Great List of Fishing Terms


Action—Measure of rod performance that describes the elapse time between flexion and return to straight configuration, ranges from slow to fast, with slow being the most amount of flexion.

Angler—Person using pole or rod and reel to catch fish.

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

Artificial Baits—Lures or flies made of wood, plastic, metal, feathers, or similar inert material.

Aquatic insects: Water-bred insects which spend all or part of their life in water; e.g., midges, stoneflies, mayflies

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

Bait additive—Any liquid or powder used to color or flavor a bait.

Bait colorings—Various powder and liquid dyes are available to color a variety of baits.

Baitfish—Small fish often eaten by predators.

Bait flavorings.—There are hundreds of different concentrated liquid bait flavorings.

Barbed hook—A hook with a barb cut into it near the point that helps keep the bait on the hook and ensures that 
fish stay hooked.

Barbless hook—A hook with no barb, that miminizes damage to delicate baits, ensures full penetration of the 
point into the mouth of a fish, and allows easy removal of the hook without damaging the fish.

Bent hook rig—A carp rig that originally featured a hook with a bent shank, which improved the hook-up rate of self-hooking rigs.

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

Bloodworm—The small, red larvae of midges, found in the silt at the bottom of most waters.

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

C&R—Catch and Release.

CPR—Catch, Photograph, Release.

Cabbage—Any of several species of weeds, located above the surface or underwater.

Caddis—An insect of the order Trichoptera.

Carolina Rig—A deep-water assembly comprised of a heavy slip sinker, plastic bead, barrel swivel, 16- to 18-inch leader, hook, and soft-plastic bait such as a worm, lizard, or crawfish. Rigged weedless with the hook buried in the body of the bait, this combination is excellent for fishing ledges, points, sandbars, and humps.

Casters—The pupae of large maggots, widely used as a bait for most species of fish, often in conjunction with hemp and groundbait. Casters exposed to the air until they become crisp, dark floaters are best for the hook.

Catchability—The fraction of a fish stock which is caught by a defined unit of the fishing effort.

Cover—Cover refers to anything that a fish can hide in, behind or underneath. That includes weeds, rocks, trees, boat docks, boats, stumps, anything in the water that improves their chances to ambush unsuspecting baitfish.

Creel limit—The number of fish an angler can keep as set by local or state regulations.

Critically balanced bait—A hookbait, usually a boilie, whose buoyancy is such that it perfectly balances the weight of the hook, to minimize resistance to a taking fish.

Dropshot Rig—A hook such as the Yamamoto series 53 Splitshot hook is normally tied onto the main line with a 

Palomar knot. The tag end of the knot is left anywhere from 12″ to 24″ inches long. Once the knot is tied, the tag end is threaded through the hook eye in the direction that keeps the hook point positioned up. A swiveling style of sinker is then attached to the dangling tag end of the Palomar knot anywhere from 12″ to 24″ below the hook. The bait is then nose-hooked.

Eyed/spade-end hooks—Small hooks (size 16 or below) tend to be spade end, while larger sizes tend to be eyed. A spade is lighter than an eye for the same size hook, making the hook lighter and improving bait presentation with small baits.

Fancast—A systematic series of casts to a specific area of water.

Finesse Fishing—An angling technique characterized by the use of light tackle—line, rods, reel and artificial baits (often tube worms, grubs, or other small-sized soft-plastic lures); often productive in clear, fairly uncluttered water.

Fish—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.

Fishing Effort—The total fishing gear in use for a specified period of time. When two or more kinds of gear are used, they must be adjusted to some standard type. 2. Effective fishing effort.

Fisherman—One who engages in fishing for sport or occupation.

Fishhook—A barbed or barbless hook used for catching fish.

Fish oil—Various kinds of fish oil can be used to flavor deadbaits, pastes and boilies.

Flavor enhancer—A bait additive, usually in liquid form, designed to enhance the attractiveness of a bait flavoring.

Flipping—The term “Flipping” comes from the method of presentation that you use when fishing a jig or worm in heavy shallow cover.

Florida Rig—An advancement over the toothpick-pegging method, Florida rig sinkers are molded around a thin Teflon tube, and a corkscrew wire that screws in to the nose of a soft bait. Slip the sinker on the main line, tie the hook directly to the main line, and screw it into the bait. This provides the ultimate in weedless and snagless presentation for big bass in heavy cover.

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.

Grub—A short, plastic type of worm usually rigged with a weighted jig hook.
Internet—The most widely used international communications computer network. To get access to the Internet, you need a modem or a connection to a LAN with Internet access. “What does that have to do with fishing?” you ask. Simple, that's how you got here.

Jerkbait—plugs that move with no built-in action of their own; any action comes from the fisherman's maneuvering the rod and line. The soft bodied baits are not worked so hard as their design requires a much less vigorous twitch or “jerk”.

Jig—a hook with a leadhead that is usually dressed with hair, silicone, or plastic.

Jig-N-Pig—Combination of a leadhead jig and pork rind trailer; among the most effective baits for attracting trophy-size bass.

Larva—Refers to the subsurface stage of development of an aquatic insect.

Lipless Crankbaits—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.

Lobworm—A large garden worm that can be used whole or in sections on the hook, especially for eels, chub, tench, carp, barbel, bream and roach, or chopped up for use as feed.

Maggots—Large maggots, the larvae of bluebottles, are the most commonly used bait in coarse fishing.

Mealworms—Small, wiry grubs that can be an effective hookbait, especially for roach.

