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 Fishing Terminology


Last updated on October 17, 2015

Ever wonder what it is that people are talking about using terms you are not familiar with while they are talking about fishing?

Learn all the Fishing lingo here.

If there is a word you can not find, contact us and we will inform you and post it here on this page.

If you should find an error with one of our definitions - PLEASE inform us so that we may correct it! Thank you!

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Ac   Ad   Af   Al   An    Ar   At


Aberdeen Hook A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Aboard On a boat.

AC Plug
A.C. Plug   A brand name of a large trout-imitating, jointed topwater lure made of wood.


(1) The act of dragging a fly across the current and giving it an unnatural drift.

(2) When fish are biting  -  Getting a nibble

(3) An elusive, but important characteristic of fishing rods. Rods are said to have fast or slow action. Fast action rods are generally stiffer overall, but bend more at the tip, generating higher line speeds longer casts, especially into the wind. Slow action rods, appear to flex their entire length, giving the sense of a more compliant feel.
Describes the elapse time from when the rod is flexed to when it returns to its straight configuration. Also refers to the strength of the rod, light, medium and heavy, with light being a limber rod and heavy a stout rod.

See more detailed information here

Adams Special  A general, widely used dry fly pattern to imitate an adult mayfly.

The Adams is a great multipurpose dry fly and it is commonly used as a searching fly. By simply changing its size, the Adams can imitate a variety of mayfly duns.

Although it is very rare, occasionally trout will sip adult midges floating on the surface. A small adams effectively imitates adult midges.

Adipose Fin  On some fish species its the fatty fin located between the dorsal and tail fin.

Adult  The final phase of an insect's life cycle, most often occurring above water for aquatic insects.

Air bladder   A gas-filled sac in the upper part of the body cavity of many bony fishes. It is located just beneath the vertebral column; its principal function is to offset the weight of the heavier tissue such as bone.

Affluent (Stream)   A stream or river that flows into a larger one; a Tributary.

Alabama Rig 
Alabama (Umbrella/Yumbrella) Rig 

The Alabama/Umbrella/Yumbrella rigs are artificial lure/baits that involve many separate lures/baits attached via wires to a fishing line. Consequently, these rigs are not a single artificial bait/lure, rather a collection of multiple artificial lures/baits each capable of catching a fish.

In the water, the rigs simulate a small school of bait fish and YouTube videos show anglers catching two and even three largemouth bass on an Alabama/Umbrella/Yumbrella rig at the same time.



The rig pictured here is different than using a single lure with multiple treble hooks that is designed to catch just one fish. Instead, the Alabama/Umbrella/Yumbrella rigs are artificial lure/baits that involve many separate lures/baits attached via wires to a fishing line. Consequently, these rigs are not a single artificial bait/lure, rather a collection of multiple artificial lures/baits each capable of catching a fish.

In the water, the rigs simulate a small school of bait fish and YouTube videos show anglers catching two and even three largemouth bass on an Alabama/Umbrella/Yumbrella rig at the same time.

This rig is not legal in Minnesota waters.


Albright knot  A common knot used for tying the backing to fly line.

Learn How To Tie an Albright knot

Alevin A newly hatched salmon or trout

Algae  Simple plant organisms.

Alphabet lures  Wide-body crankbaits that were originally fashioned from wood.

Modern examples include Bomber Model A and the Cotton Cordell Big O.


Read All There is to Know about Fishing Lures at Our Lures Page

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  Fin located on the bottom and near the back of the fish.

ANCHOR   A heavy metal object that keeps boats from drifting.

Anchor buoy  Usually a red plastic ball of at least 24 inches in diameter, with a large ring attached. Hook the ring on the anchor rope and heave the buoy overboard. Drive the boat upwind or upcurrent. Presto! The anchor is pulled up quickly to the buoy using horsepower instead of human power.

anchovy or anchovies   A species of 4- to 8-inch baitfish found in the ocean that is also a popular bait used for striped bass at places like Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and Lake Pleasant but can be used for catfish as well.

ANGLER   Anyone who fishes using a pole or a rod and reel.

angleworm  Any live earthworm placed on a fishing hook.

Angling  a form of fishing. It is often used synonymously with the terms sport fishing and recreational fishing, although subtle semantic distinctions exist among the three terms. Specifically, angling is the practice of catching fish by means of an "angle" (hook). The hook is usually attached by a line to a fishing rod. Frequently, the rod is outfitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook can be dressed with lures or bait.

Anti Reverse

Anti-Reverse – System that prevents reels (typically bait casters) from spinning in reverse and causing tangles. Anti-reverse-mode reels utilize a slip clutch that allows the handle to remain stationary while the fish takes line. Their two biggest advantages are bloodless knuckles and fewer broken tippets.

This all means, when you stop reeling, the reel handle should not be able to move backwards at all.

Parts of a spinning reel: 
1: Pick up or bail 2: Reel seat 3: Reel foot 4: Handle 5: Support arm 6: Anti-reverse lever 7: Skirted spool 8: Fishing line 9: Drag adjustment knob

Some reels do not have the instant anti reverse feature & there is plenty of "play" in the reel handle. This is bad news and is usually found in "cheaper" fishing reels.

If you do not have instant anti reverse on your reel, then each time you set the hook, the handle will slam back until it stops, "shocking" the gears in your reel. Eventually, your reel will start to deteriorate and then finally, it will break on you.

Learn all about Fishing Reels at Our Reels Page

Antron A synthetic yarn material made of long sparkly fibers used for many aspects of fly tying including wrapped bodies, spent wings, and trailing shucks. Is also used for dubbing material.

Arbor  The center part of a fly reel where line and backing (first) is wound.

The size of the spool of a fly reel. "Large arbor" reels have large-diameter spools, which helps prevent a fly line from curling.

Learn all about The Fly reel and Other Fishing Reels at Our Reels Page

Arbor knot A knot used for tying backing to the arbor of the fly reel.

Learn How To Tie An Arbor knot

Armor   Armor, in hydrology and geography is the association of surface pebbles, rocks or boulders with stream beds or beaches. Most commonly hydrological armor occurs naturally; however, a man-made form is usually called riprap, when shorelines or stream banks are fortified for erosion protection with large boulders or sizable manufactured concrete objects. When armor is associated with beaches in the form of pebbles to medium sized stones grading from two to 200 millimeters across, the resulting landform is often termed a shingle beach. Hydrological modeling indicates that stream armor typically persists in a flood stage environment.


Artificial Bait Any manufactured bait that is not nor has ever been alive.

Imitation or substitute for natural bait or fish forage and includes, but is not limited to spinners, spoons, poppers, plugs, jigs and plastic, rubber or other artificial imitations of natural bait.

Learn all about Artificial Fish Bait at Our Artificial Bait Page

Artificial Lure See Lure

Artificial Reef  Any material sunk offshore for the express purpose of attracting fish. Old boats, concrete culverts, metal pipe, the list is endless. Most states now require a permit before dumping because non-practical material was being used, objects that rusted quickly, polluted or were a hazard to shrimpnets.

Attractant   Liquid, solid or power form of scent applied to fishing lures for increased productivity.

Attractor patterns  A style or variety of bright, bold flies that is effective in eliciting strikes, but has few apparent characteristics of a natural food item. Often an attractor is flashy and bigger than life.

    Attractor patterns often provoke a fish's tendency to strike.

Auger Used for ice fishing to drill holes through the ice. Augers come in gas powered or manual back power.

Aught  The digit 0; zero. Usually used in reference to fish hook size.


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Bag    Bai     Bal     Bar     Be    Bi     Bl     Bo     Br     Bu

Back leads   A small device used to force your line down to the bottom.  It is a small lead weight that is tethered to a stick pushed into your bank.  The lead has a small open clip at the top on which you push over your line. The weight is then dropped down under the water, pulling the line down with it.   When a fish strikes, the line pulls up and out of the open clip.

Back cast The casting of line in a direction opposite to the direction the fly is intended to go. The backward counterpart of the forward cast which acts to create a bending action on the fly rod, setting up the conditions to generate the forward cast and present the fly.

Learn all about Casting a Fly Rod at Our How To Cast Page

Backing  Thin, strong string that is attached to a fly reel to fill up the spool before attaching the fly line.

The first segment of line on a reel, usually braided and used to build up the arbor and to offer additional distance for a strong fish to pull out line. An unusually strong fish will take you "into your backing".

Backing down  Driving a boat backwards (in reverse) while pursuing a fish.

Backing Line Nylon or Dacron line tied between the fly line and the reel to act as additional line if a longer length than the flyline is required to play a fish.

Backlash   When fishing line gets tangled on a reel.

Backwater  Shallow area of a river that is sometimes isolated, often being located behind a sand bar or other obstruction in the river. Large backwaters tat are isolated may be referred to as oxbows.

Baetis  A small grey mayfly. see Mayfly

Bag Limit The number of fish that may be kept by an Angler legally.

Bail  Metal, semi-circular arm on an open-face spinning reel that engages the line after a cast.

Bait  usually refers to something natural or live that is used to attract fish to bite. The terms bait and lure may be used interchangeably.

Bait is the food you put on your hook to make fish want to bite it. Any substance used to attract fish. Traditionally, nightcrawlers, insects, and smaller fish have been used for this purpose. There is also artificial bait to attract fish.

Because of the risk of transmitting whirling disease, trout and salmon should not be used as bait.

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Bait Bucket   A bucket used to hold bait.

Baitcasting Reel
Baitcasting Rod and Reel

Most common style of reel used in bass fishing, typically round or oval shaped and somewhat open construction. Also known as level wind reels.

Fishing with a revolving-spool reel and baitcasting rod; reel mounted on topside of rod.

The spool turns during casting, unlike the spool of a spinning or spincasting reel.

Click here for more info . . .

Baitfish a small fish (minnow or shiner) that is a source of food for a larger fish: used for fishing bait.

Bait Fishing  Is a style of Fishing which uses a live or dead organism (worm, cricket, etc,) attached on a Fish Hook. It is a simple way of presenting a Fishing Bait in an area of water where the fish are likely to be feeding. For more information, see our section on Bait Fishing.

Baitholder Hook or Bait Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Baitwell  A special well or live well in a boat to hold bait.

Balao Pronounced "bally-hoo," this is the popular offshore bait used for trolling, most often for billfish. The bait of choice for sailfish for many years. A pricey bait when used for other saltwater species.

Ball bearings  Small metal balls added to the mechanical mechanism of high-quality reels to make the retrieve smoother. Normally the more ball bearings a reel has the higher quality.

Ballyhoo   A small shiny fish used for bait.
see Balao

Balsa  Type of wood several lures are manufactured from. This wood is very light, yet highly buoyant. Gives the lure great action. Examples include Bagley's Balsa B, and Rapala Minnows.

Bank   The raised ground next to a body of water.   The sloping area between the water’s edge and level ground. Roots and vegetation stabilize the banks, filter sediments, and reduce soil erosion.

The banks of a river may be gently sloping to the water, with a flat beach; or, there may be a steep drop, or even a cliff. An "undercut" bank is usually on the outside part of a river bend. With an undercut bank, water is actually "cutting" away soil underneath the bank. Water may go several feet under the bank, even below where you are standing. Fish, muskrats, and other animals use undercuts as shelter.

Bar  Long, shallow ridge in a body of water.


1.  a plant hair or bristle ending in a hook

2.  any of the side branches of the shaft of a feather 

3.  a raised burr on a hook to keep fish from getting off.

The barb is shaped such that after the hook goes into the fish's mouth, it won't easily come back out. Many catch and release anglers pinch barbs with pliers or file them down for easy hook removal.

Barbel  A slender tactile process or fleshy projection located around the head.

Barbless  a type of hook which does not have a barb on the pointed end. Barbless hooks are easier to set in the jaw of the fish and make it easier to release a fish unharmed. Many streams and rivers don't allow hooks with barbs to be used.

Barbless Hook a type of hook which does not have a barb on the pointed end. Barbless hooks are easier to set in the jaw of the fish and make it easier to release a fish unharmed. Many streams and rivers don't allow hooks with barbs to be used.

Barbules A small barb or pointed projection, especially one of the small projections fringing the edges of the barbs of feathers

Barrel knot  A knot used to tie two pieces of tippet together -- also known as a blood knot.

Click here to learn how to tie a Barrel Knot

Bass   A very popular game fish; fun to catch and good to eat. Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."

Click Here for
More detailed info on a Bass Fish

Bass Assassin   A brand of soft-plastic jerkbait.

Bass Boat   A fast boat made for fishing on fresh water.

Bateau   A small flat-bottomed boat, squared off on each end.

Bay  An inlet of the sea or ocean, usually smaller than a gulf.
Major indentation in the shoreline of a lake or reservoir

Beacon   A signal light used to help guide boats and airplanes.


1. Glass, or plastic beads added to a Carolina Rig to enhance the noise, and protect the knot.

2. See Knot Protector Bead  

Bead Head  A Bead Head fly uses a metal bead to simulate the thorax on a nymph or wet fly and to add weight to the fly. Typically gold or silver is used, but any color can be used. Often a bright color such as red can stimulate a fish into biting.

Usually but not always a fly with a bead immediately behind the hook eye. Beads come in many materials, from brass to nickel brass to ceramic. Some beads help a fly sink, but others are floaters.

Bead headed midges  A type of fly used for fly-fishing. See above

Beds  Circular areas in the lake bottom that bass clear out in which to lay their eggs during the spawn. "The bass are on the beds" refers to the fish actively spawning.

Bell sinkers  Sinkers shaped like a bell, which are normally used on a Carolina Rig. Also known as casting sinkers.

Belly  The middle section of a fly line.

A tapered fly line has several components, with a fairly sharply tapered tip (at the fly end). The middle portion of the line is called the belly.

Belly Boat  A trademark for a brand of rubber inner tube boat used for fishing in quiet water.

Belly Strip  A strip of belly meat from a baitfish. Cut and trimmed in a streamlined fashion, it can be trolled behind the boat, where it flutters in a fashion enticing to gamefish.

Benthic  Bottom-dwelling.

Berley  bait scattered on water to attract fish

Billfish  Any of several species of pelagic fish, including sailfish, spearfish, blue, black or white marlin, and swordfish.

A fish with long jaws.

Bimini Twist A specific series of knots and twists in a leader which acts as a springy shock absorber in the line, usually used when fishing for large salt water fish.

It has a loop and a double line section making it especially strong. 

Learn How to Tie A Bimini Twist Knot

Biomass  The aggregate amount of living matter or a specific species within a specific habitat, or the total number of a specific species in a specific habitat.

Biot The short thick barbs from the leading edge of the first flight feather typically from a goose or a duck. Used to simulate tails, legs, antennae and other parts. Can be found dyed in many different colors.

Birdnest A tangle that can occur using a level wind,a newbies nightmare. When the line gets all tangled up inside your reel.

Also called Spaghetti

When you cast with a Baitcaster Reel and you don't put your thumb on the line before the lure hits the water, all your line will get tangled and make a huge mess that looks just like a bird's nest. Getting a birdnest is just part of fishing with a Baitcaster, everybody gets them.

Bite  when a fish tries to take a bait (or lure). Also called a strike.

Bite indicator   A device which activates or signals when a fish is on the line. It can be as simple as a bell placed on the line between two fishing pole guides that rings when a fish either nibbles or takes the bait. There are commercially made bite indicators as well. Bite indicators are often used by those bottom-fishing for catfish and carp.

Biting  Time when fish are being caught on hooks.

Blade Bait – A weighted, fish-shaped blade made with a swinging hook and designed for fishing deep.

Black Bass  Term used to describe several types of bass; the most common being smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass.

Blank  Refers to the fundamental component of a fishing rod. A naked rod shaft. The shaft upon which a handle and guides are added to create a fishing rod.

Fiber glass and graphic fly rods (which also have fiber glass) are produced by wrapping sheets of graphite and fiber glass around a carefully tapered steel rod (called a mandrel). The hollow rod that results from this process is called a blank. It has no guides, ferrules or reel seat.

Blind cast   Casting at no particular target.

Blood knot  A knot used to tie two pieces of tippet together

best known for its strength in tying monofilaments of different diameter and material together. It is rather difficult to tie on the water and commercially-made blood knot tiers are available to make the job easier. A blood knot is often used to make a fly leader of several different diameter monofilament segments.

also known as a barrel knot.

Click here to learn how to tie a Blood Knot

Bloodworm   A worm with red juice inside that is used for bait.

Bluebird skies   A term used to describe bright, sunny, blue sky conditions that often make catching fish tough.

Blue fish  A kind of fish caught in saltwater.

Bluegill  (Lepomis macrochirus)

The Bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as bream, brim, or copper nose. It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes.

An edible North American fish, with a deep body and bluish cheeks and gill covers.

Boat   A small vessel that is moved by oars, sails or engine.

Boathouse   A building to keep boats

Bobber  maintains bait at given depth, indicates bitesAlso known as a float.

A small piece of cork or light wood or plastic attached to a fishing line to show when a fish is biting.

See More Detailed Information on Bobbers

Bobber Stop  stops the line from sliding through the bobber at the depth you set them.

See More Detailed Information on Bobber Stops

Bobbin  A tool for holding a spool of thread while fly tying which allows the thread to be dispensed with a controlled tension.

Bomber Long "A"   A brand name of crankbait.

Bonk To kill a fish.

Boondoggle  Drifting your boat at or about the same speed as the current so one cast runs the entire length of the run.

Boot Opposite of chromer. An old salmon or Steelhead. Well past edible, although often seen in the hands of a beek, claiming "this ones for the smoker".

Bottom bouncing   a spin fishing technique where the spinner is cast up river from the shore, and then allowed to bounce on the river bottom until it has moved downstream.

Bottom Feeder   See Bottom fish

Bottom fish or Bottom feeder  A bottom-feeding fish, such as a catfish or carp. Refers to a fish that feeds predominantly on the bottom, not just one that is sometimes caught on the bottom, such as a largemouth bass or trout.

Bottom fishing   Fishing with the hook on the bottom

Bottom Rig   The hooks, weights and things fastened together for bottom fishing.

Bow   The forward (front) part of a boat.

Bow fishing  Using a bow and arrow, typically with a reel attached to the bow, to harvest fish.

Bow Rail   The front railing on a boat.

Brackish  Water that is mostly fresh, with some salt. The far ends of tidal creeks are mostly brackish, supporting sometimes fresh and saltwater fish.

Braided channel  Usually found on freestone rivers, braided channels are ever-changing smaller channels that together constitute the course of the entire river.

Braided fishing line Braided fishing lines are tough, strong and limp. They excel in some fishing situations and are the best choice for others. Braids should be used for their good qualities when appropriate.

1) Power Pro - Braided fishing line

Power Pro is a popular braid that works well in a wide variety of fishing applications. It comes in a wide range of tests and last a long time.

2) Spiderwire - Braided fishing line

Spiderwire was one of the first braids and is still one of the most popular. It holds up well and worked for a lot of different kinds of fishing.

3) Dacron Fly Line Backing - Braided fishing line

Dacron braid was used for many years as the main line in big game fishing. Now it is used mostly for backing on fly reels. It can be used as a main line still.

Brass  Materials used to manufacture several products in the marine industry since it resists corrosion. Also refers to sinkers made of brass, which are harder and noisier that typical lead sinkers.

Brats Hatchery raised Steelhead

Breakline  A line of abrupt change in depth, bottom type, or water clarity in the feature of otherwise uniform structure.

Brood stock  Adult fish used to propagate the subsequent generation of hatchery fish.

Brook trout  Actually a member of the char family, small fish that inhabits the cold, clear waters of spring-fed streams and mountain lakes. Brook trout are popular as game fish because they are abundant and relatively easy to catch. Brook trout are greenish brown with red spots and wavy marks on their backs. Males have a red band on their sides. During spawning, the male develops a hooked jaw and a red belly, and his fins may turn deep orange with black and white highlights.

Brook trout are native to Southeastern Canada and the United States north of Georgia.

Brook trout feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, occasionally supplementing this diet with crayfish. Large brook trout may eat small fish.

More on The Brooke Trout

Brushline  The inside or the outside edge of a stretch of brush.

Brush pile  Usually refers to a mass of small- to medium-sized tree limbs lying in the water. Brush piles may be only one of two feet across, or they may be extremely large; they may be visible or submerged. They can be created by Mother Nature or be man made. They typically attract fish, and fishermen.

Buccal  Pertaining to the cheeks or the cavity of the mouth.

Buck  Male fish

Bucketmouth - Largemouth Bass  (see bass)- A black bass, body green-shaded with a broad, continuous dark stripe along each side, belly white to yellowish, dorsal fin almost completely separated between spiny and soft portion and lower jaw extends past the gold-colored eye. Also called bigmouth bass, green trout, green bass

Bucktail   An imitation bait with feather or hair and a hook.
A streamer fly tied to imitate a fish. This fly usually features a long segment of hair, laid back from the eye to the bend of the hook. That hair often is from a deer's tail.

Buffer   a vegetated area of grass, shrubs, or trees designed to capture and filter runoff from surrounding land uses.

Bullet  Same as a chromer  -  A bright, fresh fish

Bullet Head Tool  A tool with a plate with several holes which can be pushed over the eye of a hook to arrange material in a bullet pattern. The material is first tied in facing forwards beyond the eye symmetrically around the shank, and then pushed backwards by the tool to form the distinctive bullet shape.

Bullet Sinker  A cone shaped piece of lead, zinc or steel of varying weights that slides up and down the line.

Bumping  Refers to the act of making a lure hit an object, such as a log, tree or rock, in a controlled manner (either intentionally or unintentionally), which can get the attention of a fish and result in a strike.

Bump-troll  Keeping a trolled bait mostly in one spot, by pointing the boat into the current/wind and "bumping" the engines in and out of gear, to hold position.

Buoy   A floating marker

Buoyancy The tendency of a body to float or rise when submerged in a fluid.

Butt Cap  This is at the bottom of the handle on a fishing rod: sometimes made of rubber, sometimes of cork. This is the end you might press into your stomach if you're fighting a good fish.

