Glossary of Fishing Terms

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The designation for a fly line in a code used for line types and sizes as originated by AFTMA (now ASA). The F after the number of line size indicates floating. See fly line.

fall zone
The relatively narrow belt of elevation drop in a certain region of the country.

false cast
A cast made when fly-fishing in which neither fly nor line touches the water; used to increase length of line and accuracy to the target, or used with dry flies so they will float on the water’s surface.

Repeatedly casting in sequence all around the angler’s location so as to cover all possible areas where fish might be located.

Any small spring run or ditch that empties its flow into a larger stream or body of water.

feeder creek
A stream or river that empties into a lake.

1. A boneless, lean piece of meat or fish. 2. A method of using a sharp knife to separate the meaty portion of a fish from the bones and/or skin.

To clip one fin of a fish as a method of marking the fish in case of recapture.

Young fish, usually in their first or second year and generally between 2 and 5 centimeters (1 or 2 inches) long.

A place for catching fish or taking other sea animals. Also describes a directed effort to catch fish either by method (e.g., gill-net fishery or small-boat fishery) or by fish (e.g., tarpon fishery).

fish-eye view
A fish’s 180-degree field of vision.

fish-finder rig
A basic surf-fishing terminal 3 rig involving a sliding snap with sinker on a line above a swivel. A leader runs from the swivel to the hook. The slide allows the fish to run with the bait without dragging the heavy sinker.

fishing pressure
The cumulative effect of many people fishing in the same area or a few people fishing repeatedly in the same area. See hunting pressure.

A flashing type of depth finder.

1. In fishing, a shallow body of water, usually tropical salt water, where game fish feed during various tides. 2. Water off a point or long cove often holding bass in the prespawn or spawning periods.

A synonym for any of the flounders or soles.

flathead catfish
Also yellow cat, Opelousas cat, shovelhead, mud cat, etc.

In offshore fishing, a line that runs directly from the rod to the lure, as opposed to an outrigger line (or rigger line), which first runs to an outrigger before being trailed behind the boat.

A small member of the sunfish family. Not round flier.

A method of fishing (primarily bass fishing) by which the lure is swung, underhand, and not cast, to the target or structure. Special 3 may be used.

Any fishing in which floats (bobbers) are used. Also refers to fishing while floating a stream in a canoe or other craft.

flood plain
Level lowland bordering a stream onto which the stream spreads at flood stage.

General term for the many species of righteye and lefteye flounders found off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

flow rate
The volume of water moving past a given point in a unit of time.

The term for the four-spot, summer, southern or gulf flounders, as designated by fisheries scientists. Also a category of parasites.

A fishing lure fashioned by tying hair, thread, fur, feathers, synthetics and/or other materials onto a single hook. Usually done to imitate an insect, baitfish or other natural food.

fly book
A container for holding artificial wet flies. Often opening like a book, with one or more leaves to hold flies.

fly box
A special box, plastic or metal, to hold dry flies, usually in many individual compartments.

fly line
A line specifically designed to be used with fly-fishing 3. Since the fly is light and small, these lines (usually about 100 feet long are thick to provide the weight that is cast. A number designation is used to indicate a range of weight in grains. Capital letters are used to indicate the various types of fly lines and if they are sinking or floating styles.

fly pattern
The design of a fly-fishing lure. Known patterns of commonly duplicated patterns are capitalized, i.e., Woolly Worm, Muddler Minnow, etc.

fly reel
A revolving-spool reel designed for fishing with fly line.

fly rod
A long, limber rod designed for casting fly line, leader and fly.

A method of casting flies to fish or to spots likely to hold fish.

One who fly-fishes. Gender neutral preferred, but fly-fisherman acceptable for males.

A type of fishing that uses specialized equipment and 5 to present a fly to a fish.

flying gaff
A large, big-game gaff in which the handle disengages from the gaff head after sticking the fish. The gaff head then is held with a rope attached to it, much like a line to a fish hook. See gaff.

One who uses a fly rod and fly-rod 3.

To feed or wander in search of food.

forage fish
1 that, as adults, are small enough to be prey of larger species; often nongame fish.

To hook a fish other than in the mouth.

free spool
A reel that allows line to feed freely to the fish or current; or, the method of feeding line without drag or resistance to fish or current.

fresh water
Water containing fewer than .05-percent total dissolved salts by weight.

frift feeders
Fish and other predators that forage on food drifting on the water surface or in the water column.

Immature fish from the time they hatch to the time they become fingerlings. See fingerling and parr.

A blue catfish.