Microbarbed hook—A hook with a tiny barb to minimize damage to the mouth of a fish and to baits such as maggots.

Minnow—A shoal fish found in running water but rarely exceeding 7.5 cm (3 in) in length. Minnows are regarded as a nuisance by most anglers, but make effective livebaits or deadbaits for perch, eels and chub.

Nymphs—Flies made to sink below the surface of the water and imitate immature insects

Offset hook—A hook with the point bent at a slight angle to the shank. If you lay this kind of hook down, it will not sit flat.

Outpoint hook—A hook with the point curved slightly away from the shank.

Paternoster rig—A rig in which hooklength branches from the main line, rather than being a continuation of it.

Presentation—A collective term referring to choice of type of lure, color, and size; structure targeted; amount of disturbance a bait makes when entering the water; and retrieval technique, speed, and depth used to catch fish.

Redworm—Small (2.5-5 cm/1-2 in) red worm found in compost and manure heaps.

Round-bend hook—Hooks with round bends have a wider gape for large baits such as bread, worms, luncheon meat and sweetcorn.

Sea fish—Various sea fish, including sprats, sardines, herrings, smelts and mackere as baits for pike.

Shad—Any of several cluepeid fishes that have a rather deep body.

Skirt—Usually a rubber or vinyl addition to a lure that gives it action and texture

Slugs—Large black slugs are a good bait for chub, especially when freelined.

Soft Jerkbait—A plastic jerkbait.

Splitshot Rig—Knot a hook to the end of your line, bait up and pinch one or a few split shot 18″ to 24″ inches above the bait.

Soft Bottom—River bottoms which are comprised of soft material such as silt, mud, or muck.

Spinnerbait—A spinnerbait is a hard lure generally consisting of a large single hook, a lead head, a rubber or vinyl skirt, wire and a spinning blade. These are one of the most versatile of all the lures made for bass fishing. They can be buzzed along the surface, worked with a steady or erratic retrieve at any depth and slowly crawled along the bottom with the blade just barely turning.

Success (of fishing)—Catch per unit of effort.

Tail—The length of line, including the hooklength, between the hook and a leger or paternoster.

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.

Texas Rig—The method of securing a hook to a soft-PVC plastic bait—worm, lizard, crawfish, by burying the hook point into the body of the lure. The “Texas rig” is probably the most popular and most recognized method of fishing plastic worms. This rig consists of a bullet shaped sinker (of any size), a single hook (called a Sproat, 
Offset or Worm hook). This rig can be used in any depth of in any type of cover. The type of plastic bait that you attach is usually a plastic worm or lizard of some size.

Texas Rigged Worms—The most popular worm-fishing technique, but also the most difficult to master. In this rig, the hook is threaded through the tip of the worm and the point is turned back into the head of the worm to make it weedless, meaning the point is not exposed and will not get snagged in the weeds. When fishing in heavy cover, you can peg the slip sinker by inserting a toothpick through the hole of the sinker. This will keep the sinker from hanging up, and will increase your feel of the lure. To prevent the worm from sliding down the hook shank, push the eye of the hook down into the plastic worm, spear a 501 b test piece of monofilament fishing line through both the tip of the worm and the hook eye and trim the ends of the monofilament.

Texposed—A Texas rigged plastic bait that has the point of the hook going through the plastic, thus exposing the point of the hook. This is a good rig to use in relatively brush or weed free water conditions.

Trailer Hook—A trailer in fishing terms is an extra piece of plastic that you attach to the end of the hook of your spinnerbait or jig. It makes your bait look bigger and gives more action. A trailer hook is an extra single hook that you attach to your lure (more commonly a spinnerbait) if the bass are striking at the skirt of the bait and are missing the main hook.

Trigger—The sight, sound, smell, taste, texture, or vibration of a lure which entices a fish to strike.

Unpegged Texas Rig—A conical sinker is allowed to slide freely on the main line, with the hook tied directly to the main line. Optionally use a bead. The sinker will jackhammer constantly against the bead and make a tiny clicking noise that can attract fish at times. One difficulty is an unpegged sinker can slide far up the line on the cast, making for inaccurate casts and imprecise presentations. An unpegged sinker can also slide far down the line and get your rig stuck in snaggy cover. For more control over an unpegged sinker, you can contain it on a short 12 to 24″ leader tied to a swivel. This gives you the desirable unpegged lure movement (and bead-clicking option) while at the same time, the short leader gives you better control over the cast and presentation.

Water Dog—Any of several large American salamanders.

Wacky Rig—In relatively open water, simply tie a hook such as the Red Octopus to your line, and thread the hook straight through the middle of a slanky bait such as a Senko or worm. In some cases, to get a thin bait deeper quicker, you may want to string a very small bullet sinker to slide freely on the line above the hook.

Weightless Rig—The purest form of rigging, and most deadly with the Senko. No sinker is used and the hook can be tied directly to the main line. Optionally, tie the hook to a 12″ to 24″ inch leader tied to a free-turning swivel that dissipates the line twist which often occurs with unweighted soft baits.

Worming—The act of fishing with a plastic worm, lizard, crawfish, or similar bait. A soft thin PVC plastic bait that is in the shape of your garden variety earthworm. However the shape is about the only thing that resembles them. Their sizes range from about 3 inches to over twelve inches! Their colors are every color imaginable and unimaginable. You can fish these as topwater, using floating worms or on the bottom using any number of methods.

Yolk Sac—In embryos and early fish larvae, a bag-like ventral extension of the gut containing materials. It nourishes the growing fish until it is able to feed itself.