Anglers Dictionary



Action – The bend in a fishing rod when it loads up when hooked into fish.

Adipose fin – a small fleshy fin with no rays, located between the dorsal and caudal fins

Alabama rig – castable variation of the “umbrella” rig; Andy Poss is generally recognized as the person who modified the umbrella rig for conventional bass fishing

Anadromous Waters – Inland waters, such as rivers and sloughs, that migrate from the ocean which are fishable.

Angler – Another name for Fisherman.

Angling – also see Fishing. To take fish by way of hand, or using a hook with live bait, dead bait, or artificial lures, which is attached to fishing line spooled on a reel and rod.

Artificial Bait – Looks, feels and smells just like live or dead bait, but is manufactured with either man made or natural materials, or a combination of both..

Artificial Lure – Something resembling a fish’ food of prey, usually manufactured out of a man made materials to attract fish.


Backcast – the portion of the casting motion in which the angler brings the rod tip back sharply and just before the power stroke that brings the rod tip forward; the term is most commonly associated with fly fishing

Backlash – an overrun of the spool of a baitcast reel caused by improper spool tension on the part of the angler; sometimes referred to as a “birds nest”

Bait – Whatever kind of food/prey that fish feed on or are willing to try to eat.

Baitcast reel – a revolving spool fishing reel that is mounted above the rod

Bait Ball – A large group of baitfish swimming tightly together.

Ball-head jig — jig with round (or “ball”) head

Bangin’ – Technique of using a heavy type of jig or similar lure by allowing it to knock and bounce off of rocks along the bottom in the water.

Bank runner – small fish that are relatively easy to catch and typically spend most of their lives near shore

Bed fishing – the tactic of fishing for bass that are holding on or near spawning beds

Birds Nest – Slang for Backlash

Blade – slang term for spinnerbait or blade bait

Blade bait – lure type generally identified by its slim, “blade-like” body and generally made from aluminum and lead

Blowdown – a shoreline tree that has fallen into the water; also known as a “laydown”

Bluff-burning – a technique that involves casting a big-bladed spinnerbait parallel to the edge of a cliff face and retrieving it rapidly just under the surface

Boilie – boilies are round balls of commercial or home made bait. They are made in various sizes and colors with different ingredients and flavor additives to suit the fish expected to be caught. Boilies are mainly used by carp or specimen anglers

Breakline – an area of transition from one depth to another, one cover type to another, one water temperature to another, one water color to another, one substrate to another or any other transition that could influence fish behavior

Bream – one or more of a species of panfish; a commonly used term for bluegill and other panfish

Bronzeback – Smallmouth bass

Brown bass – slang term for smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

Brushpile – a man-made collection of brush and woody cover placed in a body of water in order to attract game fish

Bucketmouth – slang for Largemouth bass

Bulging – retrieving a lure, usually a spinnerbait, just under the surface so the lure bulges the water without breaking the surface

Bulldoggin’ – When a hooked fish tries swimming straight away or down to get away or hide and bury itself in cover without changing directions and jumping out of the water in an attempt to shake loose of the hook, as in just trying to break clean free with brute force.

Bump the stump – technique by which a lure is retrieved in a manner that brings it into contact with another object so that it ricochets off the object, often generating a reaction strike from a fish

Burn – or Burnin’ – means to retrieve a lure quite fast through the water.

Buzzbait – a lure with a weighted head, similar to a spinnerbait, and a blade that churns the surface (or “buzzes”) as it is retrieved

Buzzing – retrieve for fishing a spinnerbait in which the blades of the lure are bulging the surface of the water


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

Carolina rig – a rigging technique commonly used with soft plastic lures utilizing a swivel and bead to separate the weight (held on the main line and separated from the lure by a swivel) from the hook (at the end of a leader)

Caudal fin – the tail fin of fish

Centerpin Fishing – also called pinning, float fishing or center pin fishing, is a fishing technique which uses a noodle or mooching rod, a centerpin reel and Roe or an artificial fly. The method is used behind boats for steelhead fishing in salt water, or by drifting floats downstream. Directional floats can also be used.

