Dictionary of Fishing Terms

We list a glossary of fishing terms that fishermen and anglers often use.

Action Fishing Rod

Action describes how much of the fishing rod bends when you put pressure on the tip and the speed with which the rod returns to its neutral position. The construction material and construction method of a rod affect its action. An action may be slow, medium, fast or a combination.

Action fishing rods Cronulla Sydney

Action Fishing Lure

Action is built it; cadence is imparted by the angler. Guys who built lures are the ones that know best what cadence works best. They know what their lures don't do. So they make them do it when they use them to catch fish.



Fishing bait is any substance used to attract and catch fish, e.g. on the end of a fishing hook, or inside a fish trap. Traditionally, nightcrawlers, insects, worms and smaller bait fish have been used for this purpose. Fishermen have also begun using plastic bait and more recently, electronic lures to attract fish.

Fishing bait and lures Cronulla Sydney

Barb Hook

Here is a barbed hook. The barb itself is the small triangular-shaped metal at the sharp end of the hook, that points in the opposite direction of the sharp end. The purpose of the barb on the hook is the hold the hook in place after it has penetrated the fishes mouth.

Barb hook fishing

Barbless Hook

Barbless hooks are simply hooks that do not have the small v-shaped metal piece at the pointed end of the hook that points in the opposite direction of the sharp pointed tip.

Barbless hook

Burn and Kill

This is a term used to describe a method of lure retrieval where you quickly retrieve the "bait" and then stop suddenly to let it pause in the water.

Butt Fishing Rod

The butt of a fishing rod refers to the base or the handle.

Playing or Fighting Fish

This is the battle between the angler and the fish once the fish is hooked.

Snapper fishing charter Sydney


Jigging is the fishing practice when the line is dropped to a depth of around 40 metres. As you slowly reel the fishing line in you use an up and down motion to jerk the rod.

Leader or Trace

leader is a length of fishing line that is attached to the main end of your fishing line. It is this separate length to which rigs or lures are tied

Leader trace fishing

Main Line

The main line is what is wrapped around the reel of a fishing rod. It is the primary connection to what other attachments you may add.

Main line fishing rod


As with us humans fishing line also has a memory. Typically fishing lines are wound around a reel. When they are taut there is no apparent curve. But when relaxed they take the shape of the reel they were wrapped around.

Memory line fishing


Pelagic is a zone in the ocean. Just like the continental shelf is a zone. Pelagic fish swim neither close to the shore or near the bottom.

Pelagic zone fishing


Fishing rig Sydney

Running Sinker

Setting the Hook

Setting the hook fishing


As the name suggests a sinker is what pulls your bait down into the ocean. Sinkers come in all shapes and sizes depending on the type of fish you are targetting.

Fishing sinker


A snag is what your fishing line is caught on other than its intended prey. Usually, this is a reef, rocks or seaweed. Or it could be a sunken man-made object.

Fishing snag


A fishing swivel typically has 2 rings that are connected to a pivot point. More often than not the swivel is made of metal. Attached to the swivel are 2 separate joints that are intended not to twist.

Swivel fishing

Strike Angler

Anglers set the hook by drawing the fishing rod away from the fish and bringing it in closer to their body. This has the effect of tightening the line when hooking onto the fish.

Strike angler fishing

Strike Fish

These are fish that repeatedly attack the bait.


This can be a natural or man-made structure. Types of structures include piers, pylons, bridges, rocks, break walls, seaweed, coral etc. There are a number a species of fish that use structures as a habitat or to feed in.

Action fishing rods Cronulla Sydney

Taper Fishing Rod

Fishing rods that bend their entire length have a slow taper. A fishing rod that flexes at the tip has a fast taper. Slow taper rods are best for using live bait and fast taper rods perform better with a lure.

Terminal Tackle

This is the fishing gear that sits at the end of the fishing rod line.  This type of equipment is usually sinkers, swivels, lures, hooks floats and so on.

Terminal tackle fishing


You will often see boats with multiple rods dragging baited fishing lines through the water as they drive.

Walk the Dog

The “walk the dog” technique, involves slightly twitching your rod during the retrieve to cause the lure to move in a side-to-side motion.