Butt Guide  This is the guide closest to the handle end of your rod. Its located on the thickest part of the rod (butt), that's why it's referred to as the butt guide.

Butt Seat  A seat that is shaped in a sort of half moon design, which anglers often use to lean against while fishing. Also known as "Bike" seats.

This small bottom cushion is popular among fishermen who fish long hours. 


Buzzbaita type of topwater lure. These "safety pin" wire lures for surface fishing have a propeller blade on one wire and a weighted body, skirt and hook on the other.


Buzzing  Retrieving a spinnerbait or buzzbait along the water's surface to create a splash effect to resemble a wounded baitfish.

Bycatch  Non-targeted sea life caught by commercial fishermen. Tuna longlines have a bycatch of turtles or mahi-mahi, for instance. Shrimp nets have a bycatch of at least a hundred species of fish and crab, discarded overboard.

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Car    Cas   Cau    Ch    Ci    Cl   Co    Cr     Cu

Caddis fly  Also known as a "sedge," they are characterized by a tent-like wing or wept-back wings. An aquatic insect of major importance, along with the mayfly and stonefly, for the trout fly-fisherman. the Caddis Fly is also an insect that goes through a complete metamorphosis much like a butterfly. Caddis have four stages of development, from egg to larva to pupa to adult.

A caddis worm is the larva of a caddis fly.

Caddis Worm  the larva of a caddis fly.

Canal  A man made waterway used for navigation.

Cajun Line  See Zebco

Camouflage   A way to hide things and make them hard to see.

Cane Pole  A pole of natural cane, often made from Calcutta or Tonkin bamboo, used for fishing. No reel is used; the line is tied to the pole. Extremely effective for fishing small, narrow streams or creeks. Those fishing with such a rig are said to be cane-poling.

Canoe   A long boat pointed at both ends that is easy to paddle.

Cape  The skin off a rooster chicken's neck, which yields several hundred good fly-tying feathers from a quality cape.

Captive brood stock  Fish raised and spawned in captivity.

Carnivorous  Feeding on animal tissues.

Carolina rig  A rigging method designed to present a soft plastic lure along the contour of the bottom. This rig consists of a main line with a heavy sinker, bead, then swivel. The swivel has a leader (1-6ft) to which a plastic lure is tied. Best lures include lizards, centipedes and French fries.

Carp   A kind of freshwater fish.

Cartilaginous fish  A major group of fish including sharks and rays.

Cartop or cartopper  Refers to a boat small enough to be carried on the top of a car and hand-launched, especially at fisheries with limited or no boat launching facilities.

Cast   a technique using a rod to throw your line, hook and bait to the intended target.

Casting a technique using a rod to throw your line, hook and bait into the water.

Casting Arc  The distance the rod is passed through from the beginning of the backcast to the end of the forward cast.  The longer the cast, the longer the arc should be, since it helps you in making the cast

Casting Plane  The angle(s) above or below horizontal the rod tip actually follows during the casting sequence. 

Casting Spoon  A spoon-shaped metal or hard plastic lure that wobbles to attract fish.

They can be fitted with a fixed (solid) hook or swinging hook, that has a single, double or treble points.

Cast net  A circular net thrown by hand. The outer perimeter is lined with lead weights. Great for catching shrimp and baitfish.

Catadromous  Refers to fish that migrate from fresh water to salt water to spawn or reproduce such as the American eel.

Catch-and-release  Term that refers to releasing the fish you catch so that they can live to fight another day, and thus insuring a productive fishery.

The ethic of returning fish to the water unharmed.

This is probably the most important thing when fishing. 
It is the policy of returning every fish you are not going to eat or use. Just because you may not like the fish you have caught, it doesn't mean that you should kill it !
I find the needless death of this wonderful resource a great waste of life

A conservation motion that happens most often right before the local Fish and Game officer pulls over a boat that has caught over it's limit.

Read detailed info here on

Catfish   A kind of fish with whiskers.

Click Here for
More detailed info on a Catfish

Cattail   or reed mace, any plant of the genus Typha, perennial herbs found in almost all open marshes.

Cattails are common plants in many freshwater wetlands. These grass-like plants grow six to eight feet tall. Each one has a fuzzy brown tip called a spike. Cattails are found in water a few feet deep. About half their stem is underwater. Cattails grow close together, forming great hiding places for many animals. And cattails themselves are important sources of food.

Bluegills are one of many kinds of fish that like to hide among the shadows of the cattail stems.

Caudal fin  Caudal is an anatomical term meaning "the back". The caudal fin is the tail fin or tail of a fish.

Centipede  Four-inch straight plastic worm used for Carolina rigs.

cfs  Abbreviation for "cubic feet per second," the term is a means of measuring the flow of a stream. A small stream might carry 40 cfs and offer good trout fishing, while a large river like the Colorado might reach 30,000 cfs in the Grand Canyon during flood stage.

Channel  The bed of a stream or river. This can also refer to a submerged stream or river channel in a reservoir.

Channel Marker- Used to mark the safe edges of a channel.

Char  A species of fish that is related to trout, that prefers cold water and is found many places in the world, including both east and west United States. Examples of char are brook trout, lake trout, arctic char and Dolly Varden.

Charter Boat   A boat you pay to go out on.

Chenille A yarn-like material for wrapping bodies which is in the form of a pipe cleaner (with thread in place of the stiff wire). Can be found in many colors and materials, and is a critical component of the Wooly Worm and Wooly Buggers patterns.

Chine  The "running edge" of a boat. The chine is the edge made by the joining of the bottom and the sides of a boat.

Chinook  The Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, is the largest species in the Pacific (Oncorhynchus) salmon family. Other commonly used names for the species include king salmon, Quinnat salmon, spring salmon and Tyee salmon. Chinook are anadromous fish native to the north Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America ranging from California to Alaska. They are also native to Asian rivers ranging from northern Japan to the Palyavaam River in the Siberian far east, although only the Kamchatka Peninsula supports relatively persistent native populations. They have been introduced to other parts of the world, including New Zealand and the Great Lakes. A large Chinook is a prized and sought-after catch for a sporting angler. The flesh of the salmon is also highly valued for its dietary nutritional content, which includes high levels of important omega-3 fatty acids.

Chironomid Scientific name for the members of the Diptera family of insects commonly known as Midges. In the pupae stage they typically appear to be small aquatic worms.

Choked: Busted of a fish or did something dumb to lose your fish

Chromer: A bright, fresh fish  -  Also known as a Bullet

Chub   Chub is a common fish name. It pertains to any one of a number of ray-finned fish in several families and genera.  A class or subclass of the bony fishes.

Chugger  Topwater lure that "chugs" when retrieved, similar but smaller than a popper. Example, Storm Chug Bug.
A Chugger has a dished-out, concave or cupped head designed to make a splash when pulled sharply. The act of systematically working the lure across the surface is called "chugging."

Chum  Chopped up fish, shellfish or even animal parts (for sharks), dropped overboard to attract gamefish; putting some bait in the water to draw fish to your area.  A lot of anglers will use bread as a way of chumming.

Chum bag  A mesh bag left hanging overboard, filled with chum. Trollers sometimes drag the bag alongside the boat. Smaller bags can be trolled deep while attached to downrigger balls.

CHUMMING – A fishing technique by which bait or scent is released into the water to attract fish to take a lure or baited hook. Chum consists of live, dead, ground-up or prepared baits and scents and is used in fresh and saltwater.

Chunk  Plastic or pork trailer commonly used on jigs.

Cigar minnows  A yellow-tailed member of the scad family, sold most often as frozen bait in five-pound boxes, caught along the Florida Panhandle. Widely regarded for their firm texture and appeal to offshore fish. Cigar minnows can also be caught on tiny fly hooks, called Sabiki Rigs.

Cinch Knot (also known as Clinch Knot) A knot used to tie the tippet to the eye of the fly. A modified version of this, the Improved Cinch Knot, is probably the most used knot for this purpose.

See how to tie a cinch knot
along with other necessary fishing knots
by clicking here

Circle hook  A circular hook up to 16/0 size, very safe to handle. The fish hooks itself with this one, and the harder they pull, the more firmly the hook imbeds itself. Ideal for releasing fish, since the circle hook is seldom swallowed.

This functionally-shaped fishhook results in more fish being hooked. Fishermen are learning that the Circle Sea is catching 60% more fish than conventional J shaped hooks, including a 95% lip hook rate so the fish cannot escape. The Circle Sea hook is scientifically proven to reduce fish mortality. Hook set is not required. This hook has greater holding power, more hookups, fewer drop-offs and it holds bait better. Ideal for all freshwater and saltwater fish species.

The trick is to let the fish take the bait, resist the temptation set the hook yourself, let the fish take it, eventually the rod will double and the fish will set them self. If you try and set the hook, the hook will not work properly and you will actually pull the hook right out of the fishes mouth. If you get too excited and set the hook you would pull the bait right out of the fishes mouth. You must resist as the reel screams out line . . .   the fish would hook itself.

Cisco  Any of several whitefishes found primarily in the Great Lakes region.

Clacker  A metal device added to certain brand Buzzbait in order to make additional noise.

Cleaning preparing your catch for eating.

Clevis  The swivel device to which a spinner blade is attached and which allows the blade to rotate.

Click drag A mechanical system on many inexpensive fly reels used to slow down or resist the pulling efforts of a fish, so as to slow the fish down and tire it to the point where it can be landed. Basically a clicking sound is created by a triangular steel ratchet snaps over the teeth of the gear in the reel spool. The term singing reels refers to the high frequency clicking associated with a big fish pulling out line.

Clicker cork  A thin Styrofoam cork, 3 inches long, mounted on an 8-inch wire. Yanking on it produces a clicking sound that imitates shrimp snapping their tails underwater. These corks are great for suspending a plastic shrimptail jig above a grass bottom, and below troublesome floating grass.

Clinch knot  One of 4-5 very useful knots. Very simple to tie, yet very strong. also known as CINCH KNOT

Click here to learn how to tie a Clinch Knot

Closed-Face Spinning Reel  Same as a spin-casting reel

A fixed-spool reel with the spool enclosed by a housing and the bail arm replaced by a small pick-up pin. Originally designed for spinning, they are popular for light float fishing, especially trotting.

The Closed face reel has a stationary spool set on the underside of the rod. A curved bar, or bail, acts as a guide on the outer lip of the spool. As the reel handle is turned, the bail also turns, winding line neatly onto the spool.


Click here for detailed information on
Closed Face Spinning Reel

Clouser minnow  A streamer pattern that imitates baitfish, popular for many different species of fish, named after originator Bob Clouser.

Clown  A color typically used mostly in hard jerkbait like Rogues. Consists of chrome body, with chartreuse back, and red head or face.

Coarse Fishing   a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland for angling for coarse fish, which are those types of freshwater fish other than game fish (trout, salmon and char). The sport and the techniques used are particularly popular in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. A recreational sport that arose in England and Europe as a ‘gentleman’s pursuit’, where cyprinids including roach (Rutilus rutilus), rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), chub (Leuciscus cephalus) and dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) are caught and released.

Coastal pelagic  An offshore fish that migrates along the coastline, but isn't a true, ocean-going pelagic. Examples are Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, Cobia.

Coffee Grinder: a spincast reel   See  Spincast reel here

Cold Front A weather condition accompanied by high, clear skies, and a sudden drop in temperature.

Coldwater Fishery  Refers to waters typically in the higher elevations that can be predominately trout fisheries.

Colorado Blade design used in spinnerbaits. Gives out a strong vibration. Blades are circular shaped.

Combo   A combo is a matched rod and a reel set, configured for a specific type of fishing. See Rod and Reel

Commercial Fishing  Fishing to sell the catch of fish for the market.

Commercial Fishing Boat  Used for fishing to earn a living.

Conservation  the wise use of natural resources.

Cork   Keeps a hook from sinking. Bobbles when a fish nibbles.

Cosmic Clock  The sun's seasonal effect on water and weather conditions relating to barometric pressure, wind, and cloud cover.

Cove  An indentation along a shoreline. A very small indentation a few feet or so across is often referred to as a "pocket cove."

A small sheltered inlet or bay.

Cover Cover consists of weeds, trees, branches, tulles, buck brush, stick-ups, rocks and man-made objects like docks, tires, etc.

Cowbells  A flashing, multi-bladed lure that resembles a small school of bait fish that is commonly used to troll for trout.

Crankbait   plastic or wooden lure with a diving bill, that dives downward when retrieved or "cranked."

See More Detailed Information on Crankbaits

Crappie  (kraw pee) A kind of fish that is fun to catch and good to eat. Freckle.

Click Here for
More detailed info on a Crappie

Craw dad  See Crayfish

Craw fish  See Crayfish

Crawldad   See Crayfish

Cray fish  Small fresh water crustaceans similar to lobsters only smaller. A favorite food of bass. Also describes a reddish color used in all sorts of lures.

Creek   a small to medium sized natural stream of water that is smaller than a river.

Creek bed (or streambed) — the bottom of the creek (or any water channel), which is usually composed of a mixture of gravel, sand, and silt.

Creek Channel (or stream channel) - the area of the riparian corridor that contains flowing water (either intermittently or continually).

Creel   A small basket with a carry-strap to keep fish in.

Creel Limit  The number of fish an angler can keep as set by local or state regulations. It can vary from water to water, so be sure to check the fishing regulations.

Cricket Can   Keeps crickets alive to use for bait.

Crickhopper  A brand of plastic lure resembling a grasshopper commonly used for trout and sometimes, for smallmouth bass

Crimp sleeve  A metal tube, thin as two wire leaders together. When attaching wire or very heavy mono leader to a hook, one should use the crimp sleeve. A special, plier-like tool crimps the sleeve tight.

Croaker  or "hardhead" are popular saltwater fish of the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the USA.
From the Sciaenidae Family. Commonly called drums, croakers, or hardheads for the repetitive throbbing or drumming sounds they make.

Cross chop  Wind-driven waves and ocean swell colliding from two directions. Also caused by waves bouncing off a seawall and going back out, colliding with incoming waves.

Crustaceans  Lobsters, spiny lobsters, crabs, prawns, shrimps, crayfish.

Crystal Flash The trade name for a synthetic stringy material used in many streamer patterns to add flash and color.

Ctenoid Scales   Ctenoid (toothed) scales are like cycloid scales, with small teeth along their outer edges. They are usually found on fishes with spiny fin rays, such as the perch-like fishes. The scales have a rough texture with a toothed outer or posterior edge featuring tiny teeth called ctenii. These scales contain almost no bone, being composed of a surface layer containing hydroxyapatite and calcium carbonate and a deeper layer composed mostly of collagen. The enamel of the other scale types is reduced to superficial ridges and ctenii.

Both cycloid and ctenoid scales are overlapping, making them more flexible than cosmoid and ganoid scales. Unlike ganoid scales, they grow in size through additions to the margin. The scales of some species exhibit bands of uneven seasonal growth called annuli (singluar annulus). These bands can be used to age the fish. Most ray-finned fishes have ctenoid scales. Some species of flatfishes have ctenoid scales on the eyed side and cycloid scales on the blind side, while other species have ctenoid scales in males and cycloid scales in females.

Cul-du-Canard Feather  In French, literally, "the butt of the duck," which is where these fine, downy, useful fly-tying feathers can be found.

Short wispy feathers taken from near the preen gland of a duck. Typically there are few of these feathers found per duck. These feathers add a significant amount of float to a fly due to the fact that they are soaked with natural preen oil. Use of floatant on these feathers will negate their floating qualities, actually causing the fly to lose flotation.

Culling  Refers to releasing a smaller fish when you have a limit and have now caught a larger fish that will weed out one of the smaller ones. "This big fish will cull that small . . . ;" is a phrase heard on The Bassmasters TV show often.

Culprit worm   Although there are several similar worms, Culprit is the manufacturer of the original ribbon tail plastic worm, thus it is often referred to as a "Culprit "style worm.

Culvert   An underground water channel, usually placed under a road or structure to allow for development of land. Culverts take the form of concrete box-like structures or large-diameter storm drain pipes.

Curly Tail   A trademark for a brand of curved-tail soft-plastic lures.

Curly-tailed Grub  A curved-tail soft plastic bait often fitted on a jighead.

Curve cast A casting technique that allows an angler to cast a fly around an obstacle. It is also used to minimize the influence of water current or wind on the fly or the fly line.

Cut  A narrow body of water cutting through land. For instance, a boat cut gouged through a barrier island, for boater access.

Cut bait  Fish cut into chunks to fit the hook.

Cuttbow  a rainbow/cutthroat hybrid, the cuttbow has both the rainbow's stripe and a cutthroat's "slash" under its jaw.

Cutthroat trout  A native to many Rocky Mountain rivers, the cutthroat has a crimson "slash" under its jaw and black spots concentrated near the tail.

Cutting board  Plywood surrounded by a lip of wood, sealed and painted. Or just an old piece of plywood. Used for cutting bait, and preventing knife cuts on expensive boat gunnels.

Cycloid Scales   Cycloid (circular) scales have a smooth texture and are uniform, with a smooth outer edge or margin. They are most common on fish with soft fin rays, such as salmon and carp.

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De     Di    Dnr     Do     Dr     Du

Dabbing Working a lure up and down in the same spot a dozen or more times in a bush, or beside a tree or other structure.

Daily Limit The number of fish that may be legally taken during a calendar day. A fish when landed and not immediately released becomes part of the bag limit of the person originally hooking the fish even if the fish is donated to another person. If you receive fish from another angler, those fish also become part of your daily limit.

Dam   Used to hold water back. It usually makes a lake.

Damselfly  A small member of the dragonfly family.

Dapping A relatively ancient technique of presenting a fly on the surface of the water where the fly is connected to a short piece of line on a long rod. The fly is then touched on the surface of the water, immediately over a place where a fish might lie.

Dardevle  A trademark for a brand of spoons typically used for trout and northern pike fishing.

Dead drift  A drift that imitates the natural action of an insect by floating directly downstream with the current.

D.E.C.  Department of Environmental Conservation.

Deer Hair Body hair from deer which is used in many fly patterns to supply body and floatation.

Deer Hair Bug  A floating fly-rodding lure made from hollow deer hair and used principally for bass and panfish.

Depth Finder   Measures how deep the water is under a boat.

A sonar device, either a flasher unit or LCR recorder, used to read the bottom structure, determine depth, and in some cases actually spot the fish.

also called a fishfinder.

Depth Recorder  See Depth Finder

Depth Sounder  See Depth Finder

Deep-drop  Bottom fishing in deep water, from 500 to 1,100 feet and sometimes deeper. Usually, a sash (window) weight is required to reach bottom. Circle hooks are a necessity.

Delta  Sediment deposited at the mouth of a major river, pushing shallow water offshore, as in the Mississippi Delta.

Demersal  Fish living at or near the bottom, although sometime in mid-water i.e. cod, haddock, hake, pollock, and all forms of flatfish.

Deposition   settlement of materials from moving water onto the channel bed, banks, and floodplains. Deposition occurs when flowing water is unable to transport the material.

Die off
Die-off   Refers to having many fish die at the same time, quite often baitfish; also referred to as a fish kill.

Dillies  See Dilly's

Dilly's   A type of small earthworm popular for catching sunfish and trout.

Dink  Bass not long enough to meet state fisheries regulations or tournament standards. Typically less than 14 inches

Dip Bait   A smelly paste-type bait primarily used for catfish.

Dip Net   A net with a handle. Used to get fish into a boat.

Disgorger  Device for removing hooks deeply embedded in the throat of fish.

Disk drag A mechanical system on more expensive fly reels whereby resistance is created to the line as a fish pulls it out. This resistance is intended to slow the fish and tire it. The resistance proper is created by applying pressure between two disks. Different from the click drag, the disk drag is smoother and less likely to create a sudden force that will break the line.

Disturbance pattern Fly fishing term for creating a fish attracting disturbance by working the fly.

D.N.R. Department of Natural Resources

Dobsonfly  A large aquatic insect, the larva of which is the popular hellgrammite bait.

Dobber   (also called float) a small red and white ball that sink when a fish has grabbed the hook

1.  an enclosed area of water in a port for the loading, unloading, and repair of ships

2. a platform built out from the shore into the water and supported by piles; provides access to ships and boats

Dock lines  Ropes used to secure the boat.

Dodgers   a type of Lure  

Doe  Hen Steelies/Salmon

Doll Fly   A trademark for a brand of chenille-bodied, hackle-wrapped jig.

Do-nothing rig    Western, clear water technique generally applied in deep water and on light line. Consists of main line with a small brass sinker, then a bead, and light wire hook. baits are usually small 4-inch worms. The rig is dropped to desired depth and then just slightly jiggled or left to "do nothing."

Doodlesock or Doodlesocking   A method of cane-pole or long-pole fishing in which a lure or bait is repeatedly dipped and dragged through likely fish structures. Used in largemouth bass and crappie fishing. Very effective when fish are holding tight to cover.

Doormat   Large flounder, roughly the length and weight of a doormat.

Dorsal Fin  Dorsal meaning top.  This is the large fin on top of the fish's back.

Double haul   A casting technique where the angler pumps the fly line with the non-casting hand on the forward and backward segments of the cast. The pumping motion accelerates the line and gives the cast additional length. Double hauling is an essential technique for long casting.

Double Hook  two hooks made together; built into one.

Some states make double and treble hooks illegal and also regulate the number of hooks that can be attached to one line. Get familiar with your State Fishing Laws by clicking here

Double-tapered fly line  A fly line that is thicker on both ends and thinner in the middle. Double-tapered fly lines can be switched around as one end becomes worn.

Doughball  A doughball is just what it sounds like, a little ball of dough.

A ball of bait made from bread or specially prepared dough used for bait-fishing. Commonly used for carp.

Downcurrent term referring to direction

Downlake term referring to direction

Downrigger  Used to slow troll most commonly for Kingfish and grouper. Standard equipment on the Kingfish tournament boats.