Channel – the main bed in a river or lake originally shaped by natural or man-made forces

Closed-face reel – a fixed spool fishing reel utilizing a conical cover that encloses the spool and helps to control line; commonly used by beginning anglers; also known as a “spincast reel”

Co-angler – An amateur angler who fishes from the back of the professional angler’s boat during a tournament

Comeback lure – a lure intended for use immediately after a fish has struck at and missed a different lure; soft plastic baits are common “comeback lures” for anglers who have just missed bass on a spinnerbait or topwater lure

Community hole – a well-known and frequently fished area where numerous angler have had success

Countdown lure – a lure that sinks in the water at a predictable rate

Cover – an object, such as vegetation, a stump or rock, that creates an ambush point for a predator

Crankbait – a lure, most often made of wood or plastic, designed to imitate a swimming baitfish, crawfish or other forage item; diving crankbaits generally float at rest and are characterized by a plastic or metal bill that allows them to be pulled (“dive”) under the water on the retrieve; lipless crankbaits typically sink and run deepest on a slow retrieve and shallowest on a fast retrieve

Crashing – casting directly into thick vegetation mats or bushes with a forceful, short cast; typically, a heavy, bullet shaped weight is used to break through the cover and pull a worm or other soft plastic lure into the open water below the canopy

Craw worm – soft plastic bait, one half of which emulates a crawfish and the other half of which emulates the shaft of a plastic worm body

Creature bait – a bulky soft plastic bait with several appendages; most popular for flipping, pitching and Carolina rigging

Cusk fishing device A device for storing line in a manner which is not free-running and is securely attached to the device and to which is attached a sinker, weighing at least one ounce, not more than 6 inches above, and independent of, an attached single hook for bait. The weight must rest on the bottom of the lake. The device shall be plainly marked with name and address of the person using it. These devices may only be used on certain approved waterbodies listed on New Hampshire Ice Fishing.

Cycloid scales – smooth, flat, round scales that have concentric lines called circuli, found on trout, herring, and other fish


Dap – to fish with a fly bounced gently on the water

Dapping – a 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. A very little used fishing technique, it’s a method to eliminate drag and present the fly to fish that stay close to the bank of a river

Dads – Crawdads, or replicas of. Because they contain a shell with pinchers, they are also referred to as crawfish or crayfish.

Deadsticking – technique by which a bait is cast and allowed to lie motionless (or with no motion imparted by the angler) for long periods of time

Deep-runner – a crankbait designed to run 10 feet deep or more

Depthfinder – sonar unit used to anglers to locate and identify underwater features, including fish

Depthsounder -sonar unit used to anglers to locate and identify underwater features, including fish

Dink – Slang for any fish that falls below the legal length as defined by your state fishing laws

Doodling — a soft plastic bait fishing technique utilizing a basic Texas rig which has been modified by placing a plastic or glass bead between the sinker and the hook and shaking the rod tip during the retrieve to create noise

Dorsal fin – the fin located on the back of fishes, and in front of the adipose fin, if such is present

Downrigger – a device fitted to a boat that uses a cable and a heavy weight to troll baits and lines at a set depth

Downsize – to scale down tackle or lures for a more finesse approach

Drag – a mechanical device built into a reel that, when engaged, exerts an adjustable range of pressure on the spool to permit a controlled release of fishing line from the reel; a properly utilized drag prevents line from breaking or hooks from pulling out when fish are hooked

Drift Fishing – Using the wind and current, or a trolling motor, to drift along the water with your fishing rods set out.

Drop shotting – a fishing technique whereby a worm hook is attached directly to the line above a sinker; typically, a soft plastic bait is affixed to the hook and the rig is presented more or less vertically

Dropoff – an abrupt change in bottom contour, typically at the juncture of a flat and channel; a ledge


Ebb tide – the outgoing or falling tide

Eddy – A swift swirl of water that forms behind structure in the water, like rocks or wood pilings, due to the natural flow of current.

Electrofishing – fishing by stunning fish with electric shock. As used when checking waters for fish count

Epilimnion — the layer of water above the thermocline

Estuary – sheltered water, often with grass bottom or grassy shorelines, where juvenile fish have shelter, food and a chance to grow


Fan Casting – Making multiple casts sweeping from one side to another in a circular or semi circular patten.

