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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Judson Syrett
20 days ago

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

4 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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?

Charles Schroeder
7 months ago

Thanks much! For those of us who travel and want to pack everything in one suitcase, having a “bare essentials” list is great.

Lee Chaney
7 months ago

Some of us use baitcasters. Distance is far less important than accuracy and boat position when fishing shallow water. Baitcasters are more accurate and give up very little, if any, distance. It would be nice to have casting rods for sale.

Justin Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

TFO professionals 7’ & 7’6 MH & M in both

Walter Schubert
4 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

For me, I use the TFO Tactical series but have been playing with the professional (spinning) and may give the casting a try. I have it paired with the Shimano Tranx 150.

Juan Sastre
7 months ago

Which cheat sheet shows the size of the hook and weight for depth? Make sure I am using the right rigging

Gary Cornwell
8 months ago

what about the best line color?

Tim McManus
8 months ago

Hi guys. I understand 1 piece rods are preferred if you have a boat and the space to store and travel with them. I travel to Florida to vacation in a midsize SUV with a kayak and 1 piece rods are less convenient for me to travel with. Asking if you know of any 2 piece rods you would recommend I try? 7 foot, medium power is what I’m looking for. Thanks.

johnny johnson
8 months ago
Reply to  Tim McManus

st croix makes a 4 piece travel rod. i’ve been impressed with mine, and it fits in a larger duffel bag.

Daniel Booth
9 months ago

Can I order a small FT reel pre-loaded with 10# braid?


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