Downrigger ball  Cannonball-shaped device with a fin, used to keep a trolled bait far beneath the boat.

Downriver term referring to direction. Something that is moving down-river is moving towards the mouth of a river, from a point further up the river. Something that is down-river is towards the mouth of a river.

Downshore  term referring to direction

Downstream term referring to direction

Downstream drift   The act of allowing the fly to drift past the fisherman and rise to the surface on the river below him, particularly on a nymph drift.

Drag  This is the mechanism that allows you to set how much resistance a fish feels when it pulls on the line. The tighter you set the drag, the more resistance the fish feels. You want to set the resistance tight enough that it tires out your fish, but not so tight that the line gets over stressed or breaks

It limits how fast a fish can strip line from the reel.
When you tighten the drag on your reel it makes the line harder for the fish to pull out and makes them get tired faster. But you have to be careful not to make it too tight or the fish can pull so hard your line breaks.

2. When a fly line catches on a current, making the fly drift in an unnatural fashion.

Dredging  Retrieving a Crankbait so that it continually digs or dredges up the bottom. This causes reflex strikes from fish.

Dressed  See Dressed Fish

Dressed Fish A fish which has been cleaned by removing the entrails. Dressed fish also may be filleted and/or have their head, gills and scales removed.

Dressed Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Drift anchor   Used most commonly in windy areas, by fishermen who drift all day. This anchor is more of an underwater kite that slows the boat's drift in order to thoroughly fish a productive area.

Drift boat   Also known as a Mackenzie river dory, it's a river fishing craft ranging between 14 and 18 feet long with a flat bottom, upswept prow and rigid hull.

Drift Boating Technique used to fish by drifting with the current, sometimes in a drift boat.

Drift fishing   Drifting along with the wind and tide, casting repeatedly. Anglers working the grass flats off Florida, for instance, make one drift after another all day. Catch a few fish, and toss a buoy, to make an accurate drift through the same area. If Saturday crowds threaten to overwhelm the buoyed area, use a GPS to mark the spot for return.

Drift sock  A large sock shaped like airport wind socks. This is dropped over the side of the boat to help control the boat in rough water.

Drip bag   Very similar to an IV drip bag used by doctors, this device releases a constant drip of pogey oil over the side, attracting fish.

Drop Off
Drop-Off  A sudden increase in depth, associated with a flat, point, gulley washes, small creek channels, land points, and the general lay of the land.

When your wife leaves you with the kid(s) and you take them to the babysitter to go fishing.

Dropper  a separate line tied onto the main line near the hook. It is used to attach a weight to a separate line or to fish two hooks.

The secondary fly tied on the leader somewhere between the lead fly and the fly line.

A practice of fishing two flies at the same time, often one on the surface and a second underwater. This increases the chances of getting a successful fly in front of a fish.

Droppers are usually a nymph.

Drop Shot Hook   A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Drop Shot Rig   Japanese designed technique in which the main line is tied to a sinker. The lure is tied to a leader which is tied above the sinker. This allows the lure to sit a the exact depth of suspended fish.

A tackle rigging technique employing a hook tied to the line from four-inches to four-feet above the sinker. The hook is attached using a Palomar knot and the weight is attached to the tag line from the knot. The hook is set at a 90-degree angle to the line, typically with the hook point pointing upward toward the pole. Typical drop shot baits are small, usually 4-inches or less.

Dry fly   A pattern designed to imitate an adult insect, floating on top of the water.

Dry flies can also imitate mice, frogs, and snakes. A dry fly is often tied on a light hook so it can float easily.

Dry flies can be tied to imitate insects on the water, such as Pale Morning Duns, or to attract fish to rise without imitating any one specific insect, such as a Royal Wulff or Adams dry fly. Traditional dry flies have a few basic parts, tail, body, wing, hackle, and head. Floatation of the fly can be achieved in a variety of ways. Traditional dry flies use the surface tension of water to float. The fly will ride on the hackle and tail, and in some cases the hook point will not break through the surface. Closed-cell foam can be used in the construction or sometimes a CDC feathers, to hold molecules of air. Some dry flies have to be oiled with special dry fly floatant before presentation to further enhance the floatation.

Dry fly technique

Fishing technique with dry flies is what makes fly fishing so easily distinguishable. In order for the dry fly to float unobstructed, it has to be dried after it is pulled out of the water for another round of presentation. This is accomplished by several rapid strokes or whips of the airborne fly line, called "false casting", in the air.

Another method is squishing the dry fly in amadou to suck out the absorbed water in the dry fly.

Dry flies can be fished upstream or downstream. Casting upstream generally keeps the angler out of the view of the fish while casting downstream may be easier to get at productive holes.

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Dubbing   A wrapping to thicken the body of a fly, made by rubbing ground-up muskrat fur, rabbit fur or other substance onto a waxed thread.

A primary body ingredient in both dry flies and nymphs, dubbing is a chopped-up fibrous material pinched and twisted onto the thread for wrapping onto the fly. Also refers to the process of applying the dubbing material.

Dubbing Rake Tool used to tease out dubbing on a fly to give it an enlarged appearance.


1.  a greyish or greyish blue (dull) color often seen in the wings of mayfly adults
2.  an aquatic insect in a life stage just as it has emerged from the water and can fly.

Duncan's loop A monofilament knot used most often to tie a tippet to the eye of a hook. Also called a uni-knot

Learn How To Tie a Duncan's loop (uni-knot.)

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Eagle Claw  a brand name of fishing hooks

In the late 1920’s Drew McGill and Stan Wright formed the Wright & McGill Co., for the tying of high grade fishing flies. Drew was on the upper Colorado River pursuing his favorite sport, fly fishing that magnificent stream. It all happened when he stopped to light his pipe and take a short rest. The morning’s fishing had not been as good as it could have been, for it seemed that even though the rainbows and native Trout were rising, they were difficult to hook. While thinking of this and the ways that he could improve his fishing techniques, he watched the lazy circles of two large eagles. As he sat quietly enjoying this wilderness scene, one of the eagles slowly spiraled downward and landed beyond him in the top of a dead cottonwood; the tips of the bird’s talons lightly gripping a weathered bare limb. His thoughts turned to the penetrating power of those lethal claws, and then to the penetrating power of the fishhooks he was using.

As the powerful bird took to the air, Drew took his fly and holding it by the tiny leader pulled it across the leather of his fishing creel. The point scraped along the leather, but did not penetrate. Using his fishing pliers, he changed the shape of the hook by slightly curving the point. He tried the fly again and found that, this time it would penetrate. He quickly modified several flies and was back on the stream. The results were encouraging, and he eagerly tested shapes and sizes until driven from the stream by an afternoon thunderstorm.

Returning to the fly factory in Denver, Drew started working to produce a fishhook design with greater penetrating power. A hook that would exert this power in the direct line of pull of the leader. From this research came a fishhook that had sweeping curves and sharper points. It was forged for strength and was double offset for greater hooking qualities. The hook’s point was in direct line of pull and shaped like the talons of that mighty bird.

The rest is history.

This design quickly swept the country, for it offered the first improvement in fishhooks in hundreds of years. When Drew and Stan sat down to name their new product, what else could it have been except Eagle Claw?  That’s how it all happened, and that’s the story of the bird that built a fishhook business.

Earthworm   A skinny worm that wiggles and makes good bait.

Eddy or Eddies  A calm spot next to a fast current, or in the case of a "back eddy," where the current switches direction.

Have you ever seen a river where some of the water looks like it is moving the wrong way? This is an eddy. Eddies are spots on the river, usually at the edges, where some of the water moves back upstream. This countercurrent usually moves slower than the main current, and if you watch closely, you'll see the water is actually moving in a big circle and eventually continues downstream.


Eddies tend to be deeper than other parts of the river, and many fish and other animals live there.

Egg weight  Egg-shaped lead weights of various sizes, with a hole drilled through the center. When a bottom fish runs with the bait, the line slides through the weight's hole, allowing little resistance and fooling the fish.

Electro fishing A term used to describe using electrical current to temporarily stun fish, typically during fish surveys.

Electronics  Commonly refers to the depth finders, and fish locaters used by anglers.

Electro shocking  A term used to describe using electrical current to temporarily stun fish, typically during fish surveys.

Elk Hair Body hair from elk which is used in many fly patterns to supply body and floatation.

Emergence  The process during which fry leave their gravel spawning nest and enter the water column.

1. An aquatic insect in the transition period from hatching off the bottom of the river to flying away from the surface of the water as an adult insect.

Often will have an attached trailing shuck which feeding fish may key upon.

2. A fly designed to imitate a waterborne insect as it is leaving it's nymph stage and emerging into a flying insect.

Entrails.  the internal organs, especially the intestines; viscera

EPA  Environmental Protection Agency.

Esox   Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present.

The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike. The species of this genus are known as pike and pickerel, and in heraldry they are usually called lucy.

The big pike species are native to the Palearctic and Nearctic ecozones, ranging across northern North America and from Western Europe to Siberia in Eurasia. They have been found in many urban lakes in Western Europe, reported to be in the Rostrum (Lucerne) and the Serpentine, (London).

Pike can grow to a maximum recorded length of 6 ft, reaching a maximum recorded weight of 77 lb. 

Estaz Trade name for a chenille which uses colored fine plastic strips for the barbules. Can be found at many craft shops and yarn stores

Estuary   Area where salt water (such as the bay) and fresh water (such as creeks) join, usually influenced by tides. Sheltered water, often with grass bottom or grassy shorelines, where juvenile fish have shelter, food and a chance to grow.

Evening hatch   When many insects choose to emerge from under the water.


1. could refer to eyelets on a fishing rod - See Eyelet

2. could refer to a part of the fishing hook. The eye is where you tie the hook onto your fishing line. See how to tie a hook onto your line here

Eyelet The eyelets, line guides or rings on a rod through which fishing line is passed.

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Fe    Fi    Fl    Fly    Fr

FAD's  Fish Attracting Devices were first used centuries ago. Any large, floating object like a tree that attracts pelagic fish. Some are anchored; others are allowed to drift.

False cast
False casting
 Casting the fly line forward and back in the air as a means to lengthen the amount of line that extends out from the rod, to dry the fly or to modify the path of the line. In a false cast, the fly is not allowed to drop onto the water.

Casting ever-increasing segments of line, or casting the same amount of line, keeping the line aloft in the air without touching the water.

Fan cast   To cast in a manner that resembles the arms of a clock. Thus the angler is attempting to cover as much ground as possible.

Farm Pond  Small man made body of water.

Fathom  Six feet of depth. Many nautical charts are marked in fathoms, not feet.

FAS abbreviation for Fishing Access Site

Federation of Fly Fishers A non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the sport of fly fishing and the improvement of fisheries.

Feeder Stream   A feeder Stream is a smaller one that leads to a more important one, usually a river. When the river warms up in July and August, many of the trout species congregate in the mouths of feeder streams where the water is cooler.

Felt soles  Most wading shoes for fly fishing are soled with thick felt for good traction on slick rocks.

Ferrule  The joint where different sections of a fishing rod fit together.

1. A ring or cap, typically a metal one, that strengthens the end of a handle, stick, or tube and prevents it from splitting or wearing

2. A metal band strengthening or forming a joint

Click Here for MORE detailed information on FERRULE

Fiberglass  Material used to make Crankbait rods. Glass makes the rod less sensitive and more flexible, and reduces the chance of pulling a Crankbait from a fish's mouth.

Fillet  A piece of fish with the bones removed, cut out for human consumption.

Fin The external membranous projecting part of a fish used in propelling or guiding the body.

Folds of skin supported by cartilaginous tissue in elasmobranches and by bony rays in bony fishes. Used for locomotion, display, and sometimes specialized functions such as fertilization.

See either: Adipose Fin  Anal Fin  Caudal Fin   Dorsal Fin  Pectoral Fin  or  Ventral Fin  

Finesse  Commonly refers to slowing down and using smaller lures, line, and rods. Also a style of small lures used for this technique.

Fingerling  Refers to a young fish in its first or second year of life - about a finger long, usually 2 inches or so in length.

Fire tiger  Color scheme that involves a lure with green back, chartreuse sides, orange belly and black vertical lines on the sides.

FISH   A creature that lives in water and has fins and gills.

Literally, a vertebrate (animal with a backbone) that has gills and lives in water, but generally used more broadly to include any harvestable animal living in water. Fishes refers to more than one type of fish; finfish refers to sharks, some rays and bony fishes, and scalefish refers to fish bearing scales

Fisherman  One who engages in fishing for sport or occupation, or for food. Also referred to as Angler

Fishery  A term used for a lake, river or stream where people can catch fish, or even a particular kind of fish, such as a bass or trout fishery.

Fishfinder  A fishfinder or sounder (Australia) is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in SONAR. A modern fishfinder displays measurements of reflected sound on a graphical display, allowing an operator to interpret information to locate schools of fish, underwater debris, and the bottom of body of water. Fishfinder instruments are used both by sport and commercial fishermen. Modern electronics allow a high degree of integration between the fishfinder system, marine radar, compass and GPS navigation systems.

See also Depth Finder

Fish Hair  Synthetic hair used in tying streamers and salt water flies.

Fish Hook see Hook

Fishing  a term applied to any activity which aims to capture fish or shellfish for subsistence, scientific, commercial or recreational purposes. An enormously diverse range of approaches can be taken to this, from a large, open-water trawler, to a simple lobster trap, to a dry fly.

Fishing Access Site (FAS)  An area adjacent to a stream or lake which has been acquired by FWP to allow anglers access to a water body. Fishing access sites are funded in part by fishing license fees.

Fishing Boat   a boat for fishing; often has a well to keep the catch alive.  See also Jon Boat

FISHING HOLE   A place known to be good for fishing.

Fishing Hook see Hook

FISHING LICENSE   A permit to fish. You must have a permit if you are over the age of 18.

Fishing line  Specialized "string" used for fishing. It connects fishing reel to the hook

Nylon monofilament line is the most popular. Other lines are made of different materials, including braided fibers and wire.
FLY LINE is a specialized line made of a plastic coating on a core, and often made tapered (changing diameter) to make fly casting easier.

See More Detailed Information on Fishing Line Here

Fishing Pole   A pole with a hook and line used to catch fish.

a rod of wood or steel or fiberglass that is used in fishing to extend the fishing line [syn: fishing rod]

See More Detail about  Fishing Pole

Fishing Reel A fishing reel is a device used in recreational and sport fishing for the deployment and retrieval of fishing line using a spool mounted on an axle. They are most often used in conjunction with a fishing rod, though some specialized reels are mounted directly on to boats.

Reels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are now three basic configurations of reel in common use - overhead, underhand, and threadline (eggbeater).

A multiplier reel allows for longer range casting.

See more detail about Fishing Reel

Fishing Regulations  Laws that are made to protect fish, and govern how many fish can be caught and under what conditions

Fishing Rod  A rod of wood, steel, or fiberglass used with a line for catching fish.

A length of fishing line is threaded along a long, flexible rod or pole; one end terminates in a barbed hook for catching the fish, while most of the rest of the line is wound around a reel at the base of the pole. The pulley-like arrangement of the reel allows the fish to be "reeled in" once caught. The use of a fishing rod is known as angling. Fishing rods vary in length and strain capabilities. Usually fishing rods will vary in size between 6 and 16 feet (2 and 5 m). This length advantage increase the amount of force which the fish exerts on the fisherman's arms.

Types of Fishing Rods

Fly Fishing
 Ultra-light rods
Jigging rods

Also called fishing pole.
But its not a pole

See More Detail on a Fishing Rod

Fishing Tackle   All the things used to go fishing.

Pole   Rod   Reel   Fishing Line  
Bait & Lures   Live and Natural Bait
   Artificial Bait and Lures
   Plugs   Poppers   Spoons   Spinners   Jig   Crankbaits
   Hooks   Sinkers  Bobber   Swivels    Tacklebox

See Our Basic Fishing Equipment Page for more detailed information

Fish pass  A cut dredged through a barrier island, created to allow better fish traffic and tidal flushing.

Fixed Spool Reel   As the name suggests the spool is fixed in position and the bale arm rotates around the spool when the handle is turned and this lays the line in an even manner up and down the spool core. The spool moving up and down a central rod system creates this evenness. This action occurs simultaneously when the reel handle is turned.

See Spinning Reel

Flashabou  Commercial name for a colorful synthetic filament material used in fly tying for adding flash to streamers as well as other patterns.

Flasher   a type of Lure

Flake  a term used in Australia to indicate the flesh of any of several species of small shark, particularly Gummy Shark. The term probably arose in the late 1920s when the large-scale commercial shark fishery off the coast of Victoria was established. (Until this time, shark was generally an incidental catch rather than a targeted species.)

Flake rapidly became popular. It has a mild flavor, a soft texture that nevertheless remains well-defined after cooking, and a clean white appearance. These qualities, combined with the ready supply and a low price, saw flake become by far the most common type of fish to be served in Australian fish and chip shops.

Flake remains popular, but it is no longer especially cheap. By the mid to late years of the 20th century, Australia's growing population and more efficient harvesting methods had led to an alarming decline in shark stocks, and the fishery is now regulated in the hope of preventing any further deterioration.

Although the primary shark species sold as flake is the Gummy Shark, there are several others, as listed below.

  • Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus

  • School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus
  • Elephant Fish, Callorhinchus milii
  • Whiskery Shark, Furgaleus macki
  • Saw shark (any of several Pristiophorus species)
  • Various dog sharks (Family Squalidae)

During the late 1960s it became apparent that larger individuals of several shark species were contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, particularly mercury, and a public outcry eventually led to a ban on the sale of large School Sharks in 1972, which remained in effect until 1985.

Flats  Very shallow water, where water is still and easy to wade, usually with a sand bottom. This water is so thin, anglers equipped with polarized glasses can visually spot and cast to various fish, such as bonefish, Redfish and tarpon.

A bottom that does not change more than a couple feet in depth. The flat can be near the shore or far away from it.

A flat might be called a shallow pool. Flats may or may not be productive, depending on bottom type. Smooth, sandy flats are almost worthless as trout habitat, except at the edges or near woody debris. Gravel flats are better, but flats that are filled with aquatic vegetation are perhaps the best. Open channels that often form between the weeds are perfect holding spots for trout, but beware: trout on flats are incredibly wary and can see the area above the water perfectly. Fishing for trout in flats is a place where presentations must be artful, tippets must be long and fine, and trouters must make every effort to conceal themselves from their quarry.

A topo map shows the contour lines very far apart. 

Flatfish  Fish with a flattened body form that live on or in the bottom of waters.

Flier   The flier (Centrarchus macropterus) is a sunfish (family Centrarchidae) native to muddy-bottomed swamps, ponds, weedy lakes, and riverine backwaters across the American South, from southern Illinois east to the Potomac River basin and south to Texas.

Flies  Artificial imitations of the aquatic and terrestrial insects found in and near trout streams. Flies are tied of many and various materials, such as feathers, fur, thread, tinsel, and even space-age materials. Patterns imitating minnows, baitfish and other fish and crustacean species are also called "flies."

Flipping  The technique of placing a lure in a given spot precisely, and quietly, with as little disturbance of the water as possible using an underhand cast while controlling the line with your hand. Normally used in dirty water and in thick cover.

Flipping stick  A heavy 7 ½-foot rod designed specifically for flipping. Normally these rods telescope down to a smaller size.

Float maintains bait at given depth, indicates bites.

Also called a "bobber", these suspend hooked baits off of the bottom, and signal hits by "bobbing" when a fish takes the bait.

Float Fishing Any fishing from a boat or wade fishing when fishing access is gained by boat.

Float Outfitting The operation of any boat for the commercial purpose of float fishing by a fishing outfitter or fishing guide.

Float tube  A one-man fishing floatation device for lake and slow river fishing that looks like an inner tube covered with a cloth mesh liner, seat, and back rest.

Using floats help you catch fish that swim near the surface of the water

Similar to an inner tube in size and shape, a float tube is an inflated ring covered with a fabric structure with a seat and pockets for an angler to fish ponds and lakes. Also known as a "belly boat."

Floatant  Material applied to flies and leaders in order to cause them to float on the surface of the water. Typically sold in liquid or paste form, although dry shake crystals have recently been found on the market.

A coating designed to keep a dry fly from becoming waterlogged.

Floss Material for tying flies.

Floater  same as float

Floating worm  Plastic worm used to catch spawning bass that actually floats on top of the water. Common colors include pink, yellow, and sherbet.

Floodplain   any lowland that borders a stream and is inundated periodically by its waters.

Florida Rig  A worm sinker that has a metal cork screw in the base so that the angler can screw in the worm. This keeps the sinker and worm together and reduces tangles.

Very similar to the Texas rig, the only difference is the weight is secured by "screwing" it into the bait.

Flossing  Using really long leaders to float thru lots of stacked up fish, trying to hook the fish on the outside of the jaw

Flounder   a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish found at the bottom of coastal lagoons and estuaries of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Fluorocarbon   New style of line that is often invisible below the water's surface.

Flutterbait Any type of bait that is cast and then allowed to "flutter" down, resembles a dying bait fish. Typically used in bass fishing.

Fluvial  Migrating between main rivers and tributaries. Of or pertaining to streams or rivers.

Fly An artificial lure hand tied with "stuff" on hooks.

An imitation of a fish food item, traditionally very light and made of hair, feathers and thread tied to a hook. Modern flies have many synthetic materials and often include lead to help them sink.

Fly Angler Anyone who fly fishes using pole or rod and reel.

Fly Casting  The process of casting a flyline out onto the water.

Fly Drag  Refers to the wake made by the fly when being retrieved or when the fly has reached its maximum drift on a stream.

Fly Fishing A technique for fishing where the weight of the line is used to cast a very light weight fly that would not be heavy enough to be cast with a conventional spinning or casting rod.

Casting small, very light-weight artificial flies that simulate insects and other fish food requires weighted fishing line from very flexible rods and hand-controlled reels. The casting is different from other kinds of fishing because the weighted line is usually extended through a series of both forward and backward casting motions.

