Fishing Terms – Commonly Used Fishing Words

by | Jun 23, 2017 | Tips | 0 comments

Fishing is a popular activity people like to participate in for sport or leisurely passing the time. The variety of fish to catch is vast and all the characteristics that make details and ways of fishing are huge. For beginners, fishing can be a little overwhelming. Where can you fish? What can you catch? What do you need? How do you do it? These things are broken down into different categories when you realize they contrast depending on if you are fishing in fresh or salt water. Below is information to help get you started!

Freshwater Fishing

Most Common Types of Fish


Trout is a term used for species in fish families. Some species include brown trout, flathead trout, bull trout, and more. Their color and patterns can dramatically differ.


Perch fish come in three different species; Yellow, European, and Balkhash. Yellow perch are typically prized for their meat. However, European perch can weigh as much as six pounds.

Channel Catfish

These fish can have up to eight million fishermen after them per year. This is mainly due to their delicious meat. They have excellent senses of smell and taste.


Known as Muskellunge, Muskie is the largest are the largest species in the pike family. These fish have a surprising diet that includes small mammals and birds. They are apex predators in their habitats.


Crappie typically feed around dawn and dusk, including young of predators on their diet. Arguably, they are the best tasting freshwater fish. There are only two species of Crappie.

Largemouth Bass

Adult largemouth bass have been known to eat baby alligators and can consume prey that is half of its body length or more. They are an exciting catch as they try to throw the hook by becoming airborne. Largemouth bass become apex predators when they reach adulthood.


Thanks to eye placement, Walleye can easily be spotted at night by their shining eyes. Their savory meat supports commercial fishing alongside recreational. They like to be in deep, rough waters.

Types of Fishing


Shore fishing is just as it sounds, fishing on the shore of a water source. Anglers stand by the water and toss their hooks into the water. This is commonly done by ponds, rivers, lakes, and so on.


Lake fishing takes place from the shore of a freshwater source, or out on a boat. Hooks are thrown into the water from either location.  Occasionally, anglers retrieve their hooks to check for bait loss if no nibbles occur.


Boat fishing is extremely popular. Once the hook is in the water, some anglers let the line drift along in one spot, while others move the boat around to try different areas and pull the line with them. Using a boat allows access to deeper water depths, making it possible to catch different types of fish. This is commonly done on lakes, ponds, and rivers.


Anglers looking for moving water will go river fishing. Done from the shore or by walking into the river, this type of fishing requires frequent re-casting. The hook will move along with the current, catching the attention of nearby fish.


Pond fishing is fishing on a manmade or natural pond. Hooks are thrown into the water from the shore or a boat. The water is generally calm, making pond fishing a good start for most beginners.


Tolling is like boat fishing but with one or more fishing lines. These lines can be held still or slowly pulled by the boat. They typically swing from side-to-side or moved around in a sweeping motion. Trolling is usually done from a boat but it can also be done from bridges, docks, etc.

Common Fishing Equipment

Fishing Pole

Usually made from bamboo or cane, a fishing pole is the most basic piece of equipment for shallow water. All that is required is a hook, line, and sinker. When using a pole there is no need for a reel. Complete novice anglers find these a good way to get their feet wet and practice their technique.

Rod and Reel

The most common type of reel is the spin-cast. The reel attaches to the fishing rod and holds the line. Having a reel allows the angler to cast their line much further. There are various types of rods and reels, all with their own purposes. Common names encountered are fly, baitcast, spincast, and spinning.

Fishing Line

There are a variety of fishing lines for sale. Like rods and reels, they each have a purpose. They come in different lengths, diameters, and strengths. Available materials for fishing lines are the braided line, fluorocarbon, and nylon. The most expensive line is fluorocarbon and the cheapest is nylon.


To catch a fish, the line must have a hook at the end. These come in a multitude of sizes and are relatively inexpensive. A good starting point is several different types for various kinds of fish.

Sinkers and Bobbers

Sinkers are made of lead. The weight allows lines to be thrown over a distance. Their sole purpose is to make the hook sink into the water.

Bobbers go on fishing poles. Used by children who are just learning to fish, they float on top of the water. When the bobber is pulled under the surface, a fish has bitten into the hook.


Swivels are attached between the line and whatever bait you are using. They “swivel” bait around without getting the line all tangled.


