Glossary of fishing terms
Fishing Definitions - equipment definitions and slang fishing terms
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Acclimate -- The adaptation of an organism to environmental changes.
Aeration Tank -- A chamber used to inject air into water.
Affluent (Stream) -- A stream or river that flows into a larger one; a Tributary.
Alewife -- a food fish of the herring family that is very abundant on the Atlantic coast; the alewife entered the Great Lakes through the Welland Canal in the 1940s and frequently die-off in large numbers because they are not well adapted to life in freshwater.
Age-class -- A group of individuals of a certain species that have the same age.
Anadromous -- Fish that hatch rear in fresh water, migrate to the ocean (salt water) to grow and mature, and migrate back to fresh water to spawn and reproduce.
Anal fin -- The fin located on the ventral median line and behind the anus.
Angler -- One who uses a rod and reel to catch any species of fish.
Backlash -- Fouled or tangled line on an open faced reel.
Backshore -- The upper part of the active Beach above the normal reach of the tides (high water), but affected by large waves occurring during a high.
Backwash -- The seaward return of the water following the uprush of the waves.
Bag limit -- Restriction in the number of fish that an angler may retain, generally on a per trip or daily basis.
Bail -- A metal, semicircular arm on an open- faced spinning reel that engages the line after a cast.
Bail arm -- On a spinning reel, the lever determines the direction of the spool.
Bait -- Food placed on a hook or in a net, trap, or fishing area to entice fish or other animals as prey. An object or organism used to attract an animal; live fish are attached to hooks and used as bait in the tuna fishery.
Baitcasting -- fishing with a revolving-spool reel attached on top of a bait casting rod. Most often used by novice or experienced anglers.
Baitfish -- Smaller fish in the food chain used for bait to catch larger predator fish.
Balanced -- A term used to describe the proper combination of rod, reel line, and leader.
Bar -- An offshore ridge or mound of sand, gravel or other unconsolidated material which is submerged (at least at high tide), especially at the mouth of a river or estuary, or lying parallel to, and a short distance from, the beach.
Barb -- The nick on the point of a hook. It is intended to keep the hook from backing out of a fish's mouth after it has been hooked.
Barbless hook -- A hook made without a barb, or a hook on which the barb has been crimped or flattened. This is the hook style of choice for catch-and-release fishing.
Barometric pressure -- (atmospheric pressure)
The pressure at any point in an atmosphere due solely to the weight of the atmospheric gases above the point concerned.
Barrier beach -- A bar essentially parallel to the shore, which has been built up so that its crest rises above the normal high water level. Also called barrier island and offshore barrier.
Barrier island -- A detached portion of a barrier beach between two inlets.
Basin -- A large depression of a generally circular, elliptical or oval shape.
Bay -- A recess or inlet in the shore of a sea or lake between two capes or headlands, not as large as a gulf but larger than a cove. See also bight.
Basiobranchial -- The small bones behind the tongue on which the gill arches articulate.
Beach head -- The cliff, dune or sea wall looming the landward limit of the active beach.
Bight -- A indentation in a coast forming an open bay, usually crescent shaped.
Brood stock -- Adult fish used to propagate the subsequent generation of hatchery fish.
Blank -- A rod without a handle, guides or reel seat.
Blank rod -- The fiberglass or graphite shaft or rod without any guides or hardware attached.
Bluff -- A high, steep bank or cliff.
Boil -- The term used to describe the frenzy of a Striper attack on a school of baitfish. The water surface appears to be boiling. (or) An upward flow of water in a sandy formation due to an unbalanced hydrostatic pressure resulting from a rise in a nearby stream.
Brackish water -- Water with a salt content between 1000 and 4000 parts per million.
Breaker -- A wave that has become so steep that the crest of the wave topples forward, moving faster than the main body of the wave.
Buccal -- Pertaining to the cheeks or the cavity of the mouth.
Bulkhead -- A structure separating land and water areas, primarily designed to resist earth pressures.
Buoyancy -- The tendency of a body to float or rise when submerged in a fluid.
Bunker - Menhaden - Aka pogie - soft oily baitfish - sometimes referred to as the most important fish in the sea because of its ability as a filter feeder to clean water and detritus off of the Ocean and bay floors. Primary forage of many inshore species of fish. Spawns mainly in the Chesapeake Bay region. Migrates northward in the spring and returns in the fall.
Buzzbaits -- These are like a spinnerbait, but have a flat blade that causes it to rise quickly to the top, and create a disturbance along the surface like a minnow.
Cape -- A relatively extensive land area jutting seaward from a continent or large island which prominently marks a change in, or interrupts notably, the coastal trend; a prominent feature.
Carnivorous -- Feeding on animal tissues.
