Glossary of Fishing Terms

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gaff, gaff-hook
A strong hook on the end of a handle used to hook and land a fish that is within range of the angler.

game fish
Originally referred to fish caught for the table, but now frequently applies to fish caught for sport.

A primitive type of fish of which five species are recognized. It has an elongated body, resembling that of a pike, and a long, narrow jaw.

A regional name for North American freshwater drum; also sheepshead.

A taxonomic category of related species between family and species levels.

A multi-pronged barbed spear used to spear game, such as suckers or frogs.

gill net
An open mesh net that captures fish by the gills as they attempt to pass through.

gill rakers
The inner parts of gills used as strainers by fish to retain food and release water passing through the gills.

gin pole
A large vertical post in an offshore fishing boat, usually in a forward corner of the cockpit, and fitted with block and 3 for raising (landing) large game fish by the tail.

gizzard shad
A member of the shad/herring family, used as bait when small; also a fish food.

Global Positioning System
A navigational network based on a constellation of satellites that transmit high-frequency radio signals to earth. Sport models allow users to determine their location, accurate to 15-30 meters. Originally developed for the Department of Defense, it now is sold to the civilian market. GPS is acceptable on second reference.

A harpoon for taking fish, usually with two or more points; usually used with a singular verb.

grass pickerel
One of several types of pickerel, small members of the pike family. See chain pickerel.

grass shrimp
A freshwater shrimp.

A salt-cured fish.

A northern species of trout-like game fish of the family Salmonidae and having a large dorsal fin.

A young, usually male, Atlantic salmon on its first return from sea to fresh water.

A 1 or group of species that lives on or near the sea bottom and is vulnerable to bottom-fishing gear. Groundfishery is not a word.

A name for many species of bottom- and reef-living tropical saltwater species.

Colloquial name for California barred sand bass; refers to the fish’s frowning mouth.

A freshwater game fish of Central America.

1. One who assists a person while fishing or hunting. 2. A framed and ringed fitting on a fishing rod through which the line runs.

1. Small fish (about a dozen species found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 2. Gunwale. See gunwale.

Upper edge of the side of a ship or boat; pronounced gun-nel.

To hook a fish in the gullet after it has swallowed the bait. Usually, the hook cannot be removed without injuring the fish.