Ferrule , ferrules – the end connections between multi-piece rod pieces. One is solid the other is hollow and the solid end fits inside the hollow end

Finesse fishing – technique by which small and/or slow moving lures are used to generate feeding strikes from lethargic fish; commonly regarded as the opposite of power fishing

Fingerling – a young fish in its first or second year of life

Fish Ladder – a series of pools arranged like steps that fish (salmon or trout) use to move upstream over a dam

Fishfinder – sonar unit used to anglers to locate and identify underwater features, including fish

Fizzing – the practice of inserting a hypodermic needle through the skin of a fish to release air from the fish’s swim bladder; this method is best left to trained personnel to ensure survival of fish caught from deep water; typically, the fish is held underwater during the procedure, and the needle “fizzes” when it enters the swim bladder

Flat – an expanse of bottom with relatively little change in bottom contour or water depth

Flipping – a fixed-line presentation technique invented by Dee Thomas by which a lure (usually a jig or soft plastic bait) is propelled underhand in pendulum fashion to a point a short distance (usually about 15-18 feet) away

Float – Plastic or cork bobber.

Float-and-fly – technique utilizing a long (typically 8 feet and longer) spinning rod, light line, float and small jig to target suspended bass, especially winter smallmouth

Florida rig – soft plastic lure rigged self-weedless with a screw-in style slip sinker

Fluvial – migrating between main rivers and tributaries

Fly-and-rind – a hair jig with small pork rind trailer

Football jig — jig with football-shaped head; popular for fishing deep water structure and cover, especially rocks

Fry – a ‘baby’ fish. Fish in the early stages of development. In trout or salmon it is during this stage the fry is usually less than one year old, has absorbed its yolk sac and is between the alevin and parr stage of development.


Gaff – steel hook of varying sizes, mounted on a pole or stick, used for hooking and lifting into a boat a caught fish.

GPS (Global Positioning System) – electronic devices that use transmissions from an array of satellites to aid in navigation and to show precise position, usually on a chart or map

Gamefish – any fish species that is pursued by anglers primarily for sport purposes and not for its value as table fare

Gill rakers – a series of projections located along the front edge of the gill arch

Grabbling – Hand fishing, noodling.

Grand Slam – To catch three different species of fish in the same outing.

Groundfish a group of fish which includes Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), ocean pout (Zoarces americanus), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), pollock (Pollachius virens), American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides), redfish (Sebastes marinus), white hake (Urophycis tenuis), summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), yellowtail flounder (Pleuronectes ferruginea), winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus), windowpane flounder (Scophthalmus aquosus), and witch flounder (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus).


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

Hair Rig – mainly used in carp angling this is a method of attaching bait where the bait is threaded onto a short thin section of line which hangs from the back or bottom of the hook.

HammerhandleSlang when reffering to a small pike, pickerel or musky.

Hawg — slang term for large bass of any species

Hole jumping – the practice of knowingly fishing a location that was previously discovered to be productive by someone else — usually another competitor in a tournament; it is generally considered to be unethical, though it may not be against any rules

Honey hole – an extremely productive fishing spot

Hook set – the process by which the hook is driven into the mouth of a fish

Hung up – To have your lure or bait caught on something in or out of the water. Sometimes your sinker can also be wedged under water structure like a rock pile.

Hypolimnion – the layer of water below the thermocline

Ice-Out – Period when warm water and warm weather begin to slush and melt iced over water.

Ichthyology – the scientific study of fishes

IGFA – international game fish federation, the headquarters is in Florida USA, and sets standards for fishing tackle and keeps a list of record fish

Impoundment – Body of water formed within a section of a river or creek that has been dammed off, such as lakes and reservoirs.

In-line spinner – a straight-shaft lure with one or more spinner blades attached to the fore and a dressed single or treble hook in the rear

Island – Body of land form within an area of water. Islands are often thought of as being visible above the waters surface, however, there are many islands below the surface which are also referred to as humps.


Jerkbait – a lipped, minnow shaped plug normally retrieved with a jerking motion of the rod tip

Jigging – Technique of dropping the rod tip to point downward, then sweeping the tip upward in a fast or slow motion to bring the lure shooting up in a neurotic fashion. By dropping the rod tip back down the lure is often meant to flutter back downward. Repeat.

