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100+ Essential Fishing Terms A to Z

If you’re new to fishing, then you’ve probably come across terms either on fishing forums, blogs, or while having conversations that didn’t make any sense to you. Often, this might leave you confused or leave you feeling out of place.

However, as you progress, it is essential that you learn some fishing terms so that you can make sense of conversations from seasoned fishing pros. Below are the Fishing Terms A to Z. We update our list on a regular basis, so don’t miss out. Also, if you have a question on a fishing term you do not understand, drop us a line and we will include it in our list.



You might have come across this one before. Basically, an angler is someone who fishes using a rod and reel. In other words, you can also refer to fishing as angling.


A common word especially in film production. However, in fishing, it has a different meaning. It is used to define the flexibility of the rod. Commonly, fishing rods are either categorized as fast or slow action.



A pretty common term used to refer something you place on the hook to lure the fish. It could either be maggots, warms, or even small fish. The baits are usually packed in a bait-box.


This involves putting the boat in reverse gear to prevent it from being drifted in the wrong direction. It also helps the boat operator make smoother turns.


Used to refer to the twisted line at the back of a baitcasting reel. This typically happens when the reel is overrun after casting. The tangled fishing line is referred to as a bird’s nest.


It refers to the ground next to the river, lake, or ocean.

Big Chuck

Anglers frequently use this in reference to making a long-distance cast. So, any time you want to send your cast far and wide, then you’ll tell your mates you’re going out for the big chunk.


Drawing a blank means those days when you return from your fishing trips empty-handed. And don’t be sad, it happens even to the best of us.

Blind cast

This means casting in no specific area.


This is a floater or rather a floating device attached to the line to maintain the bait at a specific depth.


It’s made using wire and comes in quite handy during sea fishing. It’s attached to the main line, and its primary purpose is to hold the hook trace out from the main fishing line to prevent tangling.

Butt Pad

A type of protective gear with a belt attached that is worn around the waist to prevent you from hurting yourself with the rod’s butt when struggling with fish in the water.


Catch and Release

Usually, it refers to the act of catching fish and then throwing them back to the water. Most anglers do this as a way of conserving nature.


Sending your lure or propelling a line with bait out into the water.

Cast Arc

The path the rod follows when casting.


A Y-shaped gadget used for throwing bait into the region where the fisherman is targeting.



A mode of fishing where you let the move along with the wind or water currents. This mode comes in quite handy, especially when you are using live bait.


This fishing technique involves luring fish using a fly floating on the water surface. Customarily used for attracting and catching fish that stay close to the riverbanks.

Dead Bait

Dead fish used as bait for predatory fish species.



Mode of fishing that involves the use of electric current to stun the fish.



An electronic device used to detect the presence of fish or other objects under water. Be sure to check out Best Ice Fishing Fish Finder for more on fish finders.

Fly Fishing

A fishing technique that requires a unique fly rod with either live or dummy flies attached to a hook. This method usually is used when catching trout.


Used to refer to the depth of water. Nowadays, most nautical charts are calibrated in fathoms.



This refers to fish species caught for sport. Common gamefish species include the trout, salmon, and sharks. Learn more on International Game Fish Association Website.


A combination of a variety of ingredients most commonly breadcrumbs and other flavorings. Usually, ground-bait is thrown into the water to attract fish.



A curved wire with a pointed end (could be barbed or not) that is attached at the end of the fishing line.


Inshore fishing

Refers to the art of fishing while your boat is closer to the shores.



Fishing bait that is jerked or bounced in water to imitate natural movements and lure fish. The art of bouncing the bait up and down is known as jigging.


Keep net

A net used for keeping fish alive until they are returned to the water.



A weight used in fishing. The art of fishing using a load -in this case, referred to as a ledger- is known as ledgering.

Line bite

When a fish catches or swims into your fishing line.


Artificial bait that is designed to closely resemble small fish, insects, or worms to attract fish.

Live well

A section in a boat that is filled up with water to keep your catch alive.



The main line on the fishing reel.


Offshore Fishing

Boat fishing some distance away from the mainland.


Excessive fishing.


Plumb Depth

Using a string or fishing line with a weight attached on one end to determine the depth of a water body.

PFD (Personal Floatation Device)

A floating cushion or life jacket.



It refers to the fishing pole. Most fishing rods are either crafted from fiberglass, graphite, or wood. They come in different lengths, each customized for different types of fishing techniques.


A mechanical piece that is attached to the rod’s handle. It is used for casting and retrieving the fishing line.



A weight used for sinking the lure into the water. Sinkers come in different designs; one example is the slip-sinker which can be adjusted to various positions across the fishing lines.


A hit from a fish trying to take away the bait or lure.



The general term for fishing gear.


The art of fishing wherein the boat is put at low-speed gear while towing baits or lures.

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