Inshore fishing can vary significantly, and this can also mean the best size rod and reel can also vary depending on where and how you intend to fish.
Although there is no right or wrong size rod and reel to use when inshore fishing, there are some sweet-spots dependent on the type of fishing you will be doing.
In this article, I will go through a few of the different methods that can be used and the various locations while inshore fishing and give an idea of the best size rod and reel for that type of fishing.
Fishing in estuaries can be very productive, with the ability to catch a wide range of species.
Generally, you don’t need heavy gear for estuary fishing. If you are out on a boat and want to do some trolling, then you might want to go as big as a 6000 size spinning reel, coupled with a rod of around 6-feet and 15-30lb line capacity.
If you are kayak fishing within the estuary then a 3000 to 5000 spinning reel should suffice, coupled with a rod of 6 to 7 feet in length and around 10-20lb line capacity.
Fishing from the shore within an estuary can often be done with lighter gear, and a 3000 or 4000 reel is ample for most cases. Of course, there may be times where you want to target bigger species and you may need heavier gear, but even on these occasions, a 5000 reel should be plenty.
As for rod size, using anything from 7 to 10 feet and 8-16lb line capacity is a good range to work with.
Fishing sand flats can be so much fun and will give you an opportunity to use different methods to catch a variety of different fish.
While you can target bigger species while fishing on the sand flats, a lot of the time it can be targeting the smaller species such as bone fish that can produce great sport and a lot of reward.
The fishing on sand flats can require a lot of finesse at times, and the equipment you use should reflect this.
If you are using lures, then a smaller reel of 2500 to 3000 size is sufficient. The rod can be anywhere from 7’ to 10’ in length and this will allow you to cast a bit further and cover more of the flats with your lures.
Line strength for the lighter more finesse fishing can be anywhere from 3lb to 10lb, and this will give you plenty of range to target the different species that roam the sand flats.
Pier and jetty fishing
Another very popular inshore fishing location is off piers and jetties. The structure of the piers and jetties creates a thriving underwater environment that fish of all sizes love to frequent.
The range of fishing equipment that can be used off piers and jetties may vary considerably. If you are fishing off jetties, then you can potentially fish with lighter gear, especially if the jetty is low enough to allow you to land a fish with a net.
Throwing some lighter lures around the structure of a jetty can often yield a very decent catch of small fish, who lurk between the jetty pillars waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting fish (or your lure) that swims by. If this is what you intend to do then a 2500 to 3000 size reel would be ideal, and a 7 to 8 feet rod with 4-8lb line capacity is ideal.
If you are planning to fish piers, then the chances are that you’ll be a lot higher up and you won’t be able to drop a net down to land a fish, so you will need to us much heavier gear so you can lift the fish up with the rod.
Some piers go quite a long way out into the sea, and can often be quite deep in places too. This can often lead to some pretty big species lurking around, so if you are going to fish with big pieces of bait or bigger lures then make sure you have the fishing equipment to deal with it.
For reel sizes, a spinning reel size of 8000 may not be overkill if you are intentionally targeting the big stuff, but a 4000 to 5000 would be sufficient if you are out to hook whatever you can.
Round baitcaster reels are also ideal for using off piers. They can hold a lot of line and are ideal if you want to drop a line straight down. Ideal baitcaster reel sizes can be 4500 up to 6500.
As with the reels, the best rod sizes for piers and jetties can vary significantly too.
If you are fishing off jetties with lighter tackle, then a shorter 6 to 7-foot rod with line capacity of 4-8lb or 6-12lb would be ideal.
If you go pier fishing you will often see a massive variety of rods being used. It is common to see people with 12-foot surf rods, and then sometime 6-foot boat rods.
If you want to cast your bait out further away from the pier, then a longer rod would be best for this. Think around the 10 to 12 feet range.
If you just want to drop your bait straight down with no casting required, then you won’t need such a long rod. But using an 8 or 9-foot rod is still recommended, as it gives you more leverage when trying to keep fish away from the pier pylons.
What if you are new to inshore fishing and want one rod and reel that’s ideal for all?
While it certainly helps to optimize your fishing gear towards the methods you want to use, and the locations you will fish, it might be a bit overwhelming and also unnecessary if you are just starting out.
If you are new to fishing and you just want to try lots of different locations and methods, and only want one rod and reel to start you out, then you need to find something in the middle that will allow you to do all of this.
I would recommend that you start out with a 4000-size spinning reel, and a rod of 7 to 8-feet in length, and line capacity of 10-20lb. This will give you the range to fish different inshore locations and also catch a variety of species.