Fishing Terminology Guide

Fishing Terminology Guide

If you are new to the art of angling, fishing terminology can seem almost like an entirely new language, overwhelming and exhausting any novice angler. However