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Thread: Saltwater Fishermans Slang

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Saltwater Fishermans Slang

    I posted this thread many years ago back when this site was Just thought I'd bring it back for fun. Feel free to contribute your own slang....

    • 1st Deck = Senior Deckhand if there are two working a boat. JapanRon
    • aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! = means you hooked a fish - Yellow fever
    • Albies = Albacore - Jeff
    • ALLISON = 200+lb yellowfin - buzznfmf
    • anchor drift = when your anchor drags - Yellow fever
    • *** kicked = when a fish tires you out more then you tire him out - Yellow fever
    • baby killer = someone who keeps small fish - Yellow fever
    • Backside, The = Seaward side of Catalina or ???(JapanRon)
    • Ballywhoseyodaddy = Ballyhoo - DUSTYUCF
    • Barelycuda = small or short barracuda - Ken Schnorr
    • barn door = large halibut - popelink
    • Barney = a term used to describe an angler who claims know everything but can't get hung. The term came from "The Andy Grifith Show" Barney Five claimed to know everything but was an idiot instead. - tunakllr
    • Barries = Barracuda - Jeff
    • Bendo = when you hang a fish - Yellow fever
    • Bird's Nest = Line overrun on the spool. (JapanRon)
    • bit off = the fish bit through your line - Yellow fever
    • Boil = Topwater disturbance caused by big fish chasing little fish. - Jeff
    • Boneheads = Bonito.(JapanRon)
    • Bones = Bonito - Jeff
    • Bounce = Haul a fish over the rail without assistance.(JapanRon)
    • brail = to throw net fulls of chum at a time, also a kind of bait scoop - Yellow fever
    • Breezers = Fish that are just swimming through the area. Not necessarily feeding, just teasing. - Jeff
    • Broomstick = A short really stiff rod that has little or no bend (JapanRon)
    • Brown Cod = may not want to post this one! head use with not enough current for dispersal. - Ken Schnorr
    • brownie = herring or tom cod thats used for bait - Yellow fever
    • Bucket Mouth = Usually what one would call a really big bass. JapanRon
    • Bull Bass = Big Calicos (used only in San Diego??) - Jeff
    • bull kelp = the thick base of a kelp stringer - Yellow fever
    • Bush = Kelp Paddy - Jeff
    • Butts = Halibut. JapanRon
    • Button-down = Tighten down your drag.(JapanRon)
    • Buzz Saw = getting cut off by another line crossing yours, person not following their fish, seen on many albacore and tuna trips - Ken Schnorr
    • Candy = The 'preferred' baitfish, usually live squid. - Jeff
    • captainidis = when a guy first gets his licinse and tries to talk and act like hes the sh$% - Yellow fever
    • Cattle boat = An overcrowded open-party sportfishing boat. "Wow, those guys are packed on like cattle!" - Jeff
    • chewed = getting bit - Yellow fever
    • chewing = fish are biting - Yellow fever
    • Chicken = small dorado - buzznfmf
    • Chicken = A sea gull; especially one that ate your hook. "Look, I caught some chicken!" - Jeff
    • Chicken of the Sea = Seagull(JapanRon)
    • Chovies = Anchovies. - Jeff
    • Chummer = Seasick person. - Jeff
    • Come Unbuttoned = Fish comes off the hook.(JapanRon)
    • Coffee grinder = spinning reel. - Ken Schnorr
    • croaker = white seabass - Yellow fever
    • Cross their Eyes = Strong hook Set.(JapanRon)
    • Cured = Bait that have serenity.(JapanRon)
    • Daisy Chain = A bunch of teasers or feathers linked together and trolled. JapanRon
    • Dead-heads = Those scraggly, un-shaved "friends" of the deck-hands that get to ride on the boat for free. Often seen hogging the best corner of the boat to fish on and always getting the "primo" baits from the guy on the tank. They are not considered as paying customers, just dead (extra) weight. - Jeff
    • desert = no fish for miles - Yellow fever
    • Dikes = Cutters and or pliars.(JapanRon)
    • Dinies = Small sardines. - Jeff
    • Dinks = Little fish. - Jeff
    • Dinos = Large sardines. - Jeff
    • Dodo = Dorado - Dale Vaughan
    • Dog = Seal - Yellow fever
    • Domes = Area out in front of San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, where the reactors look like big "domes". Dolly Pardon? - Jeff
    • DOORMATT = large flounder/hallibut - buzznfmf
    • downhill current = when the current is going toward mexico - Yellow fever
    • Drag = Two definitions here. And no, one of them is not Dennis Rodman. This could be referred to as the braking mechanism in your reel or the art of trolling, which is simply dragging lures behind the boat. - Jeff
    • dragging = when the anchor doesnt hold - Yellow fever
    • Dropper Loop = The "dropper loop" is a name for the type of knot used on multiple hook setups, or "rock-cod gangions". It is just a series of small loops tied inline about 1 ft. apart with a weight at the bottom. I like using this setup for deep water because it does not twist the line. Jeff.
    • Drop the Hook = Set the anchor.(JapanRon)
    • dumped = when you loose a fish - Yellow fever
    • Fathom = 6 foot of depth.(JapanRon)
    • Farmer = One who constantly loses fish. Don't know how this one came about. Any help? - Jeff