Jig-and-pig – the combination of a jig and pork rind or soft plastic trailer typically used to emulate a crawfish

Johnboat – typically a flat bottomed aluminum or wood boat with bench-type seating and commonly used to fishing on small bodies of water

Jumps – Schooling fish that are feeding on baitfish near the surface


Kneel and reel – a presentation and retrieve technique in which the angler kneels in the boat and keeps his rod tip under the water while retrieving a deep diving crankbait, thereby getting maximum diving depth from the lure


Larry– Slang for Largemouth Bass

Lateral line – series of sensory pores opening to the exterior located along the side of fish

Laydown – a shoreline tree that has fallen into the water; also known as a “blowdown”

Leader – An extension of line containing a hook or lure which is attached to the main line.

Ledge – an edge of a flat or gently sloping bottom that is cut by any channel or other feature so as to create a sharp dropoff

Levelwind – feature on a baitcast reel that lays the line evenly across the spool as line is being retrieved

Line tie – the portion of a lure where the line is tied onto it

Lipless crankbait – a sinking crankbait that has no diving lip; its depth is controlled by the speed of the retrieve, angle at which the rod is held, line size and other factors

Lipping – landing a bass by grasping its lower lip between the thumb and fingers and pulling it from the water

Livewell – container used to maintain bass or other baitfish or game fish alive, usually by use of an aeration system

Locking through – the process of passing through navigation locks and dams on a body of water

Loop knot – any of several different knots tied with a fixed loop; these knots are often used in lieu of split rings or snaps to give lures more freedom of movement

Lump – A slang reference to a large Carp.

Lunker – Term used when classifying an exceptionally large sized fish. Most often stated for a largemouth bass.


Mat – vegetation growing from the bottom of a lake or stream that has reached the surface and spread out to create a dense canopy; this cover can provide excellent shelter for bass; mats are typically fished using the pitching and flipping techniques

Match the hatch – mimicking the size and color of insects, baitfish or other prey; a term popularized by fly fishermen targeting trout feeding on insect hatches, but applicable to all types of fishing

Medium runner – a crankbait designed to run 5-10 feet deep

Microjig – any small jig that must be cast with ultralight tackle

Milt – the secretion of a fish for reproduction

Mojo rig – a variation on split shotting utilizing a cylindrical weight held in place on the line by a rubber peg or strands of rubber; a finesse technique typically involving light line and small soft plastic baits

Mossback – a nickname for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)


Neap tide – the tide with the least difference or movement, between the high and low water, happens during the first and last quarter of the moon

Nymph – an aquatic insect during its immature stage of development while underneath the surface of the water

Noodling – Handfishing, fishing bare handed. Most popular for catching catfish, however, other species of fish are also targeted this way too. See catfish noodling to learn more about this crazy technique.


Open Face Reel – A reel without a cover or encasing surrounding the line on the spool, such as a spinning reel.

Operculum – the gill cover on a fish

Outriggers – poles that extends out from a boat to enable several lines to be fished, without tangling


Paddle-tail – soft plastic design with a large, flat tail resembling a paddle

Parr – a stage of development in the life of a salmon and trout between alevin and smolt when the young have developed parr marks and are actively feeding in fresh water

Pattern – the exact set of water conditions such as depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity, currents, etc., which attracts fish to a specific location and to other similar locations all over the same body of water; first defined by Roland Martin in 1969

Pattern fishing – the practice of targeting areas which share the exact set of water conditions such as depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity, currents, etc., which have produced bass at similar locations all over the same body of water

Pectoral fins – the anterior (front) paired fins attached to pectoral (shoulder) girdle

Pegging – An alternative way other than using a stopper to hold a bullet weight in place on fishing line. This consists of breaking off a tooth pick into the head of the sinker.

Pelvic fins – posterior paired fins located in the abdominal position or towards the rear

PFD – Personal floating device, life jacket.

Pharyngeal teeth – teeth located behind the gills and before the oesophagus, and anchored in bone

Pig – A trailer used behind the hook of a jig or even spinnerbaits sometimes.

