most popular and commonly sought-after species from inshore waters in Florida are redfish, flounder and seatrout. Other popular inshore catches include pompano, Spanish mackerel and grouper. Though these—and other—species are more commonly associated with nearshore or offshore waters, they are commonly caught inshore. In the bigger bays and sometimes even in intracoastal waterways near inlets, coastal migratory fish like cobia, permit, kingfish and tripletail are caught.

Inshore waters are also richly valuable as nursery grounds for many inshore and offshore species. The health of these waters and their species is interlinked to the nature of the entire coastal system.


For All things Inshore: How-To Articles, Videos, Forum, Boats, Latest Fishing Reports, Go here:  www.floridasportsman.com/inshore