      From Jeff Spira: with regards to your "Farmer" section, I've heard it used as a verb "You farmed it.", or "I farmed three before I finally boated this one." when someone loses a fish. I don't get the metaphor either.

      The way I heard about the term "farmer" came from a old crusty skipper who watched the passengers on his boat while they fished. Having nothing better to do on slow days, he sized them up based on the way they looked and their obvious skill - or the lack thereof - and would then make his sarcastic comments to the crew as to what kind of job that person probably did - like "college boy" or "ditch-digger". Throughout history, a farmer was a lowly peasant that had absolutley no talent, no worth. He was the bottom of the barrel in society and has been until this century. He simply stuck a seed in the ground and waited for it to grow. No rocket science needed there. So "Farmer" was the insult to the person that theskipper deemed "stupid " or "hopeless".

      John "JB" Butler
    • Feathers = Formally Japan Feathers now all kinds of bird clothes.(JapanRon)
    • Firecrackers = Small Yellowtail - Jeff
    • Fish heads = What's left after a sea dog gets a hold of it! - Brian Cyr
    • Flats = Huntington Flats. Sandy-bottom area located 1-3 miles off Huntington Beach. - Jeff
    • Flattie = Halibut. - Jeff
    • Floats or floated = refering to squid when it comes all the way to the top of the water to spawn - Yellow fever
    • Floater = rockfish gangion floating to surface from bloated fish or single rockfish that came unhooked and floated to surface. - Ken Schnorr
    • Foaming = Lots of big fish feeding heavily upon lots of little fish. The topwater disturbance is so great it creates a "foam" on top of the water. - Jeff
    • Footballs = Little tuna. - Jeff
    • Fork or Forktail = Yellowtail - Jeff
    • free gaff = to gaff a fish thats not hooked - Yellow fever
    • Freespool = Let the spool run free with thumb pressure.(JapanRon)
    • Fresh Dead = If no live squid, fresh dead squid is second best (JapanRon)
    • fresh one!!!!! = yelled out when you hook up on bait or jig.... not trolling - popelink
    • Fried = Burned up the reel's drag washers.(JapanRon)
    • Frisco style = when you snag a fish in the butt - Yellow fever
    • Frontside = Used when describing the side of an Island (i.e. Catalina) facing the mainland.

