Inshore Saltwater Fishing Equipment Cheat Sheet [Rods, Reels, Lines, & Lures]


This inshore saltwater fishing equipment cheat sheet post has been put together to help you see that you don’t have to have a huge assortment of lures to be able to consistently catch fish.

Buying fishing equipment can be a daunting task given the endless amount of products that are being pitched to us fishermen as being a “must-have” item.

But after years of testing out a multitude of products, here’s what I have found to get the best results most consistently for catching redfish, seatrout, snook, and flounder.

Below are videos for the key items that are essential for inshore fishing:

  1. Rods
  2. Reels
  3. Lines
  4. Lures by Essential Type
    1. Small Paddletail
    2. Big Paddletail
    3. Jerk Shad
    4. Big Shrimp
    5. Small Shrimp
    6. Weedless Spoon
    7. Topwater

Best Inshore Fishing Rods

Here’s a short list of my favorites so far after testing many rods from various manufacturers at the $100 and $200 price points:

➡ [$100 PP] TFO Professional – 7’6″ M

➡ [$200+ PP] Best Overall] SS Custom from Mud Hole – 7’6″ M

Best Inshore Fishing Reels

This video shows the best reels we’ve found so far for overall value while being under $100.

➡ Daiwa Fuego LT

➡ Daiwa Legalis LT

For those looking for premium performance in a fishing reel, here’s a video highlighting a new reel that has proven to have an extremely good price to performance metric… we describe it as the best value premium reel.

➡ Diawa BG MQ

Best Inshore Fishing Lines

➡ PowerPro

➡ Daiwa J-Braid 8 Grand

➡ Ande Monofilament

Best Inshore Lures

The lures featured below represent the best of the best we’ve tested so far for catching redfish, seatrout, snook, flounder, and a variety of other species throughout all seasons.

Scroll down below to see the listing of lures as well as the ideal times to use them.

Note: Please be sure to go through the Mini-Courses for each lure so you can become an expert in generating strikes with them even if the fish aren’t actively feeding.

Ultimate Lure Arsenal Overview Video

Small Paddletail: Slam Shady 2.0

This is the best all-purpose paddletail on the market given that it’s color works great in all water colors throughout all seasons, and it’s profile enables it to work great when rigged on a jig head for deep water as well as on a weighted hook for effectively covering the shallows. Also, this lure’s body style even allows it to look great even without it’s tail so you can pull the tail off if the baitfish are very small and or if you need to decrease the amount of vibration the lure is putting off.

Given how well this lure works along with how versatile it is, it’s a must-have lure for inshore fishermen.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Big Paddletail: Slam Shady Bomber

When fishing in areas with larger baitfish 4+ inches, it’s smart to have a larger paddletail ready for action. Also, these larger paddletails can be extremely effective when fishing at night and/or in windy conditions because they cast farther and give off more vibration in the water enabling you to cover more water more easily while enabling the fish to more easily find your lure.

When fishing these conditions, the Slam Shady Bomber will typically outperform the Slam Shady 2.0, and they can be rigged on the weighted hooks and jig heads shown below to cover all depth ranges.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Jerk Shad: Alabama Leprechaun

When fishing in calm, clear, and shallow water, the best lure is often going to be a soft plastic jerk shad rigged on a weighted hook because it has great action in the water and very little vibration to make sure that it won’t spook off finicky fish.

These lures mimic both scared shrimp as well as small baitfish that live on the bottom, so the darker green color with some gold flash seems to be the color that works most often.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Shrimp Profile [Big]: Power Prawn USA

There are some situations when shrimp are running and the inshore fish get totally fixated on them, so it’s important to have some ready for action. The Power Prawn USA lure has risen to the top of the list for a big shrimp lure because it is super easy to rig and use while having an awesome strike-generating glide in the water.

This lure is 4.3 inches long, and it casts farther and skips better than any other shrimp lure I have tested while having great strike-generating action in the water. Best of all, it works great in all depth ranges since it’s super easy to rig on a wide variety of weighted hooks and jig heads.

All you’ll need are some packs of these shrimp lures along with whichever sized jig heads or weedless hook rigs based on the depth zones that you’ll be fishing and you’ll be catching a ton of quality fish when shrimp are the target prey.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Shrimp Profile (Small): Power Prawn USA Junior

These shrimp are my #1 choice of all for fishing docks because it’ll catch a huge variety of fish (big and small) with very little effort… just a basic bouncing motion along the bottom will catch a ton of fish.

Just like the larger Power Prawn USA, this Junior edition can be rigged on weedless hooks too making them a great choice for fishing heavy structure for redfish, snook, seatrout, tarpon, and a wide variety of saltwater species.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Weedless Spoon: Johnson Silver Minnow

Although soft plastic lures are amazingly good at catching redfish, snook, seatrout, & flounder, there are some situations where they simply can’t be used so it’s important to be ready for making a change when needed. A weedless spoon is typically the best choice if you’re fishing in shallow areas with structure and you can’t fish a soft plastic due to pufferfish biting off the tails. Also, these lures are great when fishing on windy days because they slice through the wind.

