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updated August 28, 2005

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Ac   Ad   Af   Al   An    Ar   At

Aboard - On a boat.


(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 fly 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.

Adam's 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 A small fin between the dorsal and tail fin.

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

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

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.


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.

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

Angling  Usually refers to the recreational catching of fish by means of hook and line; sport fishing; game fishing

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.

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.


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

Learn How To Tie An Arbor knot

Aroma - A very special smell that is easy to notice.

Artificial Bait rubber worms, etc.
See Bait


Artificial Lure - A man-made bait used to fool fish.
Any manmade lure (including flies) that imitates natural bait. Artificial lures may have a scent infused or applied. Artificial lures do not include fish eggs, any natural or artificial food such as corn and marshmallows, any products that are derivatives of natural foods, any chemically treated or processed natural bait such as salted minnows, nor any artificial dough, paste or edible baits.

See more deatailed information on Artificial Bait and Lures

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.

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.

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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.

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 the 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.

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 little pieces of 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. Fishermen have also begun using plastic bait (lure) and, more recently, electronic lures, 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.

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.

Bar  Long ridge in a body of water.


1. A raised burr on a hook to keep fish from getting off.
2.  any of the side branches of the shaft of a feather 
3 : a plant hair or bristle ending in a hook

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 See above

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.

Click Here for
More detailed info on a Bass fish

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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

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 occurr using a level wind,a newbies nightmare

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.

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  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.

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.

Blue fish  A kind of fish caught in saltwater.

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

Boathouse - A building to keep boats

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

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.

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 fish  Fish that spend most of their lives on bottom, such as cod, snapper and grouper.

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 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

Power Pro is a popular braid that works well in a wide varitey of fishing applications.

It comes in a wide range of tests and last a long time.

2) Spiderwire

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

3) Dacron Fly Line Backing

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.

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, layed back from the eye to the bend of the hook. That hair often is from a deer's tail.

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.

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 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.


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  A general name for the dozens of subspecies of caddis flies found in trout streams all over the world. Also known as a "sedge," they are characterized by a tent-like wing. Caddis have four stages of development, from egg to larva to pupa to adult.

Canal  A man made waterway used for navigation.

Camoflage - A way to hide things and make them hard to see.

Cane Pole - A fishing pole made from a bamboo shoot.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 somethin dumb to lose your fish

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

Chugger  Topwater lure that "chugs" when retrieved, similar but smaller than a popper. Example, Storm Chug Bug.

Chum  Chopped up fish, shellfish or even animal parts (for sharks), dropped overboard to attract gamefish.

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 neccassry 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...and 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.

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

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.

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: Spin cast reel

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

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

Commercial Fishing Boat  Used for fishing to earn a living.

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

Cove  A small sheltered inlet or bay.
An indentation along a shoreline

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

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 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.

Cray fish  See Crawfish

Craw dad  See Crawfish

Crawldad   See Crawfish

Creek - A stream of water that is smaller than a river.

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.

Cricket Can - Keeps crickets alive to use for bait.

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.

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.

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 one&ldots;" 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.

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.

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De     Di    Dnr     Do     Dr     Du

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.

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.

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

D.E.C.  Department of Enviromental Conservation.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

D.N.R. Department of Natural Resources

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.

Doe  Hen Steelies/Salmon

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."

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-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.

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.

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.


1. The mechanical device on a fly reel that 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 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.

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 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.

Dropper  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.

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.

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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Earthworm - A skinny worm that wiggles and makes good bait.

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

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.

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

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.

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   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.

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 manmade body of water.

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

FAS see Fishing Access Site

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

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

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

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.

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

Fishfinder  See Depth Finder

FISHERMAN - Anyone who fishes with a pole, net, gig, or trap.

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 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. 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.

To preserve good fishing, take any discarded line with you when you leave. Discarded line can snag and harm wildlife, and kill fish, turtles, frogs, birds and small mammals.

Fishing lines serve as the link between the angler's reel and the lure or bait. The most popular fishing line used for sportfishing is monofilament nylon line, which is strong and durable and has a certain amount of stretch, which helps when an angler sets the hook. The line comes in a variety of strengths, from 2-pound test to more than 100-pound test. (Pound test is the amount of pressure that can be put on a line before it breaks.) Most monofilament is clear, making it difficult for fish to see.

Braided lines, such as Dacron and braided multifilament lines, are frequently used for a style of fishing called jigging-where anglers lower the bait to near the water's bottom and then move it in an up-and-down manner in a steady motion. These lines also perform well when an angler trolls, or pulls the line from behind a slow-moving boat. Dacron and braided lines are often thinner yet stronger than standard monofilament lines. These lines also have better casting capabilities than standard monofilament because they are heavier and less likely to tangle.