Cartilaginous fishes -- A major group of fishes including sharks and rays.
Cast -- The act of imparting energy to a fishing rod in such a way that the line and leader project a bait or lure to a target some distance away.
Catadromous -- Refers to fishes that migrate from fresh water to salt water to spawn or reproduce such as the American eel.
Caudal -- Pertaining to the tail.
Caudal fin -- The tail fin.
Caudal peduncle -- The tapering portion of a fish's body between the posterior edge of the anal fin base and the base of the caudal fin.
Channel -- The part of a body of water deep enough to be used for navigation through an area otherwise too shallow for navigation.
Circle Hook -- Hooks designed to reduce mortality in fish by lessening the chance of gut hooking a fish.
Current -- Generally, a horizontal movement of water. Currents may be classified as tidal and non-tidal. Tidal currents are caused by gravitational interactions between the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
Crankbaits -- These are usually sinking lures, that are made from plastic, that contain rattles insidedesigned to create a disturbance underwater. Such lures as the Rat-L-Trap, and Rapala Rattlin Rap, fall into this category.
Depthfinder -- An electric device that is used to detect the geography beneath the waters surface. Also used as a fishfinder.
Distal -- Away from the point of attachment or origin.
Diurnal -- Having a period or cycle of approximately one tidal day.
Dorsal -- Pertaining to the back, or situated near to or on the back.
Dorsal fin -- The fin located on the back of fishes, and in front of the adipose fin, if it is present.
Downrigger -- A mechanical device that uses larger weights to get fishing lures or bait down to a specific depth and keep it there.
Draft -- depth of water needed to float a ship.
Drag -- The mechanical system in a reel that applies friction to the spool.
Drift current -- A broad, shallow, slow-moving ocean or lake current.
Dropline -- A deepwater fishing method involving the use of a vertical line bearing rows of baited hooks.
Eddy -- A current of air, water, or any fluid, forming on the side of the main current, especially one moving in a circle; in extreme cases a whirlpool.
Eelgrass -- A submerged marine plant with very long narrow leaves.
Emigration -- Referring to the movement of organisms out of an area. See immigration and migrating.
Estuary -- A water passage where the tide meets a river current; especially : an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river.
Euryhaline -- Having a wide tolerance to salinity.
Even-year run -- A population of fish that returns to its natural spawning grounds in even numbered years.
Eye -- The loop at the end of a hook shank
Fall-run fish -- Anadromous fish that return to spawn in the fall.
Fecundity -- The total number of eggs produced by a female fish.
Filet knife -- A thin, sharp knife used to clean and filet fish
Fingerling -- Refers to a young fish in its first or second year of life.
Fish Finder - An electric device that is used to detect fish beneath a boat. Also used to detect the geography of the land and the depth of the water
sometimes referred to as a Sinkerslide. A plastic or nylon cylindrical slider with a snap swivel attached that slides up and down the standing line so the fish doesnt feel the weight of your sinker attached to the slider / swivel.
Fishing Gear -- The equipment used for fishing, e.g. gillnet, handline, harpoon, seine, longline, midwater trawl, purse seine, rod-and-reel, trap, trawler, ect. but not vessels.
Fishing Mortality --Deaths in a fish stock caused by fishing.
Fishing Mortality Rate -- The fraction of an initial stock which would be caught during the year (or season) if no other causes of mortality operated.
Fishway -- A device made up of a series of stepped pools, similar to a staircase, that enables adult fish to migrate up the river past dams.
Fluvial -- Migrating between main rivers and tributaries. Of or pertaining to streams or rivers.
Fly line -- A specially designed line for fly fishing, usually 80 to 90 feet long. It supplies the weight needed to cast relatively weightless flies.
Fly reel -- The device that holds fly line. It gives the angler a mechanical drag system with which to exert resistance on hooked fish.
Fly rod -- The central element of any balanced fly-fishing outfit; it's used to cast the fly line, mend the line after the cast, and play hooked fish.
Forage Fish -- Small fish which breed prolifically and serve as food for predatory fish.
Game fish -- A fish that is regulated by law for recreational harvest.
Gape -- To open the mouth wide. In Zoological terms, it means the measurement of the widest possible opening of a mouth.
Gear ratio -- In reference to the amount of times that the spool of a reel rotates while the handle is rotated once.
Gills -- The fleshy, and highly vascular organs comparable to lungs used in aquatic respiration.
Gill nets -- A flat net suspended vertically in the water with meshes that allow the head of a fish to pass but entangle it at withdrawal.