Other Fishing Slang

  • Water Rats or Lice = jetskiers
  • I'm being attacked = getting bites
  • Pull up or drop the pik = pull up the anchor
  • C & R = catch and release
  • K & G = kill and grill
  • Smoked = fish busting you off
  • Love tap = a hit on ya lure
  • Bait Raped = When a fish steals your bait
  • Thumper = A big fish
  • Shadow = someone that follows you to your fishing spot
  • Jetty rats = pier fisherman
  • bandit - kingfish approx. 90 to 100cms
  • birds nest incredible knots when casting silly string
  • blackie - Luderick
  • blade - thin profile, vibrating metal blade lure mostly used for bream and other estuary fish
  • blurter - Trevally
  • bommie - an isolated pinnacle of reef that rises significantly from the bottom often to just under the surface
  • bonnie - Australian Bonito
  • Bung - usually the rubber plug/s under transom but can mean live baits like yellowtail
  • Butchers Pr*ck = Maori wrasse
  • chopper - small Tailor
  • croc - very large flathead over say 70
  • dolly/dollies - Mahi Mahi or dolphin fish
  • donut - catching the doughnut-shaped '0' amount of fish during a session
  • eggbeater - spinning reel
  • elbow slapper usually applies to BIG whiting who's tail slaps your elbow whilst holding the head
  • EP - Estuary Perch
  • finesse fishing using insane light gear (1-2kg rod with 'silly string' - see next line)
  • flouro - monofilament line made from fluorocarbon
  • flowerpot - Red Rock Cod
  • frog - flathead
  • gelspun - alternative name for braided line
  • ghost - Mulloway

More Fishing Slang

  • GSP - alternative name for Gel Spun braided line
  • GT - Giant Trevally
  • hard body - molded or carved casting lures usually made from plastic or wood
  • hoodlum or hoodie - large kingfish... there's no specific size but usually reserved for fish over say 10-15kg or over 100cm
  • horsie - Slimy Mackerel
  • hoo - Wahoo
  • inker - Squid
  • jack - Mangrove Jack
  • jacket - Leatherjacket
  • Jew - Mulloway
  • Jewfish - Mulloway
  • Kingie - Yellowtail Kingfish
  • LGB - land-based game, fishing off the rocks
  • lizard - large Flathead
  • Long Wand - Fly Fishing Rod
  • mack - mackerel
  • man in the grey suit = shark
  • metal - shorthand for metal spinning lures, like chrome slices
  • M.I.L.F. - mother in law fish!
  • noodle stick very bendy rod - 1kg or less
  • mully - mulloway, often referred to as in other states
  • noah - slang for Noah's Ark or SHARK!
  • non boater invited angler onto boat owner's boat - boat owner decides where & when to stop & fish. Non-boater usually contributes to fuel costs
  • PE - alternative name for braided line
  • pig - Rock Blackfish
  • pinkie - small Snapper
  • placcy - shorthand for soft plastic lures
  • poddies - poddy mullet... very small mullet sometimes used as live bait
  • popper - a hard-bodied lure that is skipped across the surface by a troll or cast & retrieves.
  • queenie - Queenfish
  • rat - small kingfish around or under legal size
  • red - snapper

And More Fishing Slang

  • reddies = snapper
  • Rubber - Soft Plastic Lure
  • sambo - Australian Salmon or sometimes, Samson Fish
  • Secret silver - Mulloway
  • silly string using 1-2 lb braid in the snaggy territory, hoping to hook a Horse
  • Silver - Mulloway
  • Slab - Mulloway
  • Skinny - Queenfish
  • Slimy - Slimy Mackerel
  • Schoolie - Intermediate-sized Mulloway often of reproductive age and under 10kg.
  • Soapie - Juvenile Mulloway say under 45/50cm
  • smacking them catching heaps of good fish (similar to Braining them)
  • snag oyster covered rocks or poles where Horses often hang out
  • SP - soft plastic lure
  • spot X - a common name for any fishing spot someone wants to keep secret (& not permitted in posts - Mods)
  • Stick Bait - Long thin soft plastic lure
  • Stonker - a well-above-average size for a particular species of fish
  • stripey - Striped Tuna
  • Squire - Juvenile Snapper
  • SWFF - Saltwater fly fishing
  • Taxman - Shark of the carnivorous variety
  • toad puffer fish
  • the money shot casting to the most productive spot - usually the boat owners perogative
  • Trev - Trevally
  • vibe - a hard-bodied, fish-shaped, bibless lure with a vibrating action, often used for bream and estuary fish
  • Wand - Fly Rod
  • yakka - Yellowtail Scad... a commonly used small baitfish
  • yellowtail - confusingly either Yellowtail Scad (baitfish), or sometimes Yellowtail Kingfish (that eat the baitfish)