Fly Fishing Rod Fly Fishing rods are long, thin, flexible rods sometimes made of bamboo, but more recently from man-made materials. Fly rods tend to have large diameter eyes (or guides) spaced along the rod to help control the movement of relatively thick fly line. To aid in the freedom of movement required to skillfully cast with a fly rod, there is usually little to no butt (handle) extending below the fishing reel. Although fly rods are mainly used for casting from fixed positions, they can also be used for trolling for fish.

Fly Line  A weighted line which is cast out onto the water to deliver the fly to the desired location. Can be found in many densities and tapers.

Floating Line  A flyline design to float on the surface of the water along its entire length. Typically used for dry fly fishing and shallow water nymphing.

Sinking Line  A flyline design to sink below the surface of the water for getting a wet fly or streamer down deeper. Can be found with different sink rates for different fishing styles.

Sinking-Tip Line  A hybrid flyline design which is floating for most of its length except for a short section of sinking line at the end.

Fly lure "Blue Winged Olive", a classic dry fly for trout.

A fly lure or Fly, in terms of sport fishing and fly fishing, is an artificial lure tied with thread, feathers, and hair.

Fly tying is becoming common practice in fly fishing. Many fly fishers tie their own flies, either following patterns in books, natural insect examples, or using their own imagination. The technique involves attaching small pieces of feathers, animal fur and other materials on a hook in order to make it attractive to fish. This is made by wrapping thread tightly around the hook and tying on the desired materials.

There are four main categories of flies:

1 Dry fly
2 Wet fly
3 Streamer fly
4 Nymph

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Fly Pattern  Recipe used for tying a specific fly.

Fly Reel 

A reel used to store line, provide smooth tension, or drag, and to counterbalance the weight of the fly rod during the casting process. Can be found in many different weights and with different drag mechanisms.

A special fishing reel with fairly simple mechanics (compared to spinning or bait casting reels) designed to hold large diameter fly line. A fly reel is relatively light and attaches below the handle on a fly rod. More sophisticated (and expensive) fly reels have a drag system that creates resistance to the rapid pulling off of line by a fish.

Fly Rod  The type of fishing rod used to cast the flyline to the desired position. Historically built with bamboo canes and fiberglass, but now almost exclusively with carbon graphite.

The special fishing rod constructed so as to cast a fly line. Fly rods are generally longer and thinner than spinning or casting rods. The special design involves careful attention to the way the fly rod bends because that bending action determines how well it can help cast a fly line. Fly rods were originally split cane bamboo. In the last 60 years, other materials, especially fiberglass and fiberglass with embedded graphite fibers are used. Fly rods are rated in their stiffness to match fly lines of different weights. (a number 6 fly rod should be used with a number six fly line).

Fly Tying  The process of building fishing flies using thread and various materials.

Flying bridge   A permanent, raised steering cabin or platform on the bigger fishing boats. On the big offshore charter boats, the captain stays up on the flying bridge all day, while the deckhands below scurry about, catching the fish.

Flying gaff   A detachable gaff, designed for big fish. The steel hook is attached to a strong rope. The pole is used to jerk the hook into the fish, detaches, and the fish is suddenly attached to the boat by a rope.

Football head   Design refers to the shape of certain jigs that resemble a football mounted side ways. Normally used in very rocky locations.

Forage  Small baitfish, crayfish and other creatures that bass or other predator fish eat. Term may also be used in the sense of bass actively looking for food (foraging).

Foul hook  To hook a fish other than in the mouth where it should take bait or lure

Free Spool  A reel that allows line to feed freely to the fish or current, or the method of feeding line without drag or resistance to fish or current.

Freestone River A creek or river that gets most of its water flow from rainfall or snow/glacier melt. Freestone streams are most common in mountainous regions. The name freestone refers to the fact that typical freestone streams have a bottom of stones or gravel.

Freestone Stream A creek or river that gets most of its water flow from rainfall or snow/glacier melt. Freestone streams are most common in mountainous regions. The name freestone refers to the fact that typical freestone streams have a bottom of stones or gravel.

French fry   Soft-plastic worm about 4 inches long. Resembles a crinkle-cut French fry. Used often on Carolina Rigs .

Freshwater  In a broad sense 'freshwater' is used for all continental aquatic systems such as rivers and lakes. In a technical sense it refers to bodies of water that do not have salt.

Freshwater Fish   Freshwater fish are those that spend some or all of their lives in fresh water, such as rivers and lakes, with a salinity of less than 0.05%

Frog   Soft, tough plastic lure that swims on top of the water. Often used in thick, scummy areas.

Front Weather system that causes changes in temperature, cloud cover, precipitation, wind and barometric pressure.

Fry The first stage of a fish after hatching from an egg. 

 A stage of development in young salmon or trout. During this stage the fry is usually less than one year old, has absorbed its yolk sac, is rearing in the stream, and is between the alevin and parr stage of development.

Fish and Wildlife Service. 

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Ge   Go   Gr   Gu

Gaff  A steel hook of varying sizes, mounted on a pole or stick, used for snagging worn-out fish that have been played to boatside by fishermen.

Use of gaffs is permitted only to help land a fish that was lawfully hooked.

Gaiters Commonly a neoprene anklet or legging put over the top of wading shoes and to keep gravel from getting into the shoe and abrading the stocking foot of the wader. These are also called gravel guards.

Gamakatsu A brand name of hooks.

Game Fish  Game fish are fish pursued for sport by recreational anglers. They can be freshwater or saltwater fish. Game fish can be eaten after being caught, though increasingly anglers practice catch and release to improve fish populations.

The species of fish pursued by anglers varies with geography. Some fish are sought for their value as food while others are pursued for their fighting abilities or for the difficulty of pursuit.

Big game fish are bony saltwater fish such as tuna, tarpon, and billfish (sailfish, marlin and swordfish).

In North America, anglers fish also for common snook, redfish, salmon, trout, bass, pike, catfish, walleye and muskellunge. The smallest fish are called panfish, because they can fit in a normal cooking pan. Examples are crappies, perch, rock bass, bluegill and sunfish. Panfish are often hunted by younger anglers.

In the United Kingdom, "game fish" refers to Salmonids (other than grayling) – that is, salmon, trout and char. Other freshwater fish are called coarse fish.

Game Warden   A person in uniform (water police) who checks on fishing laws. Do you have a permit?

Ganoid Scales    Ganoid scales are found in the sturgeons, paddlefishes, gars, bowfin, and bichirs. They are derived from cosmoid scales, with a layer of dentine in the place of cosmine, and a layer of inorganic bone salt called ganoine in place of vitrodentine. Most are diamond-shaped and connected by peg-and-socket joints. They are usually thick and do not overlap. In sturgeons, the scales are greatly enlarged into armour plates along the sides and back, while in the bowfin the scales are greatly reduced in thickness to resemble cycloid scales.

Gap  The gap is the size of the bend in a fish hook from the shank to its point.

GAR   A long freshwater fish; not good to eat.

Gear Any tools used to catch fish, such as rod and reel, hook and line, nets, traps, spears and baits.

Gear ratio  Retrieve speed of reel determines how much line is reeled in one revolution of the reel's handle.

German brown trout  A native of the European continent, the brown trout has a golden sheen and black and orange speckles with white rings around them.

GIG   A spear with prongs used to catch fish.

Gill  See Gills below

Gill Arch  Bony or cartilaginous arches in the throat of fish to which the filaments and rakers of the gills are attached. Bony fish usually have four gill arches.

Gill Net

A commercial (not sport-fishing) net used to harvest fish. So named because of the mesh sizes designed to catch the intended species by the gill. Commonly used by biologists when conducting fish surveys.

Gill Opening  An opening behind the head that connects the gill chamber to the exterior. Bony fishes have a single such opening on each side whereas cartilaginous fishes (sharks and rays) have five to seven. The gill opening of sharks and rays are called gill slits.

Gill Plate   A bony protective flap that covers the gills.

Gills The fleshy and highly vascular organs comparable to lungs used in aquatic respiration.

The feathery organs of fish and other aquatic creatures that extract oxygen from the water and return carbon dioxide.

Respiratory organ of many aquatic animals; a filamentous outgrowth well supplied with blood vessels at which gas exchange between water and blood occurs.

Gizit  A brand name of tube bait (the original).

Global Positioning Satellite  device used to accurately determine your location with in feet. Handy for finding your way on unfamiliar lakes.

Golden rule  Gold color aluminum measuring device used in tournaments to measure bass in order to easily determine the length of the fish.

Gong Show: Also known as the "gong". A term that refers to a spot where fisherman stack up, usually close to the road. Lines are getting tangled and there is a disportionate amount of anglers wearing camo getups.

GPS  abbreviation for  Global Positioning Satellite

Grand slam  Some notable angling achievement, usually three popular species of fish from a certain area. A flats grand slam would be a tarpon, permit and bonefish. A billfish grand slam would be a sailfish, blue marlin and white marlin.

Graphite  Material used to make rods. Good conductor thus graphite rods are sensitive.

A common material which if formed into fibers and placed in the fiber glass of a fly rod, makes the rod relatively stiff with little increase in weight as compared to fiber glass alone.

Grass  Vegetation catch-all phrase. Refers to green plants growing in the water. Bass are attracted to the grass, which is home to prey.

Grayline The grayline on a fish finder lets you distinguish between strong and weak echoes. For instance, a soft, muddy or weedy bottom returns a weaker symbol, which is shown with a narrow or no gray line. A hard bottom returns a strong signal, which causes a wide and dark grayline.

GREAT OUTDOORS   Being out in Nature.

Green Drake  A large, green-bodied mayfly found in many trout streams, a particular favorite food for trout.

Greyline  See Grayline

Grinder  A device used to grind chum before tossing it overboard.

Grip The cork handle of a fly rod, generally made of cork rings shaped in several different ways, including a cigar grip, full-wells grip, half-wells grip, superfine grip.

Ground Fish  Fish that live on or close to the bottom of the ocean.

Groundwater  the water contained in the open spaces between individual soil particles. Below the ground surface and above the water table, water in the soil does not fill all the open spaces. Groundwater is not the same as surface water runoff.

Grub A short, plastic type of worm, usually rigged with a weighed jig hook. In saltwater fishing, "grub" covers all of the basic plastic shrimptail brands, one of the first of which was the Boone Tout Tail. Or, it might be a plastic minnow tail, such as the Sassy Shad.

Guadalupe bass  (Micropterus treculii)  The Guadalupe bass is a rare species of fish endemic to the U.S. state of Texas, where it also is the official state fish. It is restricted to creeks and rivers (including the Guadalupe River, hence the name Guadalupe bass), and was formerly listed as vulnerable, but IUCN currently considers the data insufficient to determine its status. Today, most fly fishermen and anglers practice catch-and-release techniques to improve fish populations. The Guadalupe bass is often difficult to distinguish from the smallmouth bass or spotted bass, and the first is known to hybridize.

Guide -

1.  An eyelet. Metal rings, usually bent pieces of wire along the length of the fly rod to ease the release of line during casting and to distribute the stress of a fish along the entire length of the rod.

See more detailed information on guides here

2.  Person who is paid to lead others.

Gunwale (Gunnel)   The top of the boat's sides. The rail.

Guts: Roe, eggs

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He     Hi    Ho     Hu

Habitat The natural environment where people, animals and plants live. In an aquatic environment, it includes the water, topography, structure and cover present in a lake.

An area that provides food, water, shelter and space for wildlife.

Hackle Any soft-stemmed feather with non-adhering barbules.

The series of extended fibers right behind the eye of a fly.
The hackle is what allows a dry fly to float.

Typically used to refer to hen or rooster chicken feathers. 

Hen Hackle  Hackle feathers from a hen chicken characterized by soft, wide feathers. Since these feathers readily soak up water, they are usually used on nymphs and streamers.

Jungle Cock A type of hackle with prominent singular white dot patterns often used to suggest eyes.

Neck Feathers Feathers from the neck of the chicken which are shorter and tend to have a wider selection of sizes on a single skin.

Saddle Feathers from the back of the chicken which are longer and have thinner stems. Best choice for most dry flies.

Herl Feathers used for tying with long individual barbules each having short dense fibers. Typically from Peacock and Ostrich.

Haddock   A kind of saltwater fish that is good to eat.

Hairbug A fly constructed through a special technique called hair spinning whereby buoyant (hollow) winter-coat, slippery deer, elk, antelope or caribou hair is made to flare and form a solid shape. This hair can be further trimmed to shapes like frog bodies. Hairbugs are commonly used for warmwater fish, but a mouse imitation hairbug is excellent for big brown trout on certain waters.

Hair jig  Old-style jighead with the skirt fashioned out of hair and/or feathers.

Halibut   A kind of fish that is good to eat. Flounder.

Handline  A fishing line used without a rod or reel; a line held in the hand.

Harbor  Part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage.

Harpoon  A barbed spear used in hunting large fish

Hatch  Generally refers to a stage of aquatic insect change when there is a transformation from a swimming to a fly stage and from an underwater to a surface stage. Insects in the early part of this transition are also referred to as emergers.

Hatch box  A device used to incubate relatively small numbers of fish eggs. The hatch box is usually located adjacent to a stream, which supplies the box with water.

Haul  A pull on the fly line with the non-casting hand to increase the line speed and get greater distance. This is done effectively during line pickup. An action associated with fly casting whereby the line speed is increased with an extra pull during line pickup, or back casting.

Also see double haul.

Hawg: A really big fish - Slang Term

Headboat  A government fisheries term for partyboat. Basically a fishing boat for hire that carries more than six people. The average is more like 30 anglers, and sometimes more than 100. With that many lines, you mostly fish straight down with heavy tackle for bottom fish.

Headwaters   uppermost reaches of a stream.

Hellgrammite The larvae of the dobsonfly.

Helm   A tiller or wheel used to steer a boat

Helmsman  Person who steers a boat.

Hen Female fish

Hit see strike

Hitch   A loop around an object then back around itself.

High-sticking  Holding the rod high to keep the line taut in a nymphing drift.

Hog line: Boats or bankies stretched across a river in a line

Hone To sharpen hooks or knives with a stone.

Honey Hole  A slang term describing a specific hole, spot, or area containing big fish or lots of catchable fish.


Hook   A curved piece of metal; Pointed wire hook used to catch fish (hopefully).

A hook can be barbed or barbless. It is usually attached to a fishing line, which in turn is most often supported by a fishing rod.

In general the hook is concealed within the bait or trailed closely behind or within the lure.

The most dangerous part of fishing equipment. At least one of these is tied to the end of the line, or is attached to a lure. There are more brands, types and sizes than anyone could ever use, but all anglers have dozens of them. Some can be sharpened, some can't. But they all get dull, or bent, and have to be replaced more frequently than razor blades.

A clever advertisement to entice a fisherman to spend his life savings on a new rod and reel.

The punch administered by said fisherman's wife after he spends their life savings (see also, Right Hook, Left Hook).

The size of the hook refers to the gap between the point and the shank. The length of the shank is referred to as 1XL for one extra long, or 2XL for two extra long and so forth. Assuming that the hook we are discussing is of regular length, and the hook is between size 2 and 28: the higher the number the smaller the hook, the lower the number the larger the hook, and hook sizes are represented by an even number. After size two, we use both odd and even numbers, and after size one we add a slash and a zero after the hook size like 1/0 or 2/0, and the higher the number the larger the hook. So the hooks run in size from smallest to largest like this: 28, 26, 24, etc . . . ., 8, 4, 2, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, etc . . .  For general trout fishing you will probably use sizes 6 through 20 the most. For panfish, sizes 10 through 16 are most common, however these are usually a little heavier and more wind resistant than trout flies. For bass you will use sizes 2/0 through 8 and these flies are even heavier and more wind resistant than most.

See More Detailed Information on Hooks

Hook and Line   referring to a Fishing Pole, Fishing Rod or Fishing Reel

Hookset   (setting the hook or striking)
Hookset is a motion made with a fishing rod in order to "set" a fish hook into the mouth of a fish once it has bitten a fishing lure or bait. That is, in order to secure the fish on the hook, a sharp motion is performed to push the barb of the hook into the fish's mouth, preferably in the corner. If this motion were not performed, while it is possible for a fish to set itself, the likelihood of successfully landing the fish is slim since, without the barb of the hook secured, the fish could simply shake the hook out of its mouth. The motion is usually a sharp, sweeping motion of the rod, either upwards or to the side, depending on the orientation of the rod at the moment the fish bites. Some fishermen will sometimes perform several hooksets in quick succession to ensure that the fish is securely hooked, especially on fish with tough mouths such as some saltwater species, while in contrast, anglers using circle hooks needn't set the hook at all, since the hook's unique design allows it to set itself when the angler reels in.

Hook size To a degree hooks are standardized based upon the gap (or gape) which is defined as the distance between the hook shank and the hook point.

Smaller numbers refer to larger hooks, consistent with the origin of hooks made from steel wire stock. Hooks for fly fishing range from a very small #24 (gap of 2 mm) to very large #2 (hook gap of 10 mm).

See diagram above

Hoop Net  A net trap designed to capture fish moving within a body of water. Hoop nets are permitted for use in certain locations in the Eastern Fishing District. A permit is required for fishing with a hoop net.

Hopkins Spoons   A brand name of spoon with a hammered appearance.

Hoppers  A good-sized live shrimp sold at the marinas, usually a white shrimp.

Horse To force a fish in too fast . . . . "he really horsed that one".

Hula grub  Soft plastic curly-tailed grub, with a soft skirt type feature at the head of the grub.

Hump  Section of the lake bottom that rises vertically toward the surface, or is shallower than the area around it. A submerged island would be considered a hump. Humps can often hold fish.

Husky Jerk  A classic jerkbait by Rapala

Hydrilla   an aquatic plant. As it is native to the cool and warm waters of the Old World in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia, with a sparse, scattered distribution; in Europe, it is reported from Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, and the Baltic States, and in Australia from Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales - Hydrilla is now naturalized and invasive in the United States following release in the 1960s from aquariums into waterways in Florida. It is now established in the southeast from Connecticut to Texas, and also in California

The stems grow up to 3 - 6' long. The leaves are arranged in whorls of two to eight around the stem, each leaf 1/4 - 1/2 " long, with serrations or small spines along the leaf margins; the leaf midrib is often reddish when fresh.

Hydrology  The science dealing with the distribution, properties and circulation of water on land, in the soil, and in the atmosphere.


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Ice Fishing The act of fishing through holes cut in the ice. Usually from a shelter or hut.

Ichthyology  The science or study of fish.

I.G.F.A.   International Game Fish Association

Improved clinch knot  The suggested knot for tying a fly to the leader or tippet.


(1) Within a boat. 
(2) A boat with a built-in engine.

Incoming tide  Water pushing inshore, generally caused by the moon's gravity pull. A strong wind blowing out to sea can
somewhat negate an incoming tide, however.

Indiana blade  Refers to a teardrop shaped blade used on spinnerbaits.

Indicator species  A species of plants or animals that suffers when pollution or environmental stress begins, thus indicating environmental degradation.

Inlet  A natural pass between ocean and bay. Unjettied inlets are more hazardous to boat traffic, because of shifting sandbars that can be a hazard.

Most inlets are now jettied with granite rocks, to protect against erosion and to save dredging costs.

In-line  Commonly refers to in-line spinners where the blade, body, and hook are all in a straight line. Example is a typical Mepp's spinner.

In-line spinner  A spinner where the hook is on the same shaft, or line, as the spinner all in a straight line , such as a Mepps, Rooster Tail, Panther Martin or Vibrex spinner.

Inshore  A nebulous term that means perhaps within sight of land. "Let's head inshore" means moving the boat from offshore back towards land.

Inshore Fishing  Fishing carried on near the shore.

Intermittent stream (or seasonal stream)   a stream that flows only when there is sufficient stormwater runoff. Most creeks in East Bay watersheds are intermittent.  Compare perennial stream.

Imbricated  Lying lapped over each other in regular order (like scales of a fish or shingles on a roof).

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Jack   A kind of saltwater fish; fun to catch and good to eat.

Jack plate  Device attached to the transom of a bass boat that allows the outboard motor to be mounted farther back and higher that originally. Improves performance. Example, Rite Hite Jackplate. Also used for shallow-running flats boats. This device jacks the motor straight up and down, without tilting the lower unit, even while running.

Jacobson downdrift  Feeding slack into the line as the fly emerges downstream to imitate an emerging insect.

Jerkbait  There are two types: soft and hard. The soft style is similar to a baitfish profile and rigged with a large worm hook. Example: Slug-Go. Hard jerkbaits resemble more of a minnow baitfish. Examples are a Rapala or Smithwick Rogue. Both style lures are fished by twitching or jerking the lure forward, hence the name.

Jetties  Granite boulders used to protect coastal inlets and passes from sand erosion. An inlet protected by jetties is much safer for boating traffic.

The rocks attract many species of coastal fish. 

Jewfish   A large saltwater fish; very good to eat. Grouper.

Jig   A kind of fishing lure used for jigging. Sometimes called "bucktails"

See More Detailed Information on Jigs at Our Lures page

Jig and pig
Jig n Pig   Combination of a leadhead jig fitted with a pork trailer. Popular for flippin' and pitchin' fish-holding structure, such as submerged bushes and trees.

Jig Hook A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Jig Fishing see Jig above

Jigging  Working a jig. That means popping the rod tip up and cranking in some line with the reel, making the jig dart through the water. Very attractive to most fish species.

Fishing with short little jerks on the line.

Jigging Rod  Jigging rods are very thick spincasting rods which are used to bounce heavy metal lures on or near the ocean bottom. Very heavy bait and line is used in ocean jigging in order to reach the ocean floor through strong currents. To counter act this, jigging rods need to be stiffer and with a larger diameter than spinning rods used for casting or in fresh water applications. Bottom fish such as halibut and cod require a jigging rod.

Jigging as a technique is also practiced in fresh water, however as a rule, normal spincasting rods can be used for this.