- Interchangeable slang meaning -
1. A person who thinks he's a fisherman - knows everything and doest have a clue.
2. Sometimes a newbie to the sport is referred to as a googan.
3. Person in possession of a white bucket not loaded with eels.
4. Person fishing with freshwater outfit in a dangerous saltewater environment
5. Person who doesnt take the proper safety precautions nor uses the proper equipment.
6. Person who leaves trash around and has no respect for the environment or other fishermen
7. Total lack of fishing etiquette
8. Total asshole
9. Person who would put his family at risk while attempting to fish in a dangerous bolder field or reef.
Gps -- Short for Global Positioning System , a worldwide satellite navigational system formed by 24 satellites orbiting the earth and their corresponding receivers on the earth. By using three satellites, GPS can calculate the longitude and latitude of the receiver based on where the three spheres intersect. By using four satellites, GPS can also determine altitude. GPS was developed and is operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. It was originally called NAVSTAR (Navigation System with Timing and Ranging). Before its civilian applications, GPS was used to provide all-weather round-the-clock navigation capabilities for military ground, sea, and air forces.
Guides -- The loops on a rod through which the line runs
Gulls -- Refers to all Larus and Rissa (Family Laridae). True gulls and kittiwakes.
Harbor -- A water area nearly surrounded by land, sea walls, breakwaters or artificial dikes, forming a safe anchorage for ships.
Healthy stock -- A stock of fish experiencing production levels consistent with its available habitat and within the natural variations in survival for the stock.
High Tide -- The maximum height reached by a rising tide.
Hog -- An exceptionally large fish; also known as a "lunker";
Husbandry -- The scientific management and control of the hatchery environment for the production of fish or wildlife.
Hydrology -- The science dealing with the study of water on the surface of the land, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.
Ichthyology -- The scientific study of fishes.
Indigenous -- Any species of wildlife native to a given land or water area by natural occurrence.
Inshore -- The region where waves are transformed by interaction with the sea bed.
Interorbital -- The space between the eyes.
Invertebrate drift -- Stream and terrestrial invertebrates that float with the current.
Jetty -- A structure usually projecting out into the Sea at the mouth of a river for the purpose of protecting a navigational channel, a harbor or to influence water currents.
Jigging -- Using a rod and reel in such a way as to present artificial lures in short, jerking motions.
Juvenile -- Fish from one year of age until sexual maturity.
Knot -- The unit of speed used in navigation.
Enclosed by land, or nearly enclosed, as a harbor
Lead Core -- lead fiber encased in Dacron or nylon. Wire lines (thin strands of stainless steel wire. Both are extremely heavy compared to other lines and used for trolling at substantial depths, often 100 feet or more. They have little or no stretch and sink at a rapid rate. Due to their high visibility and large diameter, a monofilament leader (up to 50 feet long) is almost always attached between a wire or lead-core line and the lure.
Leader -- Most often, a piece of monofilament or flourocarbon, of unequal strength than that of the main line used to insure the ability to catch larger game fish on lighter lines.
Leeward -- The direction toward which the prevailing wind is blowing; the direction toward which waves are travelling.
Limnology -- The study of lakes, ponds and streams.
Line capacity -- The amount or length of monofilament, that can fit on to the spool of a reel.
Line guides -- The objects in which the fishing line runs through while traveling on a fishing rod, usually ceramic or plastic.
Littoral zone -- The region of land bordering a body of water.
Living fish, eels or worms used to entice prey.
Live-well -- A special compartment on a boat that keeps fish alive so they can be released at a later date.
Mandibular -- Pertaining to the lower jaw.
Maxillae or maxillaries -- The upper jaw, the upper jaw bones.
Mergansers -- Ducks with long, narrow serrated-edged bills, feeding primarily on fish.
Minnow -- A small fish used by fishermen to catch other fish. Another name for some Killifish
Migrant -- Life stage of anadromous and resident fish species which moves from one locale, habitat or system (river or ocean) to another.
Migrating -- Moving from one area of residence to another.
Milt -- The sperm of fishes.
Monofilament -- A single strand of nylon
Natal -- Birth place.
Natal stream -- Stream of birth.
Natural Mortality -- Deaths in a fish stock caused by predation, pollution, senility, etc., but not fishing.
Nautical mile -- Its length is 1852 meters (6076.115 feet), approximately 1.15 times as long as the statute mile of 5280 feet.
Pectoral fins -- The anterior(front) paired fins, attached to pectoral (shoulder) girdle.
Pelagic -- Of or in the open ocean or open water.
Pelvic fins -- Posterior paired fins, located in the abdominal position or towards the rear.
Pier -- A structure, usually of open construction, extending out into the water from the shore, to serve as a landing place, recreational facility, etc., rather than to afford coastal protection.
Pile -- A long substantial pole of wood, concrete or metal, driven into the earth or sea bed to serve as a support or protection.
Plug -- A free swimming lure. One that travels from side to side and not just straight.