Pilons – Structure usually constructed of concrete or wood used to support bridges, piers and docks. Also known as pillars.

Pitch-skip – a presentation technique by which a lure is pitched and skips underneath overhanging cover such as a boat dock

Pitching – a underhanded casting method which resembles a modified flipping cast; the bait is swung forward by raising the rod tip, and then allowed to travel forward by free-spooling the line; pitching is most commonly used to present a lure to targets that are just out of range of flipping

Playing the Fish – Reeling a fish in as you wear it down in order to properly land it.

Plug – Any type of artificial swimming lure such as crankbaits, jerkbaits, stick baits, poppers, lipless crankbaits, etc.

Poacher – An individual who takes fish or other species of game against what the laws and regulations allow for.

Poking – a technique in which the angler clears a hole in floating vegetation so that he or she can then present a lure through the hole

Postspawn – the period immediately after the spawn when female bass frequently are exhausted from laying eggs and protecting their beds; the period leading into the summer season

Pork – See Pig above

Predation – hunting and killing another animal for food

Pre-fishing – practicing for a tournament

Presentation – The lure/bait movement, style, color and type you use to entice a fish.

Prespawn – the period shortly before spawning begins when big bass typically invade shallow water and feed voraciously

Punching – technique for fishing heavy matted cover (generally vegetation) with a soft plastic lure by which a slip sinker is pegged to the bait and the bait is cast, flipped or pitched into cover so that the sinker pulls the bait through the cover canopy and to the desired area below


Quiver tip – special type of rod used to detect bites when ledgering. It has a sensitive tip that curves over when the angler has a bite. Quiver tips vary in strength and stiffness which can be changed according to the weather conditions


Reaction baits – lures fished in a way that causes a bass to strike out of reflex or surprise; spinnerbaits, crankbaits and lipless crankbaits are frequently fished in a manner designed to generate reaction bites

Ribbon tail – soft plastic design with a flat, undulating tail resembling a ribbon

Ripping – retrieve technique frequently used for jerkbaits in which the lure is violently and rapidly pulled forward (“ripped”) before being paused

Riprap – rocks piled along bridge abutments and banks of rivers and lakes to prevent erosion

Roe – the eggs of fish

Run ‘n Gun – Moving quickly along the water while making multiple casts and retrieves without spending much time in any one spot. Also moving from one fishing spot to another and to another after just a few casts.


Salmonid – fish of the family Salmonidae that includes salmon and steelhead

School – A small or large group of fish.

Schooling – a group of fish chasing baitfish to the surface, where they feed in groups; also called “jumps”

Set line An unattended line placed in the fresh waters of the state (including through the ice) for the purpose of taking fish, which is not under the direct view and control of the person placing the line.

Setting the Hook – To swing the rod tip in a direction that immediately gathers any slack in the line, forcing the hook to follow and penetrates the fish’ mouth.

Shaky head – a special leadhead jig designed for rigging a worm weedless and used in the shaking technique

Shaking – fishing technique in which a straight-tail worm is threaded onto a plain jighead and shaken in a location where fish are believed to be

Shallow-runner – a crankbait designed to run 5 feet deep or less

Shiner – any of several subspecies of baitfish characterized by silver or golden scales along their sides; size generally runs from 2 to 12 inches

Shoal – a group of fish swimming together

Sight fishing – targeting fish that are visible to the angler

Sinker – Weight attached to fishing line used to get the bait or lure down in the water.

Skipping – a casting method that propels a bait under overhanging cover such as a dock, trees or bushes; the force of the sidearm cast causes the bait to skip over the surface and under the cover

Skunked (Skunk) – Not catching a single solitary fish while fishing.

Slab – A large sized fish, mostly big panfish such as bluegills and crappies are called slabs.