    • galley ***** = the cook - Yellow fever
    • Galley Bite = When you order a burger in a slow bite and as soon as its ready, the action comes alive.. - Ken Schnorr
    • Galley run = when boat makes a long run to a new spot usually for a good reason, but sometimes people complain. But either way the galley business always picks up. - Ken Schnorr
    • gar = barracuda - Yellow fever
    • Get on the Horn = Usually means to get on the radio to other skippers (JapanRon)
    • Getting Worked = When a large fish on heavy line is kicking your ***. - tunakllr
    • Go'in Out = Heads up Someones casting out.(JapanRon)
    • Goat = large male sheepshead. - Ken Schnorr
    • golden gobbler = tom cod - Yellow fever
    • Gorrillas = Big tuna. - Jeff
    • green stuff = cold or dirty water - Yellow fever
    • Greenies = Small 4" or 5" bait(not anchovey)(JapanRon)
    • Grumps = Big calico or sand bass. Too tough to eat, should be released.
    • Hali = Halibut. JapanRon
    • HAMMERED = violent strike/tipsey angler - buzznfmf
    • Handoff = What happens if you can't handle a fish.(JapanRon)
    • HANG = structure - buzznfmf
    • head shot = when you gaff a fish in the head so you dont hurt the meat - Yellow fever
    • Helmet = Poor Fishing!!! - Dale Vaughan
    • Hitchhiker = ling cod hanging onto small rockfish all the way to surface. - Ken Schnorr
    • Home Guard = A Fish whose species usually migrates decides to stay in an area. Example: Home guard yellowtail at Catalina (JapanRon)
    • Hoo'ed = when you feel a quick jerk then nothing, and reel in a cut-off line. bit off by a wahoo, but I use it with barracuda also. - Ken Schnorr
    • HOO = wahoo - buzznfmf
    • Hook = Anchor.(JapanRon)
    • hook up!!!!! = yeeled out when you get a positive jig strike trolling - popelink
    • Horse = Bringing in a fish without giving it a chance to fight. JapanRon
    • Hot Rail = Area where fish are being followed.(JapanRon)
    • Hot Stick = Good or catching fisherman.(JapanRon)
    • Hung = as in hooked up with a big fish. Not to brag, but I'm "hung". -RHOLLO
    • Iron = On the Iron i.e. caught on a metal jig (JapanRon)
    • island mackeral = blue perch - Yellow fever
    • jag = barracuda mark on the fish finder - Yellow fever
    • Japan Feathers = Old style lure with a weighted bullet shaped head, red glass eyes, and feathers which can be jigged or trolled (JapanRon)
    • jig = lure - popelink
    • Jig Stick = Long Rod used to get way past others on the boat.(JapanRon)
    • Jig Strike/Stop = The boat will usually hunt/troll and stop on a strike.(JapanRon)
    • kelps = kelp paddies - Yellow fever
    • Knot = equal to mph.(JapanRon)
    • Laguna Tuna = A small mackerel.(JapanRon)
    • lead = sinker - Yellow fever
    • Leeward Side of something (island) sheltered from a predominate wind. JapanRon
    • LEMONFISH = cobia - buzznfmf
    • Limited Load = Your guess is as good as mine.(JapanRon)
    • LINESIDES= STRIPED BASS - Steve Suhrbier
    • LING= cobia - buzznfmf
    • Live Line = Send a live bait out without little or know weight.(JapanRon)
    • Locked Down = Drag is tightened as fas as possible.(JapanRon)
    • Logs = Big Barracuda. - Jeff
    • Longfins = Albacore. - Jeff
    • Low Bridge = what good casters say before they start their backcast (JapanRon)
    • LUNKER = HUGE TROUT OR BIG BASS - Steve Suhrbier
    • Mack Attack = Mackerel eating every bait thrown making it impossible to catch targeted species. - Jeff
    • Macks = Mackerel.
    • Make bait = Catching live bait yourself as opposed to buying it. - Jeff
    • Mangler = Idiot that doesnt look behind before casting his jig. Watch out for this guy, unless you want your nose pierced for free. - Jeff
    • Marks = marks indicating fish or schools of fish on the Meter i.e. fish finder (JapanRon)
    • Masterbaiter = the guy who stands on the tank chumming - Dan Lynch.
    • Meatball = small schools of baitfish that were chummed and regrouped into a small pack. - Ken Schnorr
    • Meat Stick = A big, heavy, long rod to get down and dirty (JapanRon)
    • meter = fish finder - Yellow fever
    • meter marks = fish marks on the fishfinder - Yellow fever
    • Mexican Flag = A jig or feathers that have the same colors as the United States of Mexico. (red, green, and white) JapanRon
    • Mossbacks = Yellowtail. - Jeff
      - This is usually a "large yellowtail" being caught in an area that he shouldn't be in or being caught in the winter months. - Brian Cyr
    • Nervous Water = Surface water that is ruffeled with bait activity.(JapanRon)
    • nobody home = refers to a kelp paddie with no fish on it - Yellow fever
    • Nugget = A nice spot of fish seen on the meter. Usually tuna. - Eric C. Meins
    • Nuked Fish = S.D. Bay Bass - Dale Vaughan
    • OFFERINGS = anything over the side as gifts to the fishgods - buzznfmf
    • On the Iron = Caught on an iron jig.(JapanRon)
    • On the Kite = When tuna fishing, a trolled bait is sometimes suspended from a kite (JapanRon)
    • Paddy = Floating Kelp. Sometimes lots of fish hiding underneath. - Jeff
    • Peanuts = refers to small albies or sometimes tuna under 5lbs. - tunakllr
    • Pin = Put a hook in a bait (JapanRon)
    • Pinheads = Tiny baitfish, usually die immediatley after being hooked. - Jeff
      Hi. Saw your site and noticed that pinheads was used to describe a small dead bait fish. When I used to work for H&M back when I was younger, Pinheads (a.k.a. Sea Rats) were the people (usually younger scraggly kids like myself) that got to fish for free providing they helped clean the boat on the way home after the days catch. Just thought I'd let you know. I know most of this stuff is not going to make it into Merriam Websters, but hey what the heck, that's why we call it slang.