Fly-fishing lines are woven synthetic strands coated with several thin layers of plastic. The weight and thickness of these coatings create three distinct types of lines: lines that float, lines that sink gradually, and lines that sink rapidly. The lines come in different shapes, for different types of casting situations. A double-taper fly line, for example, has a small diameter for its first and last 8 m (25 ft), with a larger diameter throughout the rest of the line. Using double tapers when casting small flies enables anglers to place the bait on the water without the line disturbing the surface of the water and spooking the game fish. Weight-forward tapers (preferred by most anglers) have a larger diameter in the front section than in the rest of its length. This enables anglers to make longer, more powerful casts because during the cast the heavy line in front pulls the lighter line that follows.

Because regular fly line is heavy and difficult to cast in a gentle manner, fly-fishers attach a short portion of monofilament line, called a leader, to the end of the fly line. The leader is much lighter and smaller in diameter than the fly line. This enables the angler to cast the fly onto the water without disturbing the surface. It also provides an almost invisible attachment to the fly, which makes the fly appear natural and more appealing to fish. Some other types of leaders used with monofilament lines are made of heavy monofilament or steel. These leaders prevent sharp-toothed fish from biting through the line and also protect the lure from being torn off by sharp underwater rocks and coral.

See More Deatailed Information on  Fishing Line

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 fishermans arms.

Also called fishing pole.

See More Deatail 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

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

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

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 flavour, 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.

Trout generally use flats only for feeding purposes because they feel vulnerable there. Also important for saltwater species such as redfish and tarpon that feed on baitfish and crabs.

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 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.

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  Technique in which a short amount of line is pulled from the reel and raised vertically then lowered to the side of an object. 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.


1. Style of lure that floats rather than sinks at rest.

2. 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.

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.

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

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

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 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.

A method of fishing that utilizes an artificial fly, a long flexible rod, a reel, and line.

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.

Freestone river
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 water with less than 0.5 grams per liter of total dissolved mineral salts.

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

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.

Game Fish 

1. fish caught for sport: a fish, particularly an ocean fish, that is caught for sport. Sharks are popular game fish.

2. fish reserved for anglers: a fish that is reserved by law or other regulation for anglers and that cannot be caught and sold commercially

3. A fish that is regulated by law for recreational harvest. 

4. Any fish that is sought after for their fighting ability and eating quality.

5. a fish of a family (Salmonidae) including salmons, trouts, chars, and whitefishes

GAME WARDEN - A person in uniform (lwater police) who checks on fishing laws. Do you have a permit?

GAR - A long freshwater fish; not good to eat.

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. GILLS - Slits on the side of a fish's head used for breathing. GREAT OUTDOORS - Being out in Nature. GRUB WORM - A fat worm used for bait.

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 long net used to encircle a school of fish near the surface. 

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.

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.

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  See 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.

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

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.


1.  A plastic worm tail usually threaded onto a 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.

2. Small curl tail lure made of soft plastic. 

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

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.

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

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 bouyant (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.

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.

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.

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

A hook is a barbed or barbless hook used to catch fish. 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   reffering to a Fishing Pole, Fishing Rod or Fishing Reel

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.

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.

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

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

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

Inboard - (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.

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.

Ichthyology  The scientific study of fishes.

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"

A jig is a type of fishing lure designed to resemble small fish, rarely larger than 10 centimeters.

The typical buildup of a jig consists of a heavy head with a ring to attach the line to, connected to the head is a hook with a barb.

The jig is very versatile and can be used in both salt water as well as fresh water. Many species are attracted to the lure which has made it popular amongst anglers for years.

The Head

The head of a jig can consists of many different shapes and colors along with different features. The most common is the round head, but others include fish head shaped, coned shaped, or anything someone can think up. These heads come in many different weights usually ranging from 1/64 ounces to 1 ounce. They also can be found in a wide array of colors and patterns. The hooks also vary. These variances can be on the hook type, color, angle of the hook or the material of the hook. Some jig heads even offer a weed guard.

The body

The body of the jig has two common designs:

1. The most common that can be found is a rubber/silicone plastic body with one larger part and one thinner extrusion at the end that will give the impression of a tail fin when the jig is 'swimming' through the water.
These come in many shapes; that of a grub, frog shaped, fish shaped, paddle tail, lizards, or different bugs.
The colors of these can range from bright yellow to a transparent brown with silver and red flakes.

2.  Another body that is often used is the combination of feathers, fur, rubber skirts, and other materials.

See More Detailed Information on Jig

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

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 spin casting 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 spin casting rods can be used for this.

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


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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.

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.


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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 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.