Slack tide – the short period between the ebb and flood tides when the current is at its weakest

Slip shotting – a variation on split shotting utilizing a cylindrical weight held in place on the line by a rubber peg or strands of rubber; a finesse technique typically involving light line and small soft plastic baits

Slip sinker – a weight, usually conical in shape, commonly used when fishing soft plastic baits

Slow Rolling – Technique used by slowly retrieving a lure, most commonly with spinnerbaits in which the lure is retrieved just fast enough to make the blade(s) turn (“roll”) and the lure crawls across the bottom

Smallie – Smallmouth bass

Smolt – a young salmon that is ready to migrate

Snap-set – a hook setting technique in which the hook is set with a quick flip (or “snap”) of the wrist

Snag – When a lure or bait is caught or hung up in some type of structure.

Soft jerkbait – a soft plastic baitfish imitation typically rigged with a wide gap hook and no weight

Sonar – an acronym for SOund, NAvigation and Ranging, the technology which makes “depthfinders” or “fishfinders” possible; often used as a synonym for “depthfinder” or “fishfinder”

Spawn – the time during which bass reproduce by building beds or nests, laying eggs and protecting eggs and fry; the timing of the spawn is related to water temperature and occurs in spring in most parts of the country

Spincast reel – a fixed spool fishing reel utilizing a conical cover that encloses the spool and helps to control line; generally mounted above the reel; commonly used by beginning anglers; also known as a “closed-face reel”

Spinnerbait – a lure characterized by a “V”-shaped wire frame with one or more spinner blades fixed to one of the wire shafts and a weighted hook dressed with rubber, silicone, hair, soft plastic or other material on the other shaft

Spinning reel – a fixed spool fishing reel mounted below the rod and commonly used by anglers when fishing light lines or small lures; also known as an “open-face reel”

Split shot – also called shot is round balls of lead or metal (depending on the size) with a split (cut) halfway through. Line is place in the cut and the shot squeezed together to close the cut, holding the shot on the line. Used to balance the float in the water or to stop the leger from sliding down the line to the hook

Split shotting – a variation on slip shotting utilizing a split shot pinched on the line above the hook; a finesse technique typically involving light line and small soft plastic baits

Spoon – A metal, plastic or wooden lure often manufactured with a metallic finish to imitate a minnow; jigging spoons are straight slabs of metal that are hopped up and down directly beneath the boat where bass are holding in deep water; swimming spoons are lighter and shaped more like a spoon; they are meant for retrieving through shallow water, including weedy areas

Spoon-shaking – technique of retrieving a metal spoon on or near the surface of the water by reeling quickly and jerking the rod tip sharply to imitate a frightened baitfish

Stickbait – a hard or soft lure that is generally long and slender and designed to emulate a baitfish.

Stick ups – Old brush or timber that is slightly exposed above the waters surface.

Stickworm – a slender, cigar-shaped soft plastic bait laden with salt or other materials to make it sink quickly; stickworms are typically Texas- or wacky-rigged and fished without a weight; the lure is cast, allowed to settle briefly, then lifted and allowed to sink again

Still Fishing – Casting or dropping a line normaly with live bait and letting it sit there untill you get a strike.

Stinger hook – an extra hook attached to the back hook of a spinnerbait, buzzbait or other lure designed to catch fish that miss the lure’s main hook; also called a “stinger hook”

Stitching – technique by which a bottom bumping lure is dragged slowly across the bottom by pulling the line with one’s fingers rather than moving the bait with the rod tip or reel

Strike – When a fish attacks, bites, or attempts to bite it’s prey, bait or a lure.

Strike zone – the area around an individual bass in which the fish will strike a lure; if a fish is willing to swim away from its ambush spot to hit a lure, it is said to have a large strike zone

Stroking – a jig fishing technique in which the angler sharply jumps the bait up off the bottom and allows it to fall back on a slack line

Structure – contour changes on the lake’s or stream’s substrate; channels, dropoffs, flats and points are all examples of structure

Suspended – condition used to describe bass that are holding at some point in the water column between the surface and the bottom

Sweep-set – hook-set method in which line is retrieved rapidly at the same time the rod is swept back and to the side

Swimbait – any of a loose group of lures that emulate baitfish and are frequently characterized by their large size in relation to other bass lures; swimbaits may be soft or hard lures, lipped or not lipped and one piece or jointed

Swim bladder – a tough-walled gas-filled sac lying in the upper part of the body cavity of many bony fishes just beneath the vertebral column; its principal function is to offset the weight of heavier tissue such as bone. In some fishes used for sound production or respiration.