Poppers -- Topwater lures that can call up fish from long distance. They can be worked in a steady relatively fast retrieve, or jerked and made to splash or sit in one place.
Precocious -- Fish that have matured quickly, or faster than the remaining fish of its age-class.
Predation -- Hunting and killing another animal for food.
Reef -- A ridge of rock or other material lying just below the surface of the sea.
Reel seat -- The section of a rod that clamps down the reel so it is secure
Reproduce -- To produce offspring.
Resident species --Species of fish which spend their entire lives in freshwater.
Rip current -- A strong surface current of short duration flowing seaward from the shore. It usually appears as a visible band of agitated water and is the return movement of water piled up on the shore by incoming waves and wind.
Rips -- Agitation of water caused by the meeting of currents or by rapid current setting over an irregular bottom.
Rockfish -- Another common name for the striped bass (morone saxitalis)
Roller guide -- A heavy duty big game style guide with an internal bearing system that eliminates heat and abrasion on fishing line.
Sea grass -- Members of marine seed plants that grow chiefly on sand or sand-mud bottom. They are most abundant in water less than 9 m deep. The common types are: Eel grass (Zostera), Turtle grass (Thallasia) and Manatee grass (Syringodium).
Sediment -- The organic material that is transported and deposited by wind and water.
Shoal -- To proceed from a greater to a lesser depth of water.
Silt -- Substrate particles smaller than sand and larger than clay.
Single action -- A reel where the handle is attached directly to the spool, without the aid of gears.
Sinker -- a weight that sinks (as to hold nets or fishing lines under water)
Sinkerslide-- sometimes referred to as a fishfinder rig.
A plastic slider that slides up and down the standing line so the fish doesnt feel the weight of your sinker attached to the slider.
Slack Water -- Standing tide, slack water occurs at the time of high and of low water.
Slip sinker -- A lead weight with a hole through the center that slides freely up and down fishing line unless altered by a swivel or a split shot .
Spawn -- The act of reproduction of fishes. The mixing of the sperm of a male fish and the eggs of a female fish.
Spinner Baits -- Spinners are a type of lure consist of a hook and a small, spoon-shaped blade attached to a wire. The blade is designed to spin and thus attract fish as the angler retrieves the lure through the water.
Standing Line -- refers to the line that is attached to the reel spool and runs through the rod guides to your terminal rnd of the line.
Subspecies -- A population of a species occupying a particular geographic area, or less commonly, a distinct habitat, capable of interbreeding with other populations of the same species.
Spool -- The portion of the reel that holds the line.
Stringer -- A line for keeping fish after they have been caught.
Surfcasting -- Fishing from the surf or near the surf using a specialty style rod that has a substantial butt length on the rod that enables the angler to make much more precise and longer casts.
Swimming lure -- A lure that mimics the swimming motion of large or small bait fish.
Swivel -- A device used to attach two lines, a line to a lure, or a device to prevent the twisting of the monofilament itself.
Tackle -- The gear used by an angler or a commercial fisher to catch fish.
Teasers -- Teasers are used to attract fish to the boat and excite them to strike.
They work by splashing and/or flashing on the surface.
Terminal Tackle -- Refers to the tackle used at the end of the standing line. Swivel, leader line, wire, hooks, etc.
Tail spinners -- Treble hooked lures with attachments on the tail that spin when reeled in.
Trailer hook -- An extra hook added to the back section of a lure used to assure more hook ups
Transducer -- The part of the fish finder that functions like an antenna to send out sonar signals (sound waves) and receive return echoes that are displayed as pictures on the sonar screen. Transducers can be attached to the transom or inside the hull of a boat, or even to a trolling motor using a special mounting
Treble Hooks -- 3 hooks molded together in the form of a single hook.
Internet troll. Those who sign up to start flame wars and argue and generally are interested in stirring up crap.
- to Motor along under electric power or slow generally between 2 and 4 knots while pulling a lure or lures sometimes using several rods or outriggers.
Trolling -- Fishing while dragging artificial lures, live or dead baits behind a boat while in motion to entice game fish to strike.
Trolling motor -- A small electric fishing motor that is mounted on the bow of a boat used to travel very slow with minimal amount of noise.
Trolling rod -- A specialty rod used to drag small or large lures behind a boat while in motion. Most often with all roller guides.
Trough [troff] a narrow channel between two waves or ridges
3. a low point in a pattern that has regular high and low points:
Undertow -- A current below water surface flowing seaward; the receding water below the surface from waves breaking on a shelving beach. The most common phenomena expressed as undertow are actually rip currents.
Upwelling -- The movement of nutrient rich waters from the bottom of the ocean to the surface.
Wild populations -- Fish that have maintained successful natural reproduction with little or no supplementation from hatcheries.