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  Fishing Slang Index

Let's face it. We anglers have developed quite a bit of "Jive" in our sport's terminology, some of which can be considered an entire language in it's own! Here's a few good ones sent to us by our readers over the years.

  • 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
  • ass 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.


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