Swinging – landing a bass by raising it into the boat or onto the bank with the rod; this practice is generally discouraged if the fish is allowed to fall to the deck of the boat or onto the bank since it could harm the fish and reduce its chances for survival once released

Swivel – swivels join lines where there is a tendency for the line to twist when it is in the water or being retrieved. Swivels can be two way or three way and barrel or a stronger ball-bearing type


Tailrace – the area below a dam, typified by irregular currents and upwellings

Tailspinner – a lure consisting of a slab of lead or other weighted material with a swivel and spinner blade affixed to the rear which turn as the bait falls or is retrieved

Taper – the part of the fly line that gradually decreases in diameter to the hook

Tapered leader – leader that tapers from the thicker to the thinner line, the thinner end is attached to the fly or lure

Terminal tackle – the end gear of the fishing line such as the hook, weights, swivels

Test – The strength at which equipment has been tested to perform at it’s maximum before it becomes weak, most often associated with the strength that fishing line has been tested at per pound before reaching a weakening or breaking point.

Texas rig – a method of rigging a soft plastic in which a conical sinker is threaded onto the line before tying on a hook; the lure is then threaded onto the hook in such a manner that the hook point is concealed in the lure, making it relatively snagless

Thermocline – a distinct layer in the water column in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below; a thermocline may be a permanent feature of the body of water, or it may form temporarily in response to phenomena such as the solar heating of surface water during the day

Tidewater – coastal rivers, streams and lakes on which depth and water flow is affected by tidal movements

Topwater lure – an artificial bait fished across the surface of the water; typically, a floating lure

Trailer – Usually a soft plastic bait added to the back hook at the end of a lure to add to its profile for added attraction for enticing fish, most commonly added to jigs and spinnerbaits.

Trailer Hook – An extra hook added to a lures existing hook. Most often used on buzzbaits and swimbaits when fish are biting just short of the lure.

Treble Hook – A hook with three hook points extended from a single shaft.

Tributary – a creek, stream, or river that feeds a larger stream or river or lake

Trolling – towing a lure or bait behind a moving boat

Trophy Fish – An exceptionally large fish.

Trotline – A long line that has multiple shorter lines with hooks attached across it.

Tube bait — any of a variety of soft plastic lures with a hollow cavity

Tuning – adjusting the line tie or other component of a lure (typically a crankbait or spinnerbait) to alter the running direction or action of the bait

Twitch bait – slang term for jerkbait


Umbrella rig — an array of four or more artificial lures or baits (with or without hooks) cast or trolled by a single rod and reel combination and attached by a wire or other harness; a popular trolling rig for striped bass and other pelagic species


Ventral fin – the fin located on the front of a fish’s abdomen.


Wacky rig – rigging method by which a soft plastic bait is hooked through the middle and fished without a weight

Waders – waterproof boots worn to keep the angler dry, can be chest high, or waist high

Wading – to stand in or transverse a river or stream on foot; most commonly done in shallower waterways

Waking – retrieve technique by which a lure just under the water bulges the surface

Walking the dog – retrieve technique by which the lure moves in a zigzag pattern — like a dog pulling back and forth on a leash; caused by twitching the rod tip and reeling simultaneously in a specific cadence

Water column – the vertical cross section of a water body

Weedguard – a device, usually plastic or wire, affixed to a lure so as to cover the hook point(s), thereby making it relatively snagless

Wet fly – a fly pattern that is used by fly fishermen to imitate creatures below the surface of the water
Wing dam – a man-made barrier that, unlike a conventional dam, only extends partway into a river or stream; typically designed to force water into a fast-moving center channel to reduce the rate of sediment accumulation while slowing water flow and erosion near the riverbanks

Whiskerfish – Slang for Catfish/Bullhead



Yearling – a one year old fish

Yo-yoing – retrieve technique in which the lure is presented vertically in an up-and-down motion; commonly used with jigging spoons or tailspinners


Zebra Muscles – A very invasive species Zebra mussels are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. Adults are 1/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and have D-shaped shells, often with alternating yellow and brownish colored stripes

Zooplankton – Tiny organisms floating in waters that juvenille fish feed on.

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