Glossary of Fishing Terms

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A deep-water, bottom-feeding fish.

Spotted cabrilla is a Pacific Coast species of sea bass.

An important aquatic insect, along with the mayfly and stonefly, for trout fly-fishers.

Refers to calico bass, a Pacific Coast saltwater species, and properly called kelp bass. Also known as black crappie.

California rig
A method of deep-water fishing in which a plastic worm at the end of a leader trails behind a heavy sinker.

cane pole
A pole of natural cane, often made from Calcutta or Tonkin bamboo, used for fishing. No reel is used; the line is tied to the pole.

cane rod
A common term that refers to a fly rod constructed from split sections of Tonkin bamboo.

Fishing with a cane pole. See doodlesock and doodlesocking.

A style of hook used in long-shank form for cricket and worm fishing. Do not use unless specifically mentioned.

Carolina rig
A special rig in which an exposed or hidden hook is used with a soft plastic lure. The lure is placed 2 to 3 feet behind an egg sinker and swivel. Used primarily for deep fishing with heavier weights than the Texas rig.

A member of the minnow group, introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, common throughout the country. Typically refers to common carp originally from Europe and not grass carp or other Asian carp, which are restricted or prohibited in many areas.

The throwing of a lure or bait by means of a fishing rod, reel and line.

cast net
A circular bait-gathering net with a drawstring closure, attached to a line and thrown to capture bait.

Fish that live as adults in fresh water and spawn in salt water, such as eels. See anadromous.

The practice of angling in which fish are caught and immediately released unharmed. Required in some waters by state laws. Voluntarily practiced by anglers on all species, but principally trout and bass in fresh water, billfish and big-game species in salt water.

Includes blue, flathead, channel, white and yellow species.

To fish for any of the catfish.

caudal fin
The tail fin.

center line
A real or imaginary line equidistant from both sides of a boat.

chain pickerel
One of three species of pickerel; small members of the pike family.

Members of the family Salmonidae, which includes trout, Atlantic salmon, Pacific species of salmon, ciscoes and whitefish. Differs biologically from trout, although often is included with them. The brook trout is a true char, along with the Arctic char, lake trout and Dolly Varden. See trout.

charter boat
A boat for hire.

Shade of greenish-yellow used for spinnerbaits and other lures.

Chestertown hook
A type of hook with a long shank often used for saltwater fishing. Do not use unless this hook style is specifically mentioned. See fishhook.

Chestertown rig
A spreader rig for bottom fishing with two hooks; used mostly for flounder and fluke.

Running edges on a boat where the hull joins the lower sides.

chinook salmon
One of the five Pacific salmon species; also stocked in fresh water. Also called king salmon.

A term often used in Louisiana for redear sunfish.

A salmon, steelhead or brown trout fresh from the sea, migrating upriver; a bright, shining fish, not darkened by a long period in fresh water.

A small freshwater fish in the minnow family, often used as baitfish and found in deep water.

chuck box
Same as a grub box, which holds food, etc.

1. Any prepared or ground bait dispersed in the water to attract fish. 2. To throw chum overboard to attract fish.

chum line
The trail of bait or scent in the water that attracts game fish.

chum pot
A pot used to hold chum over the side of a boat or on the bottom of a river or lake.

chum salmon
One of the Pacific species of salmon. Also called chum or dog salmon.

chum slick
A visible surface oil slick or indication of the presence and movement of chum.

Poisoning caused by eating reef species of fish from tropical waters. Fish obtain the toxin from food/the environment.

Cincinnati bass
A style of hook. Do not use unless this hook style is specifically mentioned. See fishhook.

A device on a fishing reel used to signal a striking fish.

closed-faced reel
A spinning reel with a protective cover or nose cone from which the line comes off a fixed spool in coils. Also called American spinning reel, spin-casting reel. See spin casting.

cod, codfish
Popular deep-water bottom fish of both northern coasts. Genus includes Atlantic and Pacific cod, freshwater burbot, hake, haddock, tomcod, pollock and others.

A type of nylon fishing line in which a thin core line is surrounded (coated) with an outer nylon jacket.

A type of Pacific salmon, also stocked in fresh water. Also known as silver salmon.

coldwater species
Generally, freshwater fishes that spawn in water temperatures below 13 degrees C (55 degrees F). See warmwater species.

The careful protection, utilization and planned management of natural resources to prevent their depletion, exploitation, destruction or waste; includes sustained use.

cool water
The category for bodies of water that generally are 20-24 degrees C in summer (68-75 degrees F

Coosa bass
A colloquial name for redeye bass, a member of the sunfish family.

1. Another name for a bobber or float used in fishing. 2. Material used for the grip and handle of fishing rods.

Vegetation or other topographic features that offer concealment, i.e., protection, for wildlife and fishes. See structure.

crane fly
A fly sometimes imitated and of marginal importance to the fly-fisher. Resembling and sometimes mistaken for a large mosquito.

Any of a wide number of hard plastic or wooden lures that dive when retrieved (cranked with a reel through the water).

Two species, white and black, are popular panfish. Crappie occur naturally only in North America and are members of the sunfish family. Occasionally called calico bass.

Used for bait in bass and trout fishing. Some species are considered excellent human food. Crayfish is preferred over crawdad and crawfish.

Basket or mesh bag for holding fish.

creel limit
The number and/or size of fish an angler may legally take or possess in a day.

Several species of small Atlantic and Pacific coast game fish in the drum family.

To remove and release lighter-weight fish from a livewell so the heaviest or tournament limit is retained.

cut bait
Bait that is sectioned, usually from a whole baitfish.

A cross between rainbow and cutthroat trout (can occur naturally)

A shortened name for cutthroat trout.

cutthroat trout
A large trout native to Western cold lakes and rivers; closely related to rainbow trout.