The best value weedless spoon we’ve found so far is the Johnson Silver Minnow.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Topwater Plug: Moonwalker

When fishing at night and during the twilight hours (as the sun is rising or setting) during the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons, the topwater bite can be extremely good… plus it’s a ton of fun.

The Moonwalker has been the best overall performing topwater plug that I’ve use so far… we tested a bunch of topwater plugs, and pulled in the pros from the best performers and put them into this one lure.

➡ Mini-Course

➡ Buy Now

➡ Get All Lures In The Cheat Sheet [10% Savings]

Weighted Hooks (for soft plastics)

The use of weighted hooks for fishing the shallows will skyrocket results compared to using traditional worm hooks because they help make sure that the lure won’t helicopter in the water and the added weight will increase casting distance.

The hooks we have liked best for many years are the TwistLock hooks made by Owner because they are their patented TwistLock keeper while having a variety of hook and weight sizes.

We created Hoss Helix hooks more recently in order to better fit our Power Prawn USA lures… these Hoss helix hooks use the same keeper as the TwistLocks, but the Hoss hooks have a wider gap and a thinner shank diameter to allow for better hooksets with the Power Prawn USA lures.

Note: These are generally best for covering depth zones down to 2.5 ft relative to jig heads.

➡ Hoss Helix Hooks

Jig Heads (for soft plastics)

When fishing in more than a couple feet of water, it’s crucial to be able to get your lure down to the strike zone, so having jig heads of various weights is a must for inshore fishermen. The best overall jig heads that we’ve found so far for soft plastic lures up to 5 inches in length are the Trout Eye jig heads from Zman because they work well for most soft plastic brands and their big eyes seem to help draw strikes.

Note: These are generally best for covering depth zones down to 2.5 ft relative to jig heads.

➡ Buy Now

If you have any questions, please use the Comments feature below to ask them and we’ll be quick to respond.

➡ Get This Full Lure Bundle [10% Savings]

Click here to see the full list of cheat sheets

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Michael Justice
5 months ago

Luke: have you checked out the strike king kvd perfect plastic blade minnow, color Carolina chrome.awesome looking an unreal action and very flashy utterly loaded with chrome silver specks.thank you for all the in detail education mike j

Lisa Faulk
9 months ago

When buying rods ..should you buy a single piece rod for inshore fishing or two piece ?

William Warlick
7 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Faulk

Hey. I am kinda new here but happened to see your question and thought I would share. Personally I prefer single piece construction for any kind of rod. There are people that will argue that it really doesn’t matter that much or that newer anglers wont be able to tell the difference, but I can tell you in lighter tackle fishing it is best to stick with single piece construction. They are more reliable, more sensitive, and more durable. Larger rods like surf rods you can get away with two piece a little better, but the single piece will always be better for any rod.

Paul Giannetto
6 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Faulk

Does not anyone ever question this concept of one-piece rod being the best. Do you see anyone buying a 1-piece fly rod. The answer is no and in fact 4 piece is the standard for fly rods weather it is a delicate sensitive 2-weight or a 12 weight for tarpon. Nor on the tournament casting field are one-piece rods essential or used. Obviously one piece rods are easier to design and manufacture. I am a land based angler and use multi-piece rods for all disciplines of angling.

Jim Bologna
4 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Faulk

As a rather new angler, I had a 2 piece. I don’t know how I did it, but my line broke and I lost the top half on a cast. It ruined my day. From then on, I go with nothing but a 1 piece.

10 months ago

So if you spool up with 10 lb j
J braid what test backer do you use to keep that thin a line from binding if ever you get to it?

Do you just go FG btw the braid and mono? If so, how long do you like the mono?
Thx from Chas SC

Joseph Higson
10 months ago

May or may not be a silly question, but I’ll ask anyway. Is there a difference or preference with the trout eye Jig heads? I’ve seen three colors this far, Pearl, Gold and Glow. Is one recommended over another? Thanks in advance.

Jason May
11 months ago

Awesome information. So glad I joined before spending tons on money on items that weren’t relevent.

James Welch
1 year ago

This might be a little off topic. I’ve been taking my family on vacations to the beach for about 30 years now. We always fish the surf and piers. My three kids are grown now and I retired six months ago. The memories and pictures I have are amazing.
When we fished the piers we always brought the closed face zebco reels. 808 series and pro series. It was just easier for the kids to press the button and cast. I noticed you don’t say much about closed face reels. Is it something that’s just not used anymore or out of style.
I want to thank you for your great videos and information and to say good luck to you with your future in this business.

Judson Syrett
1 year ago

I’ve bought 5 Legalis now: four 3000s and a 4000. Can’t beat them for the price.

1 year ago

Well done. I learned so much with this video. This was worth digging through all the emails you send to find something useful.

Daniel Lincoln
1 year ago

I saw in the comments below that you recommended two rods. I know one of them was the TFO Pro Medium but I couldn’t find what the other was. I’m in the market and I’m interested in your opinion. I was interested in the Bull Bay rod Salt Strong had but I understand you don’t offer that one any longer.

Dominick Much
1 year ago

Hey for back bay fishing depths of 6-20ft deep, what size Trout Eye jig heads from Zman do you use while fishing with the paddler 5” soft baits? 1/4oz? Heavier?


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