Landing Net A net attached to a frame and handle, which is used to capture fish that have been hooked by an angler.

Largemouth 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, 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.

Lead - A heavy metal weight.

Leader 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 monofiliment.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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 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 salamder. 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 NewZealand, where a twenty five hook maximum is perscribed 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.

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.

Lunker Lure  Original designer of the buzzbait. Many anglers still refer to all buzzbaits as "Lunker Lure."

Lure       a lure is an object, often designed to resemble fish prey, equipped with one or many hooks that is used to catch fish.

Any artificial item designed to attract fish and fitted with hooks. These include flies, hard plastic or wood lures (or plugs), soft plastic imitations, large offshore skirted baits, metal spoons, lead-head lures (jigs), bladed lures, spinners, spinnerbaits.

The lure is attached to the end of the fishing line and is then thrown out into the water and pulled back to attract fish. An exception is the fly lure, which either floats on water surface, slowly sinks or floats underwater, based on real behavior of insect being resembled.

There are several types of fishing lures:

fly lures
spoon lures

See More Detailed Information on Bait & 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.

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.

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.



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.

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.

Milk: To play a fish too long

Milt The sperm of fishes.

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 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.

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.

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.\

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

Natural Bait  see Live Bait

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

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

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.

Offshore Fishing - Fishing done away from the shore.

Open Face Spinning Reel

 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.

Ooutboard Motor - A removable engine for boats.

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

Oxbow  A U shaped bend in a river or stream

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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 emergences 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.

Click here more info on 

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 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.

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

Click here more info on a

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).

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.

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

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

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

See more deatiled information on Plugs

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

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

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.

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.

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.


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 number of fish that may be possessed at any time

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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Quarry  Area excavated for mining operations that fills with water.


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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.

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.

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.


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 mounted to the handle end of the fishing rod onto which the line is wound.

A mechanical 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.

Reel styles include

CASTING (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).

also see Fishing Reel

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

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

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).

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

(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.

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.

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.

Riffle A small rapid in a river.

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.

Ripper:  Hard fighting fish, makes your reel "scream"
  see screamer

Ripping Sides: Purposely seting the hook every ten feet during your drift with the intent of snagging a fish by the belly/ass/fin.

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 natural flow of water of considerable volume.

Riverbank  The bank or banks of a river.

Riverbed  The area/channel between the banks through which a river flows.

Riverboat  A boat designed for use on a river or stream.

Rivulet  A small stream or brook.

Rocket launcher  A rack of tubes designed to hold five or six fishing rods in a boat.

Rod - A fishing pole with eyes for line to pass through. see Fishing Rod

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.

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 Catskills 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

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 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).

Salt Water Ocean water. It has salt and many other minerals.


1. A small, flattened, rigid plate forming part of the external body covering of a fish.
2. a device in measuring weight 

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 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.

School - A group of fish swimming together.


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

Seam  A calm spot caused by an obstruction in a river such as a rock or log.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 mininum and maximum size range which must be released immediately.

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

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. 

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

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.

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 fishes' 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 niose 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.

See more detailed information on Spinners

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

Spinner bait "Safety pin" style wire lures with one or more spinner blades on the end of one wire, and a weighted body, skirt and hook on the other. Used to fish around structure such as trees and stumps.

See more detailed information on Spinners

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures


Spincaster  A manner of fishing employing a push-button, closed-face spinning reel and baitcasting rod.

Spincast reel Reel featuring push button spool release.

Example; Zebco 33.

Spin Casting Rod

Spin Casting (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. Spin casting rods are also widely used for trolling and still fishing.

The following are sub-sets of spin casting rods:

 Ultra-light rods
Jigging rods

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.

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

See More Detailed Information on Bait & Lures

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.

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.

Starboard - The right side of a boat.

Still Fishing - Fishing without moving the bait once it is cast.

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.

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.

Stream  A body of running water.

Streambed  The channel being occupied or formerly occupied by a stream.

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.

Stringer - A cord or chain to keep caught fish on.

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 guide nearest the reel on a fly rod, usually more substantial and larger in diameter than the snake guides nearer the tip. It is called a stripping guide because in bringing in the fly, the line is pulled over this guide with a fair amount a force. 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.

Structure Spoon – Both casting and vertical jigging techniques are used for fishing these swinging hook heavy metal lures.

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 Tiw 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 Deatailed 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

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.

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.

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.

Tippet  The terminal segment of monofilament tied on the end of a leader and connected to the fly.

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.

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.

Transom  The thick fiberglass wall of a boat on which the outboard motor is bolted.

Treble Hook - Three hooks made together.

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 - A method of slowly running a boat while trailing lures or bait.

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 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.

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.

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. Used mostly with spook lures.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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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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.

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