There are two types of bait. Live bait includes worms, insects, minnows, leeches, etc. The advantage to live bait is the natural way it moves in the water. Many anglers believe fish are more likely to go after food they think is real.

Artificial bait is also known as a lure. There is virtually no limit to the various colors, sizes, and shapes in the bait aisle. Some are imitations of live bait, while others rely on movement, noise, or reflection to catch the interest of passing fish. Different fish prefer certain bait to others so it may be necessary to have a decent selection in the tackle box.

Saltwater Fishing

Most Common Types of Fish


These fish are a prize of a lifetime. Among the gamefish in the world, Swordfish have the highest stamina. They are strong and ready to put up a fight.


Dorado are thrilling catches as they will jump despite being hooked and are speedy fish with beautiful colors. They make a tasty dinner as they flavorful and commonly used as mahimahi. It does help that they can be fished around the world.


Arguably one of the fastest fish in the oceans, Sailfish can swim up to 68 mph and are often found in Pacific and Atlantic waters. The most excitement in fishing for sport for them is that they have an incredible jumping capability.

Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin serve both purposes of game fishing and eating. They are big, fast, and pack a lot of power. These qualities make it a popular fish for offshore anglers. Their meat is commonly sold for sashimi.


These monsters are strictly for sport. They represent the ideal pick of a challenging prize; fast and big. They can jump high and are covered in chrome-plated scales. Just don’t cook it.

Bluefin Tuna

For a challenging battle, Bluefin tuna are a top contestant. Their size and stamina make them some of the most difficult fish in the world to catch. They are also valued fish in the International fish trade.

Giant Trevally

Once Giant Trevally take a bite, be prepared to battle the sea’s warrior. They fight hard with power, swiftness, and size. They are highly fished in the Indo-Pacific region.

Types of Fishing


Inland saltwater fishing takes place in lagoons, tributaries, rivers, ponds, lakes, streams, or on the ocean shore. Different species of fish are found in these locations than what is found out at sea. They will generally be much smaller as well.

Deep Sea

Deep-sea fishing is exactly what it sounds like – fishing out in the deep sea. A boat is required for this type of fishing, and this is where the giants are found if the angler is lucky. Unless you own a boat, deep-sea fishing occurs on charter boats who take groups out for the day.

Common Fishing Equipment

Rod and Reel

When hoping to hook a tuna, marlin, or even a shark, a more substantial rod and reel is needed than what is used for freshwater fishing. These sport fish are enormous, strong, and no lightweights, so get the proper set for the intended target.

Common reel types include spinning, jigging, casting, and drag. Common rod types are casting, spinning, jigging, and stand up. These are further divided into inland or offshore categories.


The line used for deep-sea fishing needs to be much stronger than regular fishing line. Along with fluorocarbon, braided, and nylon, copper, titanium, steel, Monel (a mix of copper and nickel), and nickel are other common line types for saltwater fishing. There are also huge variations in line strength based on the type of fishing.


Saltwater hooks are specific to their task as well. They are stronger and larger than freshwater ones. The two most common types are the octopus hook and the circle hook. User preference is the main consideration.

Floats, Sinkers, and Swivels

To stop line tangling, common swivels are barrel, cross line, sliding, and snap. Sinkers made from lead draw the hook down to the bottom quickly and allow for further casting. Rough water will require a heavier weight, while in calm seas lighter is often better.

There is a huge variety in floats. Depending on inland or deep-sea use, they vary in size from small golf balls to huge Styrofoam shapes. They are brightly colored for easy viewing, especially when several lines are in the water.


Both live and artificial bait is available. The type chosen will depend entirely on the type of fishing. Live bait options include live fish (such as mackerel), shrimp, squid, eels, crabs, or “chum.”

The array of artificial lures is beyond dazzling. There are specific ones for offshore and inland expeditions, and the range of colors, sizes, and imitations is daunting. They also make different movements, sounds, and reflections.

Explore the Open Water

Don’t be disappointed if you go out on your first fishing trip and it doesn’t go exactly as planned. Whether you are game fishing or wanting to relax, it is a skill that takes time to master. Explore the possibilities fishing can bring to you and find out which spots and aspects are best suited for you. The open water has a lot to offer!