Jigging spoon   Refers to a spoon that is typically "jigged" or bounced off the bottom with a slight up-and-down motion of the rod or rod tip so the spoon resembles a dying shad or other baitfish.

Jitterbug  Old wooden-body topwater lure with large metal lip. Makes a gurgle-type commotion when retrieved.

Jon Boat A small flat-bottomed, square-fronted, shallow-draft boat that is popular with duck hunters and many anglers alike.

Nobody knows why a Jon boat is called a Jon boat. The origins of the nickname are actually unknown. What is certain is that the term has been used since the early 20th century to refer to various types of boats. Today, "Jon boat" is used specifically to refer to a flat-bottomed boat used for fishing, usually in relatively small, calm waters. It's usually between 8 and 20 feet long, and is also typically fitted with bench seats inside - anywhere from two to three basic board seats that stretch across the width of the boat. Because a Jon boat doesn't have the V-shaped hull of other fishing boats, it doesn't "cut through" water in the same way and isn't really designed for use in rough conditions

John boat  See correct name Jon Boat

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Kahle Hook A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

KastMaster   A brand name of spoon.

Keel   The underwater backbone on the bottom of a boat.

Keel guard  Handy device that is glued to the keel of a bass boat, so that it can be beached without damage to the bottom of the boat.


1. Any fish large enough to keep for eating.

Legal size bass. Example: In Missouri bass must be 15 inches long in order to be a keeper.

2. A loop of thin wire built into the shaft of the fly rod (near the grip) the fly can be attached while still connected to the tippet and line. This allows the fly fisher freedom to walk and climb without concern about hooking trees, grass or himself.

Keeper Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Kelp   A kind of seaweed. Fish like to swim under it.

Kelt A spawned out Steelhead on the way back to the Ocean, also known as a dropback, downriver

Kicker  Larger, heavier bass that really helps out the total weight of a tournament angler's catch. Example; "I had a limit of 2-pounders, but was lucky and caught a 5 pound kicker."

Kidney Spoon  A fishing lure with an oval shape.

King Mackerel  A kind of saltwater fish; good to eat. Kingfish.

Kingfisher  A kind of bird (waterfowl) seen around water.

Kite rig  Fishing a bait with a kite. Fishing kites are different from land kites, usually flat and square. The live bait skips around on the surface, without the telltale line being visible. Used mostly on sailfish, but effective on other species.

Knot Protector Bead   The bead protects the knot from the sliding sinker. it is placed between the knot and the sinker

 I would not suggest using a bead to protect your knot. The beads edges around the hole on both sides can become sharp and cut or fray your line at the knot causing it to become weak.

I would recommend using silicone airline tubing or the "Owner" soft beads, either of the 2 will protect your knot with no worries.

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Le     Li     Lo     Lu

Lace  Hollow fine plastic tubing wrapped around a hook shank to supply a segmented body.

Lagoon  Found mostly in the Pacific, lagoons are shallow, protected areas usually ringed by coral reef.

Lake  Lakes are inland bodies of freshwater ranging in size from less than one acre to several thousands of acres. Simply stated, lakes are the bodies of water that fill depressions in the earth's surface.

What's The Difference Between A Lake, A Pond and A Reservoir?

The main difference between lakes and ponds is size, but ponds are also usually artificially created and are not natural. Lakes are deeper and larger bodies of water that can influence local climate if large enough. Ponds are much smaller than lakes and usually have the same temperature from top to bottom, whereas lakes can have dramatically different temperatures from the surface to the bottom waters. Also, rather than affecting local climate, ponds are usually greatly affected by local conditions.

Reservoirs are lakes, often man-made, that control water flow for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and/or municipal water supplies.

Lake Bed  The bottom of a lake.

Lake Trout  Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is a freshwater char living mainly in lakes in northern North America. Other names for it include mackinaw, lake char (or charr), touladi, and grey trout. Lake trout are prized both as game fish and as food fish.

Lake Zones   Designation that includes four categories: shallow water, open water, deep water and basin.

Land  bringing the fish to the land or to a net for capture.

Landing Net a bag-shaped fishnet on a long handle to take a captured fish from the water

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) A black bass, body green-shaded with a broad, continuous dark stripe along each side, belly white to yellowish, dorsal fin almost completely separated between spiny and soft portion and lower jaw extends past the gold-colored eye.
Also called bigmouth bass, Green Trout, Green Bass, Bucketmouth. 

Puts up a big fight and is good to eat.

Click here more info on a 

Larva  The second, or "worm" phase of an insect's life cycle.

Sub surface stage of development of an aquatic insect.

Lateral Line   The lateral line system allows the detection of movement and vibrations in the water surrounding an animal, providing spatial awareness and the ability to navigate in space. This plays an essential role in orientation, predatory behavior, and social schooling.

The lateral line is a system of sense organs found in aquatic vertebrates, mainly fish, used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water. The sensory ability is achieved via modified epithelial cells, known as hair cells, which respond to displacement caused by motion and transduce these signals into electrical impulses via excitatory synapses. Lateral lines serve an important role in schooling behavior, predation, and orientation. For example, fish can use their lateral line system to follow the vortices produced by fleeing prey. They are usually visible as faint lines running lengthwise down each side, from the vicinity of the gill covers to the base of the tail. In some species, the receptive organs of the lateral line have been modified to function as electroreceptors, which are organs used to detect electrical impulses, and as such these systems remain closely linked.

Lead   A heavy metal weight.

Leader  the piece of line attached to the hook.

Section of line used between the flyline and the tippet. Often purchased as a tapered section, but can be assembled by tying successively smaller diameter sections of monofilament.

A strong wire or string used between a lure and the fishing line.

1. The piece of clear, tapered monofilament line attached to the fly line, usually between six and 15 feet long.

2. In bass fishing, a short piece of line attached to a swivel when making a Carolina Rig.

Leaders provide extra strength or abrasion resistance from the rough mouth and teeth of fish (pike, barracuda, sharks), scales (sharks), gill covers (tarpon and snook), blows from tails (tuna).

Lead fly  The primary fly tied on the end of a fly line.

Leadhead  Bare Leadhead jig that is normally used to rig a grub body onto. A term for a jig where lead is molded to the hook shaft.

Leading   the act of keeping the rod tip and strike indicator downstream of the drifting nymph.

Leech  A bloodsucking worm that trout love to eat.

Lees Ferry  The popular 16-mile stretch of tail-water fishery along the Colorado River tucked between the Glen Canyon Dam and the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. It is renowned for its large, wild trout.

Legally Taken Any fish caught using legal methods and not immediately released alive.

Leptoid Scales   Leptoid scales are found on higher-order bony fish, the teleosts (the more derived clade of ray-finned fishes). As the fish grow, scales are added in concentric layers. The scales are arranged so as to overlap in a head-to-tail configuration, like roof tiles, allowing a smoother flow of water over the body and thereby reducing drag.[citation needed] Leptoid scales come in two forms:

cycloid and ctenoid.

Lew’s  See Zebco

Lever drag  The serious offshore reels designed for ocean fish now use a very smooth lever drag, as opposed to the older star drag.

Lie Areas in a river or lake where fish hang out, commonly well-located because they are out of the main current, present cover from predators or provide a good source of insects and other food.

Light Cahill  A dry fly pattern.

Lilly Pad or water lily is a common name for some members of the Nymphaeaceae, a family of freshwater perennial herbs found in most parts of the world and often characterized by large shield-shaped leaves and showy, fragrant blossoms of various colors. Among the plants of the family are the water lilies, lotuses, and pond lilies (called also cow lilies and spatterdocks).

Limerick Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Limit  Legal limit of bass, or other fish.

Line   Something you give your co-workers when they ask on Monday how your fishing went the past weekend.

 see Fishing Line

Line dressing An old term carried over from the days of silk fly lines referring to the oily substances applied to clean and increase buoyancy. Modern fly lines generally only need to be cleaned with warmwater and soap. Line weight: The weight of the first 30 feet of a fly line, used as a way to standardize fly lines in matching them to fly rods of differing stiffness. Line weighting is not a linear numbering system; the first 30 feet of a #6 weight line 160 grains while the first 30 feet of a #3 weight line is 100 grains.

Line Guides  The eyelets or rings on a rod through which fishing line is passed. See Guide

Line Hand  The hand used to handle and manipulate the fly line during the casting sequence and the retrieve.  The line hand works in conjunction with, and in proximity to, the rod hand

Line memory  When a fly line, leader, or tippet stays in the same position in which is has been bent, tied, spooled, or coiled.

Line Speed  How fast a fly line travels as a result of the casting stroke and rod action

Line weight  The relative weight of a fly line. A "1 weight" rod throws a thin, light line, while a "10 weight" rod throws a very heavy, thicker line.

Lipless Crankbait  Shad-shaped Crankbait that has no visible diving lip. The line attaches to the top of the lure.

Artificial baits designed to resemble a swimming baitfish. Such plugs vibrate and/or wobble during retrieve; some have built-in rattles.

Also called swimming baits. 

Example; Rat-L-Trap

Lipping  A method of landing fish, especially bass, by placing a thumb into its mouth to bend the lip down slightly, temporarily paralyzing the fish to get it into the boat or unhook and release it.

Lit up  Pelagic fish such as the marlins, sailfish and wahoo have a tendency to "light up" with neon, powder blue colors when excited or hooked.

Live Bait A natural bait, as opposed to an artificial lure, such as a minnow, grasshopper or worm, mealworms, red worms, night crawlers, leeches, maggots, crayfish, reptiles, amphibians and insects

Can also be dead or sections of a real fish.

See More Detailed Information on Live and Natural Bait

Live Bait Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Live bottom  Rocky bottom, sometimes very flat, where sponges and corals can find something solid to grow on. This attracts various bottom fish, such as grouper.

Livewell  Compartment in a boat designed to keep fish alive.

Lizard  Soft plastic lures similar to a salamander. Used for Carolina Rigs , and fishing shallow water in the spring.

Loading the Rod

Stored energy in a rod resulting from forcing a bend into the rod.

A term used to describe the effect of the weight of the line and the momentum of the cast upon the rod. A loaded rod is bent or loaded more with a greater casting force and a heavier line.

The weight of the in-flight fly line and the motion of both the back and forward cast cause the rod to load or bend.  The bend or load enables the rod to store the energy necessary to make the cast when the rod is abruptly stopped.

Locators  Common nickname for depthfinders since they will often display images of fish as they pass over them.

Long line fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from a single line. Swordfish, tuna and Patagonian toothfish are commonly caught by this method. It is also practiced on a smaller scale in New Zealand, where a twenty five hook maximum is prescribed by law. Long-line fishing is controversial because the lines can lead to significant bycatch, often of endangered species such as sea turtles and albatrosses.

Longliner  As seen in the movie, The Perfect Storm, longliners are commercial fishing boats with a huge spool of heavy monofilament line on their back deck, up to 40 miles long. Used mostly for targeting tuna and swordfish.

Loop  The candy-cane pattern made by a fly line as it is cast. The tighter the loop, the more accurate and powerful the cast.

A general term used to describe the "U" shape of the fly line as it unrolls during both the back and forward casts.  Soft action rod produce open loops and gentle presentations; fast rods produce tighter loops and greater distance. 

Loop Connection  A method of setting up a flyline/leader rig using loops tied in each section which can be interlocked for easy changing.

Loose Action Plug   A lure with wide slow movements from side to side.  Can be the lure of choice when fish are sluggish in colder water, such as during winter or early spring.

Lotic   Flowing or actively moving water including rivers and streams.

Lowholed: When someone steps in front of you as you move down a drift, or sets up their boat in front of you or your boat.

Lunker  A slang term used to describe a very large bass.
Also known as Hawg or monster.

a large specimen of a species of fish.

Lunker Lure  Original designer of the Buzzbait. Many anglers still refer to all Buzzbaits as "Lunker Lure."

Lure      A man-made bait used to fool fish.

A fishing lure is an object attached to the end of a fishing line which is designed to resemble and move like the prey of a fish. The purpose of the lure is to use movement, vibration, and color to catch the fish's attention so it bites the hook. Lures are equipped with one or more single, double, or treble hooks that are used to hook fish when they attack the lure.

Lures are usually used with a fishing rod and fishing reel. When a lure is used for casting, it is continually cast out and retrieved, the retrieve making the lure swim or produce a popping action. A skilled angler can explore many possible hiding places for fish through lure casting such as under logs and on flats.

There are several types of fishing lures:

A jig
 Surface lures
Spoon lures
which are also known as crankbaits or minnows.
  Soft plastic baits
Fly lures

An object that is semi-enticing to fish, but will drive an angler into such a frenzy that he will charge his credit card to the limit before exiting the tackle shop.

See more detailed information on Artificial Bait and Lures

Lure Fishing   Lure Fishing is one of the basic Fishing Disciplines. It makes use of wood, plastic, or a metal device which can emulate or simulate anything that the fish would likely tend to eat. For more information, see our section on Lure Fishing.

Lure Retrievers  Heavy devices designed to knock loose or retrieve snagged fishing lures.


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Main stem
Mainstem  In a particular drainage, the mainstem is the primary stream or river into which most tributaries flow.

Mangroves  The only trees that grow in salt water. Mangroves protect tropical coastlines from storm surges, and their extensive root system attracts a variety of shallow water gamefish.

Marabou Jig   A weighted jig with light, fluffy feathers attached to the body.

Marker Buoy  A small plastic buoy, often fluorescent color that is tossed into the water to mark a fish holding area or a school of fish. Such buoys are popular for those fishing schooling sport-fish, such as crappie, white bass, or striped bass, in open water.

Martin  See Zebco

Matching the hatch  Choosing the fly pattern that imitates the insects that are hatching nearby.

Mayfly  The most beautiful of aquatic insects, the mayfly is characterized by an upswept wing and long, delicate two- or three-stranded tail. The mayfly goes through three stages -- egg, nymph, and adult -- then metamorphoses once again from a sub-imago adult to a spinner. It is an important food for trout, which means it is also important for fly-anglers.

Mealworms  Small beetle larvae often used for catching crappies or sunfish.

Meander   A meander, in general, is a bend in a sinuous watercourse or river. A meander is formed when the moving water in a stream erodes the outer banks and widens its valley. A stream of any volume may assume a meandering course, alternately eroding sediments from the outside of a bend and depositing them on the inside. The result is a snaking pattern as the stream meanders back and forth across its down-valley axis.

All rivers and streams "meander." This means they have bends and turns, depending on the geography of the land. Land that is fairly flat may have a straighter river, while hilly land probably creates a river that meanders more. A "switchback" is when a river doubles back on itself, making a "U" shape. Bends in rivers also affect depth. The outer part of a river bend is usually deeper, while the inner part of the bend is usually shallower.

Meat Hole A spot where "fisherman" gather because the fishing is so good, even the biggest fool can get fish at the "meat hole". Usually lots of guys ripping sides trying to snag fish.

Mend To move the fly line upstream from the location of the fly to ensure no unwanted drag is on the fly that may scare a fish

Throwing an upstream curve into your fly line as it floats down the stream to avoid having water currents pull on it and cause unnatural movement of your fly (unnatural drift or line drag). Fish and especially trout are exquisitely sensitive to (and turned off by) movement of a insect that moves at a different rate or in a different direction than the current.

Mending  The act of lifting the fly line off the water and flipping it either upstream or downstream to eliminate drag and accomplish a more natural drift.

Mepps Spinners  A brand name in-line spinner.

Merging currents  A dead spot of calm water created where two currents come together.

Midge  A very small species of aquatic insects found in trout streams. Many species of midges hatch into adults in the middle of winter. They have four stages of development, from egg to larva to pupa to adult.

A very small (non-biting), two-winged insect, related to deer flies, mosquitoes and crane flies.

Migration Route   The path followed by bass or other fish when moving from one area to another.

Milfoil  Surface-growing aquatic plants.

Milk To play a fish too long

Milt The sperm of fishes.

Mini Jig  A small leadhead jig, usually 1/16- or 1/32-ounce, often used for catching crappie or sunfish.

Minnow   Any of several small fish less than a specific size and not considered gamefish.

Mojo rig  Technique similar to a Carolina Rig  except that it is rigged on a spinning rod. Thus it is a finesse-type method. The sinkers are cylindrical or pencil-shaped to come through rocks without snagging.

Mollusks  Oysters, scallops, mussels, snails, squid, octopuses.

Mono Short for monofilament fishing line.

Mono leader  Leader made of monofilament. Mono leaders are of course heavier grade than the line on your reel. Standard mono leader for huge marlin, for instance, is 300-pound test, while line on the reel seldom exceeds 80-pound test.

Monofilament  The clear style fishing line most commonly used by anglers.  Fishing line with a single strand of material

Monofilament lines have been around for years and are commonly used as fishing lines. In fact, monofilament lines are the most popular type of fishing line used today because of their strength and low cost. They are made by melting and mixing polymers and feeding the end product through tiny holes, forming the line, which is then spun into spools of various thicknesses.

Discarded monofilament lines presents a serious environmental issue. The lines are extremely difficult to spot when submerged in water, making it possible for fish, birds, and other marine life to easily become entangled in them. Monofilament lines also present a risk to swimmers and scuba divers.

Moon Phases The four phases or quarters of the moon are usually what the fisherman is concerned with. Generally, the bad times in a month occur three days prior and three days after the full moon or new moon. The first-quarter and second-quarter periods are considered as the good moon times.

Moon Times   See Moon Phases

Moronidae also known as the "temperate basses", is a family of perciform fish consisting of at least 6 freshwater, brackish water and marine species. Moronidae fish are most commonly found near the coastal regions of eastern North America including Gulf of Mexico, northern Africa and Europe.

Asian seabasses Lateolabrax spp. are sometimes placed in this family instead of their own family Lateolabracidae; this would increase the species number of this family to eight.

They are highly prized as sport fish.

Motor Fish  When fishing over a tiny spot that is deep, it is more practical to keep the engine running, attempting to "hover" the boat over the spot. For instance, the tiny rocks in the Gulf of Mexico, no bigger than a car, are often 200 feet deep. Anchoring here is impractical and time-consuming. Instead, you motor over the boat, while a couple of anglers drop their baits down.

Muds  Created by a bottom-grubbing school of fish. For instance, a school of bonefish rooting on the bottom will gradually muddy the water in a large patch, easily visible on a sunny day.\

Multifilament  fishing line that is several strands woven together.

Muskellunge  See Muskie

Muskie  Muskellunge or muskie (Esox masquinongy) are large, relatively rare freshwater fish of North America. They are the largest member of the pike family, Esocidae. The name muskellunge comes from the Ojibwe word maashkinoozhe, meaning "ugly pike," by way of French masque allongé (modified from the Ojibwe word by folk etymology), "long mask."

Mysis  A type of silvery freshwater shrimp found in cold mountain lakes and reservoirs.


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Nail Knot A knot used to tie together two lines of significantly different diameters.   See also Needle Knot

Nail Knot Tool A tool used to simplify the process of tying Nail Knots.

Nates Native steelhead, not of hatchery origin

Native   Something that evolved in this place over a long period of time, usually in reference to a plant or animal. California poppies and coast live oaks are native to this region. Eucalyptus trees, which were imported from Australia, are not native.

Natural Bait  see Live Bait

Net  See Landing Net

Nibble when a fish is taking small bites out of the bait on your hook

Night Crawler a large earthworm found on the surface of the ground at night, often used as bait in fishing

Nocturnal   active at night

Non-game Fish Any wild fish not otherwise legally classified by statute or regulation of this state.

Non-native  something that evolved somewhere else. Eucalyptus trees evolved in Australia and were transplanted here. Non-native plants and animals are usually introduced by humans as they move about the land. Most of the grasses on the hillsides of the Bay Area are non-native. Vinca (periwinkle) started as a landscaping ornamental but now crowds out native plants on creek banks.  See native

Northern Pike   The northern pike is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution).

Also referred to as Esox lucius, known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, most parts of the USA, or as jackfish in Canada or simply "Northern" in the Upper Midwest of the USA.  See Pike

1. A general term used to describe the subsurface forms of aquatic insects prior to emergence.

Also used as the name of flies imitating these insect forms. see below (#2)

2. A nymph resembles an insect or stage of insect living underwater. Leeches, mayfly nymphs, caddis fly larva, and Diptera can all be imitated by nymphs.

Normally a nymph is tied on a heavier hook, sometimes with an added weight in the body or head to keep it underwater during presentation.

Nymph technique

Nymphs can be fished successfully upstream or down. A large percentage of what fish eat is found living underwater and imitated by nymphs.

To learn more about nymph fishing visit

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Oarlock   A U-shaped holder that keeps an oar in place.

Oars   A long pole with a blade used to row or steer a boat.

Octopus Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Offshore Fishing   Fishing done away from the shore.


Open Face Spinning Reel

An Open face Spinning reel has a stationary spool set on the underside of the rod. A curved bar, or bail, acts as a guide on the outer lip of the spool. As the reel handle is turned, the bail also turns, winding line neatly onto the spool.


Click here for detailed information on
Open Face Spinning Reel

Organic Baits  Minnows, insects, worms, fish eggs, cut bait, cheese, or similar substances placed on a hook and used as a lure.

O'shaughnessy  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Outboard Motor   A removable engine for boats.

Outfall   the outlet of a body of water, especially in reference into a drain.

Outrigger Long poles to hold trolling lines out to the side.

Overhanging Vegetation  Whether it is tall grass or tree branches, anything hanging out over a stream is worthy of notice. These structures protect trout from their most effective predator, the fisherman. Plus, terrestrial insects, such as ants, aphids, and beetles, may drop into the stream from such. A carefully planned cast that is allowed to drift beneath overhanging vegetation is always worth a shot. Or, you can creep up on the bank and gently lower a tiny ant imitation onto the surface of the water and feed out line to let it drift beneath a tree. This crafty and highly enjoyable tactic has always been enjoyable.

Oxbow  A U shaped bend in a river or stream.  An abandoned meander in a river or stream, caused by neck cutoff. Used to describe the U-shaped bend in the river or the land within such a bend of a river.

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Pale Morning Dun

Scientific Names: Ephemerella inermis, E. infrequens
Other Common Names: PMD

This small, pale-yellow mayfly of the crawler group is often referred to by its initials, PMD. Despite the name, hatches can occur in the morning, early afternoon, or evening. It's not unusual to have both morning and evening emergence on the same day.

The hatch season begins as early as June and lasts as late as September, depending on the stream. This is often the dominant hatch where and when it occurs. By this time trout are feeding heavily on these Mayflies.

Palmer A method for wrapping a hackle feather over a section of the fly's body.

Pan Fish   The size fish that just fits inside a frying pan.

A small fish, not considered a game fish but sought after for their eating quality. Often applies to sunfish, crappie and perch.

Click here more info on 

Panther Martins   A brand name of in-line spinner.

Parachute style fly  A dry fly with the dry fly hackle wrapped horizontally under the hook or at the base of the wings, providing a type of outrigger flotation.

Peacock Ladies  A type of fly used by fly-anglers.

Peacock Sword A feather from a peacock with bushy herl-like barbules, commonly used for tails.

Pectoral Fin  Front steering fins on either side of a fish; corresponds with front legs.

Pelagic Fish  Fish living in the open sea, alone or in schools, at or near the surface i.e. herring, tuna, and their related species.

Pelvic Fin  Lower fin on either side of a fish; corresponds to hind legs.

Pencil Poppers   A brand name topwater lure that is long and thin. Often used for catching striped bass.

Perch   A kind of fish, fun to catch and good to eat.

Click here more info on a

Percidae   The Percidae are a family of perciform fish found in fresh and brackish waters of the Northern Hemisphere. The majority are Nearctic, but there are also Palearctic species. The family contains about 200 species in 10 genera. The darters, perches, and their relatives are in this family; well-known species include the walleye, sauger, ruffe, and three species of perch. However, small fishes known as darters are also a part of this family.

This family is characterized by a greater or lesser degree of armour about the head, caused by the presence of teeth or spines on the cheeks and opercles (gill covers) or their edges, and by two narrow bands of numerous close-set teeth on the sides (palatines). Also, many percid fishes have a heart-shaped plate of teeth on the roof of the mouth (vomer). The shape of these fishes is usually somewhat oblong and laterally compressed. Their scales are generally harsh and rough to the feel, or ciliate. Percid fishes are among the most beautiful of the freshwater fishes due to their brilliant colors (red, brown, orange, and yellow are the most predominant tints).

Perennial stream   a stream that flows continuously throughout the year.  Compare intermittent stream.

PFD  Personal Floatation Device, aka, a life vest or life jacket

Pier   A platform that goes from the land out into the water. (dock)

Pier rats Crusty fishermen who spend many hours and days on the big surf piers, waiting (and often sleeping out there) until the fish begin biting. These people have the art of pier fishing down to a science, with their own customs.

Pike  Fish of the Family Esocidae, Order Salmoniformes (salmons, pikes and smelts).

Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present. 

The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike. The species of this genus are known as pike and pickerel, and in heraldry they are usually called lucy.

Pitching  Presentation technique in which worms or jigs are dropped into cover at close range with an underhand pendulum motion, using a 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 foot baitcasting rod.

Placoid Scales   Placoid scales are found in the cartilaginous fishes: sharks, rays, and chimaeras. They are also called dermal denticles. Placoid scales are structurally homologous with vertebrate teeth ("denticle" translates to "small tooth"), having a central pulp cavity supplied with blood vessels, surrounded by a conical layer of dentine, all of which sits on top of a rectangular basal plate that rests on the dermis. The outermost layer is composed of vitrodentine, a largely inorganic enamel-like substance. Placoid scales cannot grow in size, but rather more scales are added as the fish increases in size.

Similar scales can also be found under the head of the denticle herring. The amount of scale coverage is much less in rays and chimaeras.

The skin of sharks is entirely covered by placoid scales.

Plastic Worm   A flexible, colored, plastic worm with hooks.

You fish these real slow, pulling your pole up and down waiting for a fish

Playing  process of bringing a fish to the angler so it can be landed.
To exhaust a hooked fish by allowing it to pull on the line.

Plug   An artificial bait used to catch fish. A lure.

Plugs are a popular type of hard-bodied fishing lure. They are widely known by a number of other names depending on the country and region. Such names include crankbait, wobbler, minnow, shallow-diver and deep-diver. The term minnow is usually used for long, slender, lures that imitate baitfish, while the term plug is usually used for shorter, deeper-bodied lures which imitate deeper-bodied fish, frogs and other prey. Shallow-diver and deep-diver refer to the diving capabilities of the lure, which depends on the size of the lip and lure buoyancy.

See more detailed information on Plugs at Our Lures Page


Plunge Pools  Small waterfalls will occasionally be encountered on trout streams. Where the falling water hits soft bottom, a hole is scoured out that may be considerably deeper than the surrounding water. Trout love these tiny, sheltered pockets and a weighted nymph, cast above the waterfall and allowed to travel down to the bottom of the plunge pool, will take fish.

Pocket water  Where fast current rushes around boulders and other obstructions, creating pockets of calmer water.

because rapids are an area of water that is so swift, trout do not hold in them. Within a rapid, however, fish will maintain station in scour holes, behind rocks, and in small "pocket water" of various types. Heavily weighted nymph rigs may be employed to explore these areas.

Point -
1. Where land sticks out into a body of water.

2. In regards to a fishing hook - the point is what you use to put on the bait, and what penetrates the mouth of the fish when it eats the bait. It's critical to keep points sharp, so invest in a file and use it often.

Spear Point - the standard style. The point is in a straight line from the tip to the barb.

Hollow Point - A rounded point that forms a curve from the tip to the base of the barb. Intended for soft mouth fish, not the best for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Rolled-In Point - The point is rolled in, that is, aligned in a curve pointing toward the eye of the shank. This puts it in line with the fishing line.The design is intended to reduce the pressure needed to set the hook.

Needle Point - Exactly what it's name implies, a needle point with evenly rounded sides. "Sticky sharp" out of the package but vulnerable to suffering rolled tips if they contact hard surfaces.

Knife Edge - used primarily for big game fish. The inner surface of the barb is flattened while both sides are ground.

Point Fly The lead fly in a two fly rig. Usually a section of tippet is tied to the eye or the bend of the hook to connect to the dropper fly.

Polarized sun glasses Sunglasses with iodized lenses that block incident light (glare) and thus allow anglers to better see beneath the surface glare of water.

Pole see Fishing Pole

Polyphydont  a process by which teeth are continuously replaced as in most fishes with teeth. The alternative process, termed diphyodont, is having two successive sets of teeth like humans.

Poly Yarn A synthetic yarn made from polypropylene. Used in fly tying, often for parachute posts and wings on dry flies.

Pond A body of water smaller than a lake, often artificially formed.

What's The Difference Between A Lake, A Pond and A Reservoir?

The main difference between lakes and ponds is size, but ponds are also usually artificially created and are not natural. Lakes are deeper and larger bodies of water that can influence local climate if large enough. Ponds are much smaller than lakes and usually have the same temperature from top to bottom, whereas lakes can have dramatically different temperatures from the surface to the bottom waters. Also, rather than affecting local climate, ponds are usually greatly affected by local conditions.

Reservoirs are lakes, often man-made, that control water flow for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and/or municipal water supplies.

Pool A reach or segment of a river or stream with greater depth and slower current, making it safer from predator's bird and animal and where swimming against the current is reduced. Deeper portions of the creek where sediments have been scoured and water flows slowly. Pools are important habitat components for trout and other native fish.

Pools are one of the most obvious features of a stream. They are popular with beginners who become mystified by the trout they see lurking in pools. Pools often hold suckers as well as trout. The pool provides the two things that are generally lacking in coldwater streams: depth and still water. The deep water of a pool provides a trout with the ultimate in protection from predators. However, because current in the main pool, especially near the bottom, is almost nonexistent, food is hard to come by there. Where a riffle or run enters a pool,a featured called "the tongue of the pool" is created. This area is where all biological drift enters the pool, and is a prime location for trout to lie in wait. The entire upstream end, where the tongue is, is called the "throat". The deepest section in the middle of the pool is called the "belly" and the narrows at the bottom where the water speeds up as it exits the pool is called the "tail". The tail concentrates food, and any kind of structure located in the tail of the pool is a prime location which will hold fish.

Pool cue: Stiff action rod, undesirable

Popper  Artificial lure with a flat head and surface. Designed to run on the surface when retrieving or trolled which creates a lot of water surface distortion to attract predator fishes

See more detailed information on Poppers

Popping cork  A Styrofoam cork with the top shaped to make it gurgle when yanked. The noise is supposed to imitate sounds of fish feeding on top, thereby attracting the attention of gamefish.

Pop R   A brand of popper topwater lure.


1.  The left side of a boat when you face forward
2. A harbor or city where ships may take on or discharge cargo. 

Porthole  A small round window of a boat.

Possession Limit  The maximum limit or amount of a fish species set by regulation that may be possessed at one time by any one person.

Post front   The period following a cold front; atmosphere clears and becomes bright. Usually characterized by strong winds and a significant drop in temperature. Fishing can often be slow during such conditions, especially for bass.

Power Bait Brand name of commercially prepared scented baits

Power Craw Brand name of commercially prepared scented baits

Power Eggs Brand name of commercially prepared scented baits

Power Grubs Brand name of commercially prepared scented baits

Power Worms Brand name of commercially prepared scented baits

Practice plug A practice plug is like a lure without hooks. You tie it on your line and it lets you practice casting in your back yard or at the park so when you do go fishing you won't catch a bunch of trees, or your dad or other stuff that is not very good.

Predator  Catches and feeds on other animals.

The placement of the bait on the hook as seen by the fish.
The placement of the fly on the water as seen by the fish.

The cast as viewed from the prospective of the fish.  The angler's goal, of course, is to present the bait or fly in an irresistible way through the mechanism of a perfect cast.

Prey  Something being hunted to be eaten.

Professional overrun  Fancy nickname for backlash or bird's nest in baitcasting reels.  Also called spaghetti.

Prop Common term for the propeller of a trolling or outboard motor.

Prop bait Topwater lure with a metal propeller on one or both ends. Example; Luhr-Jensen Wood Chopper.

Pulpit A strong guardrail around the bow or stern.

Pumpkinseed Light brownish color used often in soft plastic lures. Very natural hue.

Pupa Sub-surface larval stage of aquatic insect development

The third phase of an insect's life cycle, when wings are beginning to grow.

Push pole  A long, 20-foot pole made of wood or graphite, used for silently pushing the boat across the flats, easing within casting ranger of various fish, such as bonefish.


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Quantum  See Zebco


1.A place, typically a large, deep pit, from which stone or other materials are or have been extracted.

2.An animal pursued by a hunter, hound, predatory mammal, or bird of prey.


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Rainbow Trout  A beautiful trout species characterized by a brilliant pink stripe running lengthways down its side. The rainbow is a silvery fish and has black spots.

Rapala  A brand of lures.

Rapids  Rapids are a section of a river where the water moves very fast, often over rocks.

Rapids are areas where the water is so swift that trout do not hold in them. Within a rapid, however, fish will maintain station in scour holes, behind rocks, and in small "pocket water" of various types. Heavily weighted nymph rigs may be employed to explore these areas.

Rat-L-Trap  Original type of lipless Crankbait Thus, most anglers refer to all similar lures by this name.

Rattles  Glass or metal noisemakers added to lures in order to help bass find the lure easier.

Reach cast  A cast used for adding extra slack in the line, or when fishing downstream, in order to provide a more natural float.

Reaper  Soft plastic lure that resembles a leach. Popular on the west coast.

Redfish   Redfish is a common name for several species of fish. It is most commonly applied to certain deep-sea rockfish or the reef dwelling snappers. It is also applied to the slimeheads or roughies, and the alfonsinos.

Other common names:  Redfish, Crimson snapper, Malabar blood snapper, Emperor red snapper, Queen snapper, Deep-water redfish, Blackfin snapper, Southern red snapper, Lane snapper, Vermillion snapper, Sockeye salmon, Acadian redfish, Red snapper, Red drum, Ocean perch. and Norway redfish.

Red reel  The common baitcasting reel used back in the 1960s was the red Ambassadeur reel. The reel has changed colors and owners since then, but was the basic model that jumped countless saltwater anglers into serious fishing.

Redd  A spawning bed for trout, identifiable by a hollow of clean gravel in a mild current.

The hollowed out nest in a streambed where a fish deposits its eggs, a behavior typical to most salmonids.

Reds  short for Redfish

Reef  An underwater ledge that sticks up from the bottom.

Reel              A weighted object that causes a rod to sink quickly when dropped overboard

1. A spool to wind line on.
2. Winding the line up.
3. A device in which something is wound i.e. line for fishing; usually located toward the bottom of a rod.

A reel is the mechanical device which the line is wound.
A device for holding and spooling fishing line. Reels have a line spool, brake to slow running fish, handle to retrieve line and foot for clamping to a rod.

A reel most often is used in conjunction with a fishing rod, though some specialized reels are mounted directly on to boats.

Reels come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Reel styles include

Baitcasting (revolving spool)
Spinning (line coiling off stationary spool)
Spincast, (like spinning but with a nose cone)
Fly (storing thick fly line/backing and to fight big fish).

Reel seat The section of a rod below the grip where the reel is attached. Reel seats often are constructed of attractive wood, including many exotic woods.

See more detailed information on The Reel Seat here

Reflex strikes  Drawing a bite from fish that have no intention of feeding.

Example; by bumping the Crankbait into the stump (where the bass was hiding) the angler triggered the fish into a reflex strike even though it had just eaten a crawfish

Release   Returning fish, in the best possible condition after removal of the hook, to the water from which it was taken.

See Catch and Release

Reservoir An artificially impounded body of water behind a man-made dam extending upstream to the mouth of its inlet stream(s).

What's The Difference Between A Lake, A Pond and A Reservoir?

The main difference between lakes and ponds is size, but ponds are also usually artificially created and are not natural. Lakes are deeper and larger bodies of water that can influence local climate if large enough. Ponds are much smaller than lakes and usually have the same temperature from top to bottom, whereas lakes can have dramatically different temperatures from the surface to the bottom waters. Also, rather than affecting local climate, ponds are usually greatly affected by local conditions.

Reservoirs are lakes, often man-made, that control water flow for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and/or municipal water supplies.

Re-spool To replace the old line on a reel with new line.

Re-stocking  The practice of releasing artificially reared fry or fingerlings into ponds, reservoirs, or open waters.

1. The act of bringing in slack line - the act of bringing a bait or lure back to the angler.

(also called "stripping" by many fly fishermen.)
stripping in the fly line that gives the fly action

2. Also, a term used in describing fly reels, as to whether they are left hand or right hand retrieve.

Retrieving  See retrieve

Reverse cast  The nymphing cast made by casting across the body on the "off" hand side of the stream. (For a right-handed fisherman, the right side of the stream. For a left-handed fisherman, the left bank.)

Also called the "Western roll cast."

Revolving Spool Reel  Another term for baitcasting reel.

Rhino  See Zebco

Ribbon tail  Style of plastic worm that has a long ribbon type tail that ripples when the worm is retrieved.

Ribbonfish  A long, flat, silvery fish many people mistake for an eel, easily three feet long and sometimes up to five feet long. Long, sharp teeth are wicked, and they'll chomp through a 40-pound mono leader. Highly esteemed bait in the Kingfish tournaments, Ribbonfish must be rigged with multiple hooks because of their length.

Rigging  how you hook your bait and where you put your hook, snap or swivel, weight and float.

Riffle A small rapid in a river. Shallower areas in the creek where water flows quickly, often over gravel or rocks.

Riffles are the preeminent feature of coldwater streams. They are at once a food source, a shelter from predators, a hedge against oxygen depletion, and a conveyor belt that brings food to the trout. Riffles, with their broken water surface, not only hide the trout from predators, but also hides predators (such as humans) from the trout. Because of this, trout in riffles may be approached more easily, and are harder to spook. Many species of insects reproduce or grow to maturity in riffles. The constant fast current dislodges nymphs from the rocks, freeing them into the "biological drift", a term that refers to the constant downstream movement of organisms in flowing water. Riffles also oxygenate the water. In hot weather, trout may congregate in riffles, where the oxygen content of the water is highest. Riffles may be any depth, but most are between one and three feet deep. Within a riffle, trout may lie in wait behind rocks, hug the bottom, or roam about. Small pockets of deeper water in a riffle are prime feeding locations for trout, and invariably hold good fish. Riffles also hold larger prey items, like darters, sculpins, and crayfish, so large trout may move into riffles periodically to feed, especially at night.

Ring worm   Brand of plastic worm that features rings or ribs over the outside of the body. The texture is believed to feel soft and lifelike to fish.

Riparian Corridor  the vegetated area adjacent to (and including) the creek.

Ripper:  Hard fighting fish, makes your reel "scream"
  see screamer

Ripping Sides: Purposely setting the hook every ten feet during your drift with the intent of snagging a fish by the belly/ass/fin.

Riprap  a layer, facing, or protective mound of rubble or stones randomly placed to prevent erosion, scour, or sloughing of a structure or bank.   See Armor

Rip tide  On the beach, this is the water that flows back offshore, after the waves have piled so much water next to the sand. Unfortunate swimmers have found themselves in this narrow but strong flow. Savvy surf fishermen drop their baits in these same spots, where gamefish like pompano and Redfish congregate.

River  A river is a body of water with current moving in one general direction. They can vary in size, with smaller versions of rivers being referred to as streams, creeks, or runs. The water in a river flows into either a larger river, a bay, or ocean. Rivers themselves are fed by smaller rivers or streams. Rivers are important habitat to many different types of plants and wildlife.

Riverbank  A river bank is the land along the edge of a river.

Riverbasin  A river basin is the area of land from which all the water flows into a particular river.

Riverbed  The area/channel between the banks through which a river flows. The ground which a river flows over.

Riverboat  A boat designed for use on a river or stream.

Rivulet  A small stream or brook.

Rock Bass   also known as the rock perch, goggle-eye, red eye

The rock bass is a native fresh water fish to the east-central North America. This red eyed creature is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family and can be distinguished from other similar species by the six spines in the anal fin (other sunfish have only three anal fin spines).

Rocket launcher  A rack of tubes designed to hold five or six fishing rods in a boat.

Rod   A fishing pole with eyelets for line to pass through.

A long lever, usually made of fiberglass, graphite or composite materials and used to catch fish.

Different types are available, such as rods for spinning, fly fishing, spincast, bait casting, boat fishing, offshore trolling, surf fishing, jetty/pier fishing, etc.

Most rods have a reel-holding clamp and guides through which the line runs.

See our Fishing Rod Page for more detailed information

Rod and Reel
Rod and Reel Combo  A general term used to describe any combination of a casting or spinning reel attached to a fishing rod.

Rod belt  A leather or (in more modern times) a plastic belt that fits around an angler's waist while fighting a fish. The belt socket keeps the rod butt snug, and saves weary arm muscles and that lower back during a long fight.

Rod Blank  A rod before being fitted out with guides, grip, reel seat and other accouterments.

Rod Hand  The hand into which the angler entrusts the rod during either the casting sequence or the retrieve.  Some anglers prefer using one hand to hold the rod during the cast, exchanging it to the other hand when making the retrieve or playing a fish. 

Rod Guides  see Guide

Rod Tip The eye at the end of a fishing pole.

Roe Fish eggs.

Roll Cast This is a casting technique that is used when a back cast is not possible. The line is made to loop in front of the angler and if properly executed it "rolls" out to present the fly.

The roll cast uses the surface tension (drag) resulting from the line's contact with the water as the means to load the fly rod. 
The roll cast is useful when a 
(1) routine backcast cannot be made 
(2) to return a sinking line momentarily to the surface thereby enabling the standard backcast.

Rough Fish  Those species of fish considered to be of either poor fighting quality when taken on tackle or of poor eating quality, such as carp, gar, suckers, etc. Most species in this group are more tolerant of widely fluctuating environmental conditions than Game Fish.

Royal Wulff Dry Fly

The Wulff series of fly patterns were developed by Lee Wulff.

It presents a bushy, high floating fly, that remains visible into the evening twilight, and rides well in rough water. He designed and sold the first fly fishing vests, championed reeling with the left hand on fly reels (so the rod was in the stronger right hand), invented the first palming spool fly reels, introduced the fly-O casting practice rigs, popularized the "riffling hitch" for salmon fishing and designed

the popular triangle taper lines. However, Lee Wulff's best-known innovations were in his flies.

Wulff patterns were the first flies to use hair for fly wings and tails. Almost all dry flies available in the winter of 1929/30 were, according to Wulff, anemic and too delicate, which he ascribed to their British tradition. The reason for very slim flies was that if a fly was too bulky the feather materials did not have the buoyancy to hold it up. A very popular pattern, for example, was the Fanwing Coachman that not only twisted the leader but also sunk at the tail due to the golden pheasant tail fibers used. Wulff also noted that dry flies with wings and tails of feathers get slimed up and are not very durable. To Wulff, the solution was obvious use bucktail (deerhair) for tails and wings. The mobility and buoyancy of elk and deer hair has made it a favorite North American fly tying material.

The first Wulff flies were tied to imitate the Isonychia (Gray Drake) and Green Drake hatches in the Catskill area of North East America. Wulff first fished these patterns with his regular fishing companion, Dan Bailey, who was then a science teacher in Brooklyn. In those early trials with these new patterns, Lee's was not disappointed. He found that the fish seemed to prefer the bulkier flies that "looked more" like the naturals than the more anemic patterns that were then popular. With respect to durability, the hairwing flies also excelled. Wulff reports he caught 51 trout on one Gray Wulff fly in an early outing, needing only to "grease up the fly for every 5-6 fish". The first patterns included the Gray Wulff, White Wulff and Royal Wulff. The Grey Wulff can be used to imitate any dark mayfly the trout are feeding on but when Lee Wulff was reportedly asked what the Royal Wulff was imitating he supposedly said, "Strawberry shortcake, something great big and juicy floating down to a large trout." It is an attractor pattern that is easily seen and high floating. It is a sweet little dessert that predatory fish find irresistible.

Later several other Wulff patterns, including the Grizzly Wulff, Black Wulff, Brown Wulff and Blonde Wulff were developed. Lee Wulff stated that these flies were a general kind of fly, not a particular pattern. When you first use Wulff flies treat with floatant and fish on the surface. Leave the fly to drift with the current. Occasionally accelerate it gently over short distances of a yard (meter) or more, or else twitch it to represent a struggling insect trapped in the surface film. They were first used in Britain in the 1950's but they saw very little service in Ireland until after 1990.


1.  (of fish) A group of fish of the same species that migrate together up a stream to spawn, usually associated with the seasons, e.g., fall, spring, summer, and winter runs. Members of a run interbreed, and may be genetically distinguishable from other individuals of the same species.

2.  The pulling out of line a hooked fish makes in trying to escape. 

3. A smooth, deep glide of water that usually follows a riffle. Runs are similar to riffles, but although their current may be somewhat swift, their surface is smooth enough to allow light to penetrate. Runs are characterized by moderate current and a smooth surface. Runs may be deeper than riffles, but this depends on the size of the stream. Runs that form bends may form undercut banks, as the current erodes the underside of the streambank. Trout use runs as both holding and feeding areas. Trout do not need to expend as much energy fighting current in a run as in a riffle, so when food is abundant, trout may move out of a riffle and into a run to save energy while feeding.

Runoff (surface runoff)   the portion of rain that moves over the ground toward a lower elevation and does not infiltrate the soil. "Urban runoff" refers largely to water from rain, irrigation, or industrial and household discharge that typically flows into a storm drain system that empties into a body of water.

Runoff is not the same as groundwater.

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]


 Se   Sh   Si   Sl   Sp   St   Su

Salmonid Any species of trout, char, salmon, grayling, cisco, or whitefish. All salmonid fish have an adipose fin (small, fleshy fin on the back near the tail).

Salmon Egg Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

San Juan Worms   A type of wet fly designed to look like a small aquatic worm

Salt Water Ocean water. It has salt and many other minerals.

Saltwater Fish   fish that spend some or all of their lives in salt water such as oceans or salt lakes, generally with a salinity of more than 0.05%.

Sassy Shad   A brand of soft-plastic lure that resembles a shad.


The skin of most fishes are covered with scales. Scales vary enormously in size, shape, structure, and extent, ranging from strong and rigid armour plates in fishes such as shrimpfishes and boxfishes, to microscopic or absent in fishes such as eels and anglerfishes. The morphology of a scale can be used to identify the species of fish it came from.

S-cast An "S" pattern of the fly line on the water created by side-to-side movement of the fly rod during the forward cast. This cast is used to put slack in the fly line and hence to reduce the influence of the current on the fly line and thus to minimize drag.

School   A group of fish swimming together.

School of Fish   A school of fish is a bunch of fish playing together, kind of like all the kids in your class playing on the playground. But unlike the kids in your playground, all the fish in a school are going the same directions and when one turns, they all follow-like instantly!

 I don't know how they know whose turn it is to change direction, but they seem to know.

Screamer: Hard fighting fish, makes your reel "scream"

Schmeg: The stuff an egg fisherman gets all over his waders, rods, reels, vest, rocks around him, trees around him, and all over the boat.

Scour   concentrated erosive action of flowing water in streams that carries away material from the bed and banks.


1. Term used for freshwater shrimp.

2. A small freshwater shrimp-like crustacean that is present in most trout waters and serves as a food source for trout

Scutes  A scute is less common type of scale. Scute comes from Latin for shield, and can take the form of:

  • an external shield-like bony plate, or

  • a modified, thickened scale that often is keeled or spiny, or
  • a projecting, modified (rough and strongly ridged) scale, usually associated with the lateral line, or on the caudal peduncle forming caudal keels, or along the ventral profile.

Some fish, such as pineconefish, are completely or partially covered in scutes. River herrings and threadfins have an abdominal row of scutes, which are scales with raised, sharp points that are used for protection. Some jacks have a row of scutes following the lateral line on either side.

Seam  A calm spot caused by an obstruction in a river such as a rock or log.

Seasonal Stream  See Intermittent stream

Sediment   the soil particles in the creek. The sediment can be on the bottom of the creek or it can be suspended in the water. Water with a high sediment load (or turbidity) looks muddy or cloudy.

Seine  A large fishing net made to hang vertically in the water by weights at the lower edge and floats at the top

A net, usually suspended between two poles, which is pulled through the water to capture fish for bait.

 Seines used for this purpose must not exceed 12 feet in length and four feet in width.


selective harvest  personal ethics that includes reduced harvest within established legal size and creel limits.

Setline A line or lines with or without a pole set to catch fish without the angler being present or within immediate control. The angler's name and phone number, or 9 or 10 digit ALS # must be attached.

Set The Hook   Giving a quick tug so the fish gets caught.

When you feel a fish biting your line you need to jerk your pole real hard, that is what setting the hook is.
This hooks the fish real good so he won't come off. 

Setting the hook  To make sure the hook penetrates the fish's mouth, an angler must apply an upward motion of the fly rod or some sort of quick tension on the fly line. When fishing with artificial lures and flies, fish often do not hook themselves because very soon after they "mouth" the fly, they are aware that it does not feel, taste or smell like it should. They will spit it out! This puts a premium on setting the hook at the right time!

Shackle   A U-shaped metal fitting with a pin across the "U".

Shad  Natural baitfish prey of bass. Common throughout the U.S. Any of several species of forage fish that have a rather deep body.

Shad Rap  A brand name crankbait.

Shakespeare   The Shakespeare Company is a subsidiary of Jarden which manufactures fishing equipment.

Shank  The Shank is the section from the eye of a hook to where the bend starts. Shanks come in short, medium or long lengths, and are a major influence of how a hook is used. Short ones are often used for finesse fishing when a compact hook and minimal weight are critical to a successful presentation, like micro plastic smallmouth tactics or live bait fishing with a leech. Medium shanks are the most common and used in an array of fishing situations. Long shanks are used to match a longer profile of an artificial bait (like a spinnerbait or big plastic).

    Short shanks are often used for finesse fishing when a compact hook and minimal weight are critical to a successful presentation, like micro plastic smallmouth tactics or live bait fishing with a leech. Fly fishermen prefer these for their small body flies.

    Regular or Medium shanks are the most common and used in an array of fishing situations.

    Long shanks are great for live bait and larger/longer artificials like plastic baits and spinnerbaits. Sometimes there are "barbs" cut into the shank intended to keep soft baits on the hook.

Shiner  Shiner is a common name used in North America for any of several kinds of small, usually silvery fish, in particular a number of cyprinids, but also e.g. the Shiner Perch (Cymatogaster aggregata).

Shoal  A submerged ridge, bank, or bar consisting of, or covered by, unconsolidated sediments (mud, sand, gravel).

Shock leader  A short but heavy piece of monofilament, attached to the hook, designed to take the shock of a hard strike. And the resulting abrasion from sharp teeth or bottom scraping.

Shooting head Part of a special fly line used for long distance casting. The shooting head is a heavy section of line attached to a thin running line (made of monofilament, Dacron or fine fly line). The Shooting head has almost all of the weight of a normal line, but obviously is it almost totally concentrated in that first 30 feet. Shooting heads are used for making long casts in fishing saltwater, warmwater and steelhead.

Shooting line The process of extending the length of your fly cast be releasing an extra length of fly line (usually held in your non-casting hand) during the forward/presentation part of the cast. This technique allows a fly angler to false cast a shorter segment of line and then only at the time of the final forward cast to bring a longer segment of line into play.

Shore  The land along the edge of a sea, lake, or other large body of water.

Shrimping   the act of fishing for shrimp.

Silver eels Slang for Ribbonfish, which are not really eels.

Single action The typical fly reel wherein a single turn of the handle causes one turn of the reel spool. This is distinguished from the multiplier reel where a single turn of the handle causes multiple turns of the spool and makes it easier to retrieve line.

Almost all high quality fly reels are single action.

Single haul  The technique of pumping the fly line on the forward segment of a false cast. It is easier than double hauling, which requires more coordination and technique.

Sinkant A liquid applied to flies to make them sink.

Sinker   A weight of lead or other metals designed to sink a hooked bait or lure.

A weight made from lead attached to the rig to hold it in position due to strong current or used to cast the line out further. Commonly found types are bomb sinker, bullet sinker, ball sinker and split shots.

The maximum sinker weight for casting are usually specified on the rod.

A sinker is a weight used in fishing to force a lure to sink more rapidly. The ordinary plain sinker is made of lead, shaped round like a pipe-stem, and swelling out in the middle. There are loops of brass wire on either end to attach the line. The weight is from a quarter of an ounce for trout fishing up to a couple of pounds or more for sea bass and porgies.

The swivel winker is similar to the plain one, except that instead of loops, there are swivels on each end to attach the line. This is a decided improvement, as it prevents the line from twisting and tangling. In trolling, swivel sinkers are indispensable. The slide sinker, for bottom fishing, is a leaden tube which allows the line to slip through it, when the fish bites. This is an excellent arrangement, inasmuch as you feel the smallest bite, whereas in the other case the fish must first move the sinker before you feel him. Split shot are sometimes put on trout lines in place of a sinker. Independent swivels are useful in some kinds of fishing to prevent the entanglement of your line.

See More Detailed Information on Sinkers

Sinking Line  A flyline design to sink below the surface of the water for getting a wet fly or streamer down deeper. Can be found with different sink rates for different fishing styles.

Sink Tip
Sinking Tip Line
Sinking Tips

A fly line that has both a floating segment (say the first 95 feet) and a sinking section (the last 10 feet). This style of line is used for underwater presentation of flies in fast water or in some still water fishing situations.

A hybrid flyline design which is floating for most of its length except for a short section of sinking line at the end.

Siwash A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Size Limit  The legal length a fish must be if it is in possession.

Slip Sinker  A lead, zinc or steel weight with a hole through the center. Threaded on line, a slip sinker slides freely up and down.

Slot Limit  Dictates that fish within a specified minimum and maximum size range which must be released immediately. Usually extends life of predators or reduces number of small fish.

Slough  A long, narrow stretch of water such as a small stream or feeder tributary off a lake or river.

Slow Roll  Spinnerbait presentation in which the lure is retrieved slowly through and over cover and objects.

Slush Bait  Topwater plug with flat or pointed head.

Skirt  Silicone, rubber, or plastic material fashioned around a spinnerbait or similar lure to create the body.

Skunked Failure to produce any fish on a given day.
To catch zero fish or keepers.
A bad day on the water!

Slime Layer  The layer of mucous covering fish that protects it from fungi, parasites, and disease.

Slinky Parachute cord filled with buckshot, used for weight.

Slip Bobber   a float that slides freely along the angler's fishing line.

See more detailed info on Slip Bobbers and how to use them

Sloughing  downward slipping of a mass of soil, moving as a unit usually with backward motion, down a bank. Sloughing is similar to a landslide.

Slug-Go  A brand of soft-plastic jerkbait.

Smallmouth Bass  A black bass, primarily bronze in color, who's jaw does not extend beyond the eye and is found in clear rivers and lakes.

also called bronzebacks, brown bass, river bass, and smallies. 


  1. In freshwater ecology it refers to trees, branches, and other pieces of naturally occurring wood found sunken in rivers and streams; it is also known as coarse woody debris or snag pile.

  2. An unforeseen or hidden obstacle.

  3. To catch unexpectedly and quickly

  4. To catch (a fish), especially by hooking in a place other than its mouth. See Snagging

Snagger A person who can't get one the fair way. see Snagging below

Snagging A technique of angling in which a hook or hooks are cast, trolled or lowered into the water and manipulated to embed the hook or hooks into the body of the fish. You have snagged a fish if: (a) you are fishing in a manner that the fish does not voluntarily take the hook in its mouth, or (b) if you accidentally hook the fish in a part of the body other than the mouth.

Snakes: Pink rubber worms

Snap – A small device similar to a dog leash snap, a metal wire clip with a swivel tied to the line and used for attachment and quick release of hooks, rigs and lures.

Snap Swivel   see SNAP above

Soft Plastic Lure – Made of a soft plastic to resemble a worm, lizard, crayfish, shrimp or generic wiggling creature.

Often sold in bulk to be rigged on a hook by the angler.

See more detailed information on Spinners

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures


Sonar   An acronym derived from the expression "sound navigation and ranging." Refers to the method or equipment for determining by underwater sound techniques the presence, location or nature of objects in the water. Fish finders use sonar.

Spaghetti  Another term for backlash. Also called Professional Overrun.

Spawn  The behavior of fish where females deposit eggs (also called spawn) on various surfaces (varying with species) and the male produces necessary milt to ultimately turn the eggs into fry.

The act of reproduction of fishes. The mixing of the sperm of a male fish and the eggs of a female fish.

Spey A particular casting technique using special two-handed rods and a modified roll cast. It is named after a river in Scotland where it was developed.

Spider Jig   A type of leadhead jig with a skirt, much like the one on a spinnerbait.

Spider Trolling   Trolling with several rods at once.

Spincaster  A manner of fishing employing a push-button, closed-face spinning reel and baitcasting rod.

Spincast Reel
 Spincast Reel Same as a Closed Face Reel

Reel featuring push button spool release.

A fixed-spool reel with the spool enclosed by a housing and the bail arm replaced by a small pick-up pin. Originally designed for spinning, they are popular for light float fishing, especially trotting.

The Closed face reel has a stationary spool set on the underside of the rod. A curved bar, or bail, acts as a guide on the outer lip of the spool. As the reel handle is turned, the bail also turns, winding line neatly onto the spool.


 Spincasting Rod
Spincasting Rod   Spincasting (or "Spinning") rods are made from graphite or fiberglass with a cork handle, and tend to be between 5 and 7 feet in length. Typically spinning rods have 5 small guides arraigned along the rod which are used to help control the line, and a sliding lock for attaching a reel. Spinning reels are widely used in fishing for popular North American sport fish including bass, pike and walleye.  Spincasting rods are also widely used for trolling and still fishing.

The following are sub-sets of spincasting rods:

 Ultra-light rods
Jigging rods

Spin Fishing  Spin fishing is an angling technique where a spinning lure is used to entice the fish to bite. Spin fishing is used in both freshwater and marine environments. Spin fishing is distinguished between fly fishing and bait cast fishing by the type of rod and reel used. There are two types of reels used when spin fishing, the open faced reel and the closed faced reel. The spin fishing rod has no trigger attached to the base of the fishing rod. This is what differentiates the spin fishing rod from the bait casting fishing rod.

Spinner has several meanings;

1. A spent adult aquatic insect following laying its eggs on the surface of the water.

The last stage of a mayfly, based upon the fact that the wings are spread horizontally as it falls to water surface after mating. The spinner is of significance because the spinner is an easy target for feeding fish.

2. A spinner is a lure designed to make noise underwater in order to catch the fishs' attention instead of mimicking food.

Spinner blades rotate around the straight wire shaft of these weighted-body treble-hook lures.

The build of a spinner consists of a metal pin with a dish around it which will make noise when water is flowing by due to the fishing line being reeled in, almost like a fan or turbine. Below the dish metal weighs are placed in order to make the lure sink and to keep the dish from getting stuck in the hook which is placed at the end of the pin. The hook, which is a three-hooked version, as seen on the wobbler, is often camouflaged in a soft material like feathers.

also referred to as Spinnerbait or Spinner bait

See more detailed information on Spinners

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Spinnerhead   The spinnerhead is the device that rotates in front of a fixed spool and lays the line onto the spool. Spinnerheads use either round edges (like small teeth) to pick up line, or pins that pop out of the spinnerhead to snare the line.

Spinning  A manner of fishing employing an open-face or closed-face spinning reel an spinning rod; reel is mounted on the underside of the rod; rod guides are on the underside of the rod.


Spinning Reel  Style of reel that allows easy casting of small lures. Best described as the type of reel that mounts under the rod for best balance. A fixed spool.

Usually used for casting and inland fishing. Unlike the multiplier, the spool does not turn unless a pulled with  pressure on the line by a sizable fish. Line is reeled in by method of using a bale arm rotating around the spool which coils the line evenly.

Spinning Rod   A rod made to be used with a spinning reel.

Split Cane Rods Fly rods constructed of six pieces of split cane bamboo, which are triangularly shaped, tapered and glued together. Split cane rods appear to have originated in the U.S. in the middle of the 19th century. While used by some modern anglers, graphite/fiber glass rods offer less expensive and easier-to-care for options.

Split Shot
Split Shot Sinker Small weights to squeeze onto a fishing line.

A small ball of lead of varying weights that is split open on one side and can be placed directly on the line.

Split shotting  Another method of finesse fishing. This technique involves pinching a small lead split shot sinker a foot or more above a small worm, then slowly dragging this on the bottom.


1. a. A cylinder of wood, plastic, cardboard, or other material on which wire, thread, or string is wound. b. The amount of wire, thread, or string wound on such a cylinder. c. Something similar to such a cylinder in shape or function.

spooled, spool·ing, spools

To wind or be wound on or off a spool. 

Spoon   see Spoon  Lure below

Spoon Lure A spoon lure is an oblong, concave metal piece resembling a spoon. The spoon lure is mainly used to attract fish by reflecting light and moving randomly.

The design of the spoon lure is simple; an oblong, concave metal piece with a shiny chrome or paint finish, and a single or treble hook on the end.

See more detailed information on Spoons

Sport Fishing  Sport fishing is a form of recreational fishing where the primary reward is the challenge of finding and catching the fish rather than the culinary or financial value of the fish's flesh. The distinction is not completely rigid - in many cases, sport fishers will also eat their captures. However, the philosophies and tactics used for sport fishing are usually sufficiently different from "feed fishing" to make the distinction clear enough.

Sport fishing methods vary according to the area being fished, the species being targeted, the personal strategies of the angler, and the resources available, ranging from the aristocratic art of fly fishing invented (?) in Great Britain, to the high-tech, incredibly expensive methods used to chase marlin and tuna. However, in virtually every case, the fishing is done with rod and reel rather than with nets or other aids.

In the past, sport fishers, even if they did not eat their captures, almost always killed them to bring them to shore for weighing. However, pressure from outside combined with genuine concern about fish stocks have seen many sport fishers releasing their captures alive, usually after fitting them with identifying tags and recording their details so as to aid fisheries research (known as tag-and-release).

Sport fishing competitions give competitors (individuals if the fishing occurs from land, usually teams where conducted from boats) a specified time and area to where they are to catch fish from. Scores are awarded for each fish caught, the points depending on the fish's weight and species, and then divided by the strength of the fishing line used (so catching fish on thinner, weaker line scores additional points). In tag-and-release competition a flat score per fish, divided by the line strength, is awarded for each species caught.

Spotted bass   (Micropterus punctulatus), also called "Spotty", "Leeman", or "Spots" in various fishing communities, is a species of freshwater fish sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to the Mississippi River basin and across the Gulf States, from central Texas through the Florida panhandle. Its native range extends into the western Mid-Atlantic States and it has been introduced into western North Carolina and Virginia. It has also been introduced to southern Africa, where it has become established in some isolated waters. It is often mistaken with the similar and more common largemouth bass.

A convenient way to distinguish between a largemouth bass and a spotted bass is by the size of the mouth. A spotted bass will resemble a largemouth bass in coloration but will have a smaller mouth.

Spring creek  A creek or stream that gets its water from a ground (underground) flow or spring sources, rather than glacier/snow melt or surface run off. Spring creeks are generally at a temperature of the average rainfall temperature over the course of the year (the source of most ground water) and hence usually do not warm significantly in the summer nor freeze in the winter.

Spring creeks are typically small, clear, and challenging to fish. 

Spring runoff  The time of year when the snow melts and runs into the rivers, swelling the trout streams with a great volume of water.

Square Bill  Style of Crankbait known for their small square diving bills. Excellent lures to retrieve through trees, stumps, rocks.

Example: Bagley B-III or Luhr-Jensen Speed Trap.

Squall   A sudden storm with wind and rain.

Square Knot   A double knot. Also called a reef knot.

Standing end  Line leading back to pole or rod

Standing Line  The rest of the line that runs up toward the reel.

Standing Water  Water that is not flowing; stagnant.

Starboard   The right side of a boat.

Still Fishing   Fishing without moving the bait once it is cast. The method of fishing that usually involves the use of a bobber to suspend live bait at a certain depth.

Stimulator Used frequently with a dropper, it is a dry fly that doesn't closely mimic one particular insect, but is "buggy" and attractive to game fish.

Stinkbait   Stink bait is exactly what it sounds like: a stinky bait used to catch fish, especially catfish. You can purchase stink bait at bait shops or sporting goods stores, or make it yourself using items from the grocery store. Some stink bait consists of just one or two ingredients. Strong odors seem to draw catfish. What smells awful to the fisherman apparently smells pretty good to the fish, so the stinkier the bait, the better.

Steelhead A variety of rainbow trout that spawns and lives part of its life in freshwater streams and other parts in oceans. While native to the Pacific Ocean, steelhead have been successfully introduced into many large lakes and now are found in some tributaries of all of North America's Great Lakes.

Stern   The rear part of the boat.

Stick Bobber  a type of bobber shaped like a stick

Stocking  The process of releasing fish into a lake or stream.

Stonefly Family of aquatic insects commonly imitated in fly fishing. Many species are found in western streams.

One of the major species of aquatic insects found in a trout stream. Stoneflies have three phases of development, from egg to nymph to adult, and may live underwater as long as four years before hatching to an adult winged insect. Stonefly nymphs often crawl out of the river to hatch out of their nymphal shucks on rocks.

Storm drain system  consists of street gutters, catch basins, underground pipes, open channels, culverts, and creeks.

Stream  A body of running water.

Stream Bank   the rising ground bordering a stream channel.

Streambed  The channel being occupied or formerly occupied by a stream. See also creek bed

Stream Channel  see Creek Channel

Streamer fly A streamer fly or streamer can be used to mimic injured fish. Streamers can be used to catch predatory fish of almost any size. Fish will bite streamers out of aggression while protecting spawning areas, out of curiosity, or when feeding. The big showy Atlantic Salmon flies, bucktails (hairwing), and feather wing flies all fall into the streamer category.

Streamer fly technique

The fishing technique with a streamer is much the same as with a spoon lure.  Casting across and downstream is the traditional presentation. Retrieves can be fast or slow and erratic to imitate an injured fish.

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Stream Mouth The downstream point defined as a straight line running from the most downstream extremity on one stream bank to the most downstream extremity on the other stream bank or a point defined and marked by FWP (Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

Strike Any "hit"; the action by a fish taking a lure or bait.

This term also refers to the movement of the rod a fly angler makes to set the hook.

Strike Indicator  A term used interchangeably with very small brightly colored floats or a stimulator. Basically strike indicators help the angler know when a strike has occurred.

A strike indicator is anything that can be attached to the leader to let the waiting angler know that the drift of a sunken fly (or nearly invisible small dry fly) has been intercepted by a feeding fish. Therefore, the defining characteristics of an indicator are that it should float and it should be visible to the angler.

Stringer  A method of keeping fish alive after they have been caught. A string or small nylon rope is threaded through the mouth and gills of a fish and is then tied off to the boat or dock allowing the fish to remain overboard in the water but preventing them from swimming away. With the advent of livewells and other more modern methods of keeping fish, stringers have become nearly obsolete, but can still be quite handy when fishing from the bank of a pond.

The term "stringer" is also used by anglers to indicate the size of their catch for the day (10 pound stringer = 10 pound fish). 

Striped Bass  (Morone saxatilis), also called Atlantic striped bass, striper, linesider, rock, pimpfish, or rockfish) is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater (marine) fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire. They are also found in the Minas Basin and Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Striper  referring to The Striped Bass

Stripper Guide See Stripping Guide below

Stripping Bringing in a fly line with in a series of short or varied pulls so as to simulate a living insect or bait fish. Often also involves movements of the rod tip.

Stripping guide  The stripper or stripping guide is the first guide encountered on the rod nearest the reel on a rod, usually more substantial and larger in diameter than the snake guides nearer the tip. So called because this is the guide that is worked the hardest when you are stripping line in or (even more so) when a fish is stripping line off your reel.

Some rods have two stripping guides, with the larger being nearer the reel.

Structure  Changes in the shape of the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments, especially those that influence fish behavior. Examples include manmade cribs, flooded roadbeds, humps, ledges, and drop-offs.

Any area that causes fish to be concentrated

Structure Spoon – Both casting and vertical jigging techniques are used for fishing these swinging hook heavy metal lures.

Sucker Fish  Suckers are bottom-feeding fish found throughout most of the United States. Although suckers are not normally targeted by most anglers the fish is capable of putting up a great fight and is very fun to catch. Suckers have a fleshy mouth with thick lips that point downward, allowing the fish to forage for food along the gravelly and mucky stream and river beds where the fish live. Some suckers can weigh as much as four or five pounds at lengths of up to 2 feet, making them a formidable fish when hooked on a spinning rod.

Sunfish   (Centrarchidae)  The sunfishes are a family of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. The type genus is Centrarchus (consisting solely of the flier, C. macropterus). The family's 27 species includes many fishes familiar to North Americans, including the rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappies. All are native only to North America.

Family members are distinguished by having at least three anal spines. The dorsal spines are 5–13 in number, but most species have 10–12. The pseudobranch is small and concealed. Sizes of most are in the 8 to 12 inch range. However, some are much smaller, with the blackbanded sunfish at just 3 inches in length, while the largemouth bass is reported to reach almost 3 1/2 ft in extreme cases.

Most sunfishes are valued for sports fishing, and have been introduced in many areas outside their original ranges, sometimes becoming invasive species.

Surface Lure   also known as top water lures, poppers and stickbaits. They float and resemble prey that is on top of the water. They can make a popping sound from a concave-cut head, a burbling sound from "side fins" or scoops or a buzzing commotion from one or several propellers. A few have only whatever motion the fisherman applies through the rod itself, though if skillfully used, they can be very effective.

Surf Fishing Rod

Surf fishing rods resemble spinning rods with much larger proportions. Generally between 10 to 14 feet in length, surf fishing rods need to be larger and more robust in order for the user to get the bait out beyond where ocean surf breaks. The shallow water and low visibility of surf break zones means that fish tend to congregate just beyond this area. Some people can use surf rods to cast six ounces of lead weight and bait hundreds of feet, and casting competitions are sometimes held on dry land.

Surgeon's knot A common and strong knot for tying tippet material to the leader or one segment of tippet material to another. A surgeon's knot is stronger than a blood knot, especially for connection materials of unlike size and material. The blood knot has the advantage of being smoother and less likely to catch algae or cause tangles.

Learn How To Tie a Surgeon's knot

Sweet Jigging: Same as ripping sides

Swim Bait  Soft plastic lure that resembles a baitfish. Normally a life-size copy of a bluegill, shad, or trout.

Example: Castaic lure

Swimming Lures  Sinking-type artificial baits designed to resemble a swimming baitfish. Such plugs vibrate and/or wobble during retrieve; some have built-in rattles.

Also called lipless crankbaits

Swivel   Lets a line spin without twisting it up.

A strong connection between the mainline and the leader to eliminate line twist. Made from brass or
stainless steel and comes in various sizes. It can be bought attached with a snap clip or on its own.

A small device with two or more eyes (rings) a central swiveling part.

They are used between a lure or leader and line to prevent line twist. Otherwise, line twist can occur when a revolving lure twists line to cause tangles.

See More Detailed Information on Swivels

Swivel Winker click here

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Tackle   see Fishing Tackle

  What your last catch did to you as you reeled him in, but just before he wrestled free and jumped back overboard

Tackle Box   A box or bag with special compartments and features to hold terminal tackle, lures, hooks, and other fishing gear.

See More Detailed Information about Tackleboxes

Tag end  End of fishing line

Tailing Loop  The result of an error in the casting technique.  Tailing loops usually result when the rod tip following a concave path, such as it will do if the caster "jerks" the rod forward at the end of the backcast.  Jerking the rod forward from the backcast applies power improperly and at the wrong time.  The rod tip, in turn, dips sharply into a convex path.  Since the line goes where the rod tip goes, the line is sure to follow the same concave path forming the tailing loop.  The evidence of a tailing loop is a simple unwanted overhand knot somewhere in the forward part of the tippet.  Sometimes called a "wind knot," the knot is anything but the result of the wind.  When you begin to notice these little teeny-tiny knots, look for an error in the mechanics of your cast.

Tail Spinners  Compact, lead-bodied lures with one or two spinner blades attached to the tail, and a treble hook suspended from the body; designed to resemble a wounded shad; effective on schooling bass.

Tailwater The downstream section of a river or stream found below a large man-made dam. The most famous and productive tailwaters are from bottom-discharge dams, making the water relatively cold and constant in temperature.

Area below a reservoir.

1. The varying diameter of a fly line over its length.

2. An area in a body of water that slopes toward deeper depths

Ten to Two  The casting motion whereby the position of the rod tip is compared to the hands of a clock.

Terminal Tackle   A general term for describing bobbers, sinkers, hooks, rigs, snaps, swivels and other gear used at the end of a line.

Terrestrials  Insect species whose life cycle occurs on land, such as beetles and grasshoppers.

Test  Most fishing line is made of nylon and is called "monofilament," or mono for short. It comes on spools of various lengths that are called "tests." Usually, a four-pound test line will hold up a fish weighing four pounds without breaking. The larger the test of the line, the thicker the diameter it is and the more it will hold. For your basic rig, try to find a piece of four-pound or six-pound test line that is eight to ten feet long.

Texas Rig  The method of securing a hook to a soft-plastic bait - worm, lizard, crawfish, by burying the hook point into the body of the lure

Thermocline  Depth of lake where the lowest level of useable oxygen and cooler water temperatures meet. Bass will rarely be found below this level.

Thi Bead  See Knot Protector Bead  

Thirty second rule  After 30 seconds out of the water, trout have little chance of surviving if released.

Thorax  the part of an artificial fly or real insect that relates to the "shoulders and chest" of a fly.

Three-way swivel  Three rings on this swivel, usually of a brass color. The hook line is perhaps 2 feet long, attached to one of the three rings. That keeps it away from the main line and weight. If a current is running and the bait is spinning, the ring turns and the line won't kink up

Tide  The rise and falling of the surface of the ocean.

Tighten the Drag  When you tighten the drag on your reel it makes the line harder for the fish to pull out and makes them get tired faster. But you have to be careful not to make it too tight or the fish can pull so hard your line breaks.

Tinsel A metallic filament used in fly tying to provide flash and color.


a.)  a short length of gut, nylon, or the like, for tying an artificial fly to the leader.

b.)  a branch of the shaft of a bird feather, serving as the tail of an artificial fly. 

Tippet  The terminal segment of monofilament tied on the end of a leader and connected to the fly.

Tippet is a specific gauge monofilament line that is attached to the end of the leader, to which you tie the fly. The tippet is usually the smallest gauge line on your rig and is virtually invisible to the fish. Tippet is also very flexible and allows your fly to float or swim more naturally.

Tied to the leader, it protects the leader length and condition. This is the line that is cut when flies are switched. 

Tip section The top section of a fly rod, smallest in diameter and furthest from the rod grip.

Is also The Help Guides found throughout this Site

Tiptop  Line guide or Eyelet at top of a fishing rod.

Toe  the bottom of a slope or creek bank.

Topwater Jerkbait Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Top Water Popper   A lure that floats and is designed to be used to create some degree of disturbance on the surface during retrieve.

Trailer Hook The extra hook, or cheater hook added to a single-hook lure, such as a spinnerbait.

Trailing Shuck A section of synthetic yarn tied to the back of a fly to imitate a case being shed from an emerging insect.

Transducer  A device that converts electrical energy to sound energy, or the reverse. Typically associated with depth finders or fish finders.

Transom  The thick fiberglass wall of a boat on which the outboard motor is bolted.

Treble Hook Three hooks made together; built into one.

Some states make double and treble hooks illegal and also regulate the number of hooks that can be attached to one line. Get familiar with your State Fishing Laws by clicking here

Triangle taper A special taper profile to a fly line designed by Lee Wulff, with 40 feet of continuous taper, with a thin running line. Particularly useful for roll casts

Tributary  A creek, stream, or river that feeds a larger stream or river or lake.

Any watercourse that flows into a body of water, including tributaries to a tributary.

Triggering  Employment of any lure-retrieval technique or other fishing strategy that causes a fish to strike.

Troll  Refers to the revolving motion of the bait or lures.

Trolling   Trolling is simply dragging a lure, bait, or a bait-and-lure combination through the water, using a boat rather than casting and retrieving to provide movement., Many of the lures used for casting also work for trolling.

This fishing method is used to cover a lot of water and to find fish.

Trolling Lure  A fishing lure used while trolling.

Trolling Motor  A small, quiet, outboard motor.

Trolling Spoon  A large spoon that is trailed, or trolled, behind a

boat to catch fish.

Trout  Any of several species of fish in Salmonidae, closely related to salmon, and distinguished by spawning more than once.

Trout Unlimited Non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of trout fisheries, with an emphasis towards wild trout.

Tube Bait   See Tube Lure below

Tube Lure  Soft plastic lures that are hollow inside the body. The end of the lure is like a soft skirt with tentacles. Used on light lead head jigs and with a slip sinker.

These tubular lures are fished with special weighted hooks inserted into the hollow body.

Turbidity   the cloudiness (or clarity) of a water sample. If a great amount of suspended sediments (such as soil particles) are present in the water, the sample will be very turbid. Water clarity is important in that it helps keep the water temperature cool, indicates very little erosion in upstream areas, and is important for fish and insect reproduction cycles.

Turn   In regards to knot tieing.  A turn occurs when you pass the tag end completely around the standing line.

Sometimes called a wrap.

Tyee: Chinook over 30 pounds

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Ultra-light rods

These are used in fishing "ultra-light" with small, very thin rods (usually 4 to 5 feet long and as thick as a pencil). These rods usually carry 2 to 6 pound test fishing line and throw bait no larger then 1/8th of an ounce. Originally produced to bring more excitement to crappie fishing, ultra-light fishing is now catching on with trout fishers as well.

Undercut Banks  Wherever strong current flows against an earthen bank, the area beneath the water may become eroded. This creates a submerged, cavelike overhang in which trout may hold without worrying about predators. Undercut banks are also created by man, these so-called "Lunker Structures" are placed in the stream to provide additional cover for trout in areas where undercuts do not occur naturally. In all cases, these stream features will hold fish. Presenting a fly to these fish, however, can be quite a challenge. Depending on the current, it may be possible to drift a nymph beneath an undercut, but more often than not this is an exercise in futility. Creeping up on the same bank and dapping your fly over the edge works occasionally, and during a hatch, a dry fly may be drifted against the bank to elicit strikes from the trout concealed beneath the undercut.

Upland zone   the area adjacent to a creek that extends away from the wetter riparian corridor.

Upriver   Something that is moving up-river is moving towards the source of a river, from a point down the river. Something that is up-river is towards the source of a river.

U.S.C.G. United States Coast Guard

U.S.G.S.  United States Geological Survey.


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Variant A dry fly variety wound hackles that are much larger than normally recommended. It is tied generally the as conventional patterns.

Ventral Fin  The fin on the anterior or lower surface of the fish- opposite the back.

Vessel  Every type of watercraft or boat capable of being used as a means of transportation on water except devices that are propelled entirely by kicking fins and the floater sits in the water, such as inner tubes (motor vehicle type), float tubes (belly boats), air mattresses and sailboards when used without mechanical propulsion by an individual. Contact your local warden for more information.

Vise A tool used by fly tiers to hold the hook secure as thread, feathers and fur are attached and the fly is being constructed. Usually the most expensive and the single most important purchase for a fly tier.

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Wacky worm  Rigging method for straight body worm, where the hook goes through the middle of the worm and is left exposed.

Looks stupid but works well on spawning fish

Wade Fish  To wade through the water after fish. The lack of boating mobility is made up for by the contemplative nature of being partially submerged in the elements.

Catching one fish wading is worth 5 or more from a boat, because you've really earned it.

Wader belt An adjustable belt cinched near the top of chest waders to keep out water, particularly recommended as a precaution to the waders filling up with water in the event of a fall.

Waders Footed trousers that are constructed of latex, neoprene, Gortex or other waterproof material so as to keep anglers dry. Currently waders come in stocking foot or booted form and can be found in three lengths: hip waders, waist-high waders and chest waders.

Wading  To transverse a river or stream on foot; most commonly done in shallower waterways.

Wading boots
Wading shoes  Hiking-like boots worn with stocking foot waders, generally having felt soles and a more comfortable fit than the boot portions of boot foot waders.

Wading staff A walking stick especially adapted to provide stability to a wading fly angler when moving through fast or deep water. Some wading staffs are foldable and can be kept in a fishing vest pocket until needed.

Walk The Dog  Retrieve method used for fishing topwater lures. Accomplished by twitching the rod tip downward several times.  See how to perform this technique here

Walleye   A kind of fish that gives a big fight. Good to eat.

Click Here for
More detailed info on a Walleye fish

Watermelon  Refers to a hook with a large opening or gap between the shank and point. This enables the angler to hook a bigger percentage of fish.

Watershed  the land area that water flows across or through on its way to a creek, river, bay, or ocean.

Weedguard  A piece of stiff monofilament or light wire attached from the top of the hook and extending in front of the hook point and bend to the hook eye. If properly attached, a weedguard reduces the likelihood of a fly picking up weeds, yet it does not deter the hooking of a fish. Weedguards are especially popular for underwater warm water flies. See Weedless Hook

Weedless   usually referring to a hook. Keeps weeds from snagging, letting you fish vegetation a lot easier. Their name is misleading as they're not 100 percent weedless, but are better than a bare hook for fishing weeds.

Weedless Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Weedless Spoon – Wobbling spoons made with a fixed hook and guard for fishing weeds.

Weedless Spoon

Weekend Warrior They dress the part and flock to the rivers in their new waders and Sage rods on the weekends to 'escape' from the everyday stresses of a crappy office job, usually get skunked.

Weight Forward  A fly line designed with more weight towards the front of the line to assist in casting and loading the rod.

Most of its weight in the first thirty feet of line. The large section of this type of line is called the line belly, with a long tapering of the line toward the front and a short tapering of it back to a thinner running line.

Wet Fly   An artificial bait that looks like a fly and sinks.

A wet fly resembles an insect under the water surface. Wet flies can imitate aquatic insects, drowned insects, or the larval stages of aquatic insects swimming to the surface to hatch. Wet flies are traditionally tied with a tail, body, wings, and soft hackle.

Wet fly technique

A wet fly is traditionally fished in a down and across swing.

Wharf  Structure built along the shore of navigable waters so ships may lie alongside to receive and discharge cargo and passengers.

Whip Finish
Whip finisher
Whip Finishing Tool   A tool used in tying flies that helps the fly tier lay down a smooth and compact head of the fly.

White Bass  (Morone chrysops)  The white bass or sand bass is a freshwater fish of the temperate bass family Moronidae. It is the state fish of Oklahoma.

Whitefish (white fish, demersal fish)    a fisheries term referring to several species of oceanic deep water finfish, particularly cod (Gadus morhua), whiting (Merluccius bilinearis), and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), but also hake (Urophycis), pollock (Pollachius), or others.

Unlike oily fish, white fish contain oils only in their liver, rather than in the gut and can therefore be gutted as soon as they are caught, on board the ship.

White fish are divided into round fish which live near the sea bed (cod, coley) and flatfish such as plaice which live on the sea bed.

Whitefish is sometimes eaten straight but often used reconstituted for fishsticks, gefilte fish, lutefisk, surimi (imitation crabmeat), etc.
It is most widely known as the fish in fish and chips.

Wide Gap Hook  Refers to a hook with a large opening or gap between the shank and point. This enables the angler to hook a bigger percentage of fish.

Willowleaf  A blade design used on spinnerbaits that resembles a half moon.

Winding Wraps of thread that are used to attach the stripping guides and snake guides on the fly rod blank.

Wind knots In the process of casting, especially for beginners, loops form particularly in the leader and tippet. The formation of such loops is made worse by casting in the wind and hence when they become knots in the leader or tippet they are called wind knots.

The telltale result of a tailing loop

Wing Dam  A wing dam is a manmade barrier that, unlike a conventional dam, only extends partway into a river. These structures force water into a fast-moving center channel which reduces the rate of sediment accumulation, while slowing water flow near the riverbanks.

Wobbler  A wobbler is a larger fishing lure, designed to resemble larger fishes than the jig. As the name signifies, it makes wobbling movements that are caused by the mouth dish that causes bad slipstream shapes.

The typical build of a wobbler consists of:

  • a body made out of wood or plastic, may be separated into two pieces joint by a small flexible link to enhance the impression of a fish whipping its tail fin.

  • a mouth dish, sometimes adjustable to change depth and wobbling movements of the lure.

  • Hooks, often in groups of three hanging freely on a maximum of three points (front, middle and rear end) as this is the maximum number of hooks allowed on a single lure.

  • A ring for attaching the fishing line.

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Woody Debris   Logs, branches, even whole trees sometimes end up in trout streams. These features block the current and provide shelter for fish. Swinging a streamer from upstream is one presentation that works in these instances. Woody debris, when combined with another feature, such as deep water or the tongue of a pool, is a trout magnet.

Worm Hook  A name and shape of a fish hook. See more detailed information here

Wulff Dry Flies  See Royal Wulff Dry Flies

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X diameter A system to indicate the diameter of leader and tippet material, with 0X (zero-X) representing the largest diameter (.011 inches) and 8X (.003 inches) representing a small, light diameter. Commonly used values are 1X (.010), 2X (.009), 3X (.008), 4X (.007), 5X (.006), 6X (.005). The strength of these monofilament diameters varies with the kind of material.

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Yolk Sac  In embryos and early fish larvae, a bag-like ventral extension of the gut containing nutritive materials. It nourishes the growing fish until it is able to feed itself.

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Zara Pooch  Brand name of topwater lure.

Zara Puppy  Brand name of topwater lure.

Zara Spook  Brand name of topwater lure.

Zebco   Zebco, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma was acquired by the W. C. Bradley Co. in 2001. Zebco is a designer and marketer of branded fishing tackle in North America. The brands marketed by this division include Zebco, Rhino, Quantum, Lew’s, Martin, and Cajun Line.

Zebra Mussel  An exotic mussel that has infested U.S. water and threatens our fisheries. Looks like zebra stripe little clams, and they attach to boats, trailers, docks, etc.

Use care when boating in areas with this creature.
 Inspect your boat and trailer prior to launching in another body of water.

Zinger A retractable string clip used to connect tools to ones fly vest.

Zipperlip: Secret fishing hole.

Zipper Worm  New style of plastic worm that features a flat body with ridges that look similar to a zipper on clothing.

Very popular on the west coast.

Z-Lon Trade name for a synthetic yarn used in making carpeting. Can be used for many purposes in fly tying such as nymph bodies, spent wings, and trailing shucks.

Zooplankton  Small aquatic animals that are suspended or swimming in water.

Z-ray   A brand name of heavy spoon typically used in trout fishing.

Zug Bug   A type of wet fly or fly pattern commonly used by fly fishers in lakes.


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It is important that people who fish follow all fishing rules and regulations.
These rules help conserve fish populations and also help anglers be successful.
Regulations may limit the size of, number of, and season that a type of fish may be caught, and may require a license to fish. In some cases, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed, which means the fish must be let go. Some bait is illegal in certain areas.
Contact your state wildlife agency by visiting Our Rules and Regulations Page.

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