      Thanks for you consideration and keep up the good work on your site.

      Nick Fernandes (Fernanz)
      H&M Sportfishing Deckhand 1987-1991
    • plastic or rubber = swim baits - Yellow fever
    • poacher = someone who is fishing in your chum line or on a spot you found or something - Yellow fever
    • POOLFISH = what you tell a green angler he's fighting,when he's obviously hung on the bottm - buzznfmf
    • popped off = hook pulled out of his mouth - Yellow fever
    • Port = Left (same number of letters as port) side of the vessel viewed from the stern looking toward the bow. JapanRon
    • Professional Over-run = Bird's Nest.(JapanRon)
    • Pussgut = sand bass - Dale Vaughan
    • Rats = Little yellowtail. - Jeff
    • Rattlesnake = Sculpin - Joe Adler
    • re anchor = captain screwed up and missed the spot - Yellow fever
    • Regular = Often a paying customer as opposed to a deadhead. (JapanRon)
    • rhinos or trout = big sardines - Yellow fever
    • Rigs = Offshore oil platforms. - Jeff
    • Rip Lips = over zealous hook set (JapanRon)
    • Ripped = This happens when a fish has hit you on the run and gets off before you can set the hook. i.e That fish really ripped me. Someone else it might be short for having your bait ripped-off. JapanRon
    • ROCK = striped bass - buzznfmf
    • rocked = when a fish breaks your line on a rock - Yellow fever
    • rolled = when your bait dies - Yellow fever
    • Run and Gun = Go real fast chasing bait or birds and casting to fish.(JapanRon)
    • Salad = snagging and bringing in kelp or other plantlife. - Ken Schnorr

    • Sawed Off = Line cut by the hull, anchor rope or idiot.(JapanRon)
    • SBI = Santa Barbra Island - Yellow fever
    • Scooters = Barracuda (JapanRon) Haven't heard this one in a while!
    • Scrambled Egg = A jig or feathers that have the color of.... you guessed it scrambled eggs (yellow, white, and brown and sometimes a little red). JapanRon
    • screaming = refers to reel with a clicker on or strong current - Yellow fever
    • Sea Dog = Seal -- or sea lion. Those fish-robbing dogs! - Jeff
    • Sea Chicken = Seagull - Jeff
    • Sewer Trout = TOM COD IN THE SANTA MONICA BAY (Doc Daddy)
    • Shoe = Horseshoe Kelp. Located 3-5 miles off Long Beach breakwall. - Jeff
    • short bit = when you get bit on the iron but dont hook the fish - Yellow fever
    • Sinker Dunker = in-experienced angler who just drops his rig in and ends up with J.P.(Jackpot) fish - Dale Vaughan
    • skiff = private boater - Yellow fever
    • Skips = Those little 17-21 foot trailer boats that are barely capable of fishing offshore waters. Often times seen 'skipping' across the water, chasing the sportfishing boats. Also short for skipjack; a worthless, pesky little tuna. - Jeff
    • SKUNKED = fishless angler/boat - buzznfmf
    • slab = all the meat off one side of the fish - Yellow fever
    • Slammed! = getting hooked on a fish. From: "Gilbert Gonzalez"
    • SLAMMER = large bluefish - buzznfmf
    • Slammer A refrigerator hold or fast freeze fish locker on tuna or long range boats. JapanRon
    • slide = dropping a bait or lure in the water before the boat stops moving on a jig strike - Yellow fever
    • Slime- = barracuda - Yellow fever
    • Slimestick = barracuda (JapanRon)
    • Smoked = A fish took the bait on the run and you lost it.(JapanRon)
    • SMOKER = large hoo - buzznfmf
    • SNAG = structure - buzznfmf
    • Snaggle Tooth = Sheepshead.(JapanRon)
    • SNAKE = small hoo - buzznfmf
    • Snake bit = and/or "got B.O." when you don't get any bites and everyone around you is hooking up. - Ken Schnorr
    • Spooled = All the line has been stripped from the reel. Panic Time! - Jeff
    • Spotties = Spotted Bay Bass. JapanRon
    • Squirt Gun = Squid - Ken Schnorr
    • Squirters Live squid. JapanRon
    • Starboard = Right side of the vessel viewed from the stern looking toward the bow. JapanRon
    • steel kelp = oil rigs - Yellow fever
    • stick or gig = gaff - Yellow fever
    • stinky pinkey = old dead squid - Yellow fever
    • String = Fishing line
    • Tails = Yellowtail. - Jeff
    • Tangler = An unhappy angler trying to fish aboard an overcrowded boat. - Jeff
    • the island = Catalina - Yellow fever
    • the wall = breakwall - Yellow fever
    • Thumbburn = 'Thumb the spool' at the wrong time and and your thumb will fry (JapanRon)
    • ticket captains licinse - Yellow fever
    • TIDERUNNER = 10+lb weakfish - buzznfmf
    • TOAD = oyster cracker - buzznfmf
    • TOADS = HUGE TROUT - Steve Suhrbier
    • TRASH = undesirable catch - buzznfmf
    • Tube Float Tube (fishing, anglers). JapanRon
    • Tubes = Squid. JapanRon
    • Tuna Shuffle = Same as tuna two-step. JapanRon
    • TUNA TWO-STEP = One of the most important phrases for cattleboat fishing in open water. sure u kno what it means.Good fishin, Michael Tomaszewski
    • turd rollers = sand bass - Yellow fever
    • uphill current = current heading toward oragon - Yellow fever
    • wad = a solid mark on the fish finder - Yellow fever
    • Whiskers Catfish. JapanRon
    • Wide-open = Drop a bait into the water, catch a fish. - Jeff
    • Windward Side of something (island) exposed directly to a predominate wind. JapanRon
    • WIPER = striped bass hybrid - buzznfmf
    • Yak Kayak (fishing, anglers). JapanRon
    • Yellows = I use this one a lot and what's worse is it could be refering to either yellowtail or yellowfin tuna. NOT yellowfin croaker. - Jeff
    • Yo-Yo = Heavy iron speed retrive for deep fish. - tunakllr
    • Zzzzzzzzz = The sound your reel makes after your bait is slammed at 50 mph by a hungry tuna. Hookup! Yeah baby!!!.... - Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Where the fish are


    Thanks for reposting this. I wanted to find this post way back. I guess I forgot.

    BTW, what happened to JapanRon?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Cya!=you had a good fish on,and farmed it!started hear that on the City of Redondo,over 40yrs ago.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Rat Beach


    Good list, some funny ones.
    Green Carp = Large mouth Bass.
    Skinny = shallow water in the surf.
    Beans = Corbina
    Pancake = small halibut

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by DockRat View Post
    Good list, some funny ones.
    Green Carp = Large mouth Bass.
    Skinny = shallow water in the surf.
    Beans = Corbina
    Pancake = small halibut
    Roster Tail Ted = Inconsiderate boater who feels the need for speed across a small fishing lake.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by DockRat View Post
    Good list, some funny ones.
    Green Carp = Large mouth Bass.
    Skinny = shallow water in the surf.
    Beans = Corbina
    Pancake = small halibut
    Thanks for the props D/R,,,,,,,,,,Green carp,,i coin,d that one 3 yrs ago.

    However,,,,,,,,,,,abought that YELLOW FEVER term,,,,,,,,,is it then just generic for screwd in some way?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by noleash View Post
    Roster Tail Ted = Inconsiderate boater who feels the need for speed across a small fishing lake.
    Oops, these are saltwater slang terms not freshwater!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003


    Here are a few more that come to mind.

    Sport Coat-
    Calico bass.
    Personal Best or PB-
    Largest fish an angler has caught which is usually species specific.
    Jackpot or heaviest fish of the day.
    Green Back- Green back mackerel.
    Saba- Japanese word for mackerel commonly used by anglers.
    Sab- Shortened Slang Japanese word for mackerel commonly used by anglers.
    Aji- Japanese word for Spanish Mackerel commonly used by anglers.
    - Mackerel.
    Fly Line- Fishing a bait weight less.
    Chicken Bone- Sand bass.
    Charmin Grouper- Sand Bass (Charmin meaning the popular toilet paper brand).
    Cookie- Galley cook.
    Swing- Hook set..
    Strike- Missed hookset.

    Also a few fishing phrases.

    Roll em or troll em- Meaning wind up your lines the boat is making a move.
    Never leave fish for fish- Meaning if your catching fish don't the fish biting to look for other fish you may never find.
    If the wind is in your face your in the right place but if the wind hits your back you'll go home with an empty sack- Meaning always been on the windward side of the boat while drifting if you're on the leeward side of the boat you won't catch anything but if your on the windward side you will get a sack full.
    Caught em looking- Refers to a fish that is hooked in the eye.
    A swing and a miss- Referred to as a missed hook set.
    Got caught sleeping- When a fish takes strips someones bait and gets away before the person has a chance to set the hook or react.
    No angles no tangles- Stay in front of your line (no angles) keep it straight in front of you to avoid tangling the people around you..
    Last edited by jerryG; 08-23-2014 at 01:41 AM.

  9. #9


    Elvis... Mako shark

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Zarn View Post
    Elvis... Mako shark
    I heard this expression this year a couple of times, "Elvis is on the boat." Meaning they just landed a Wahoo. That would be a new expression because they never caught any Wahoo in US water before 2014. I don't count the Wahoo caught in the harbor a couple of years before that. (I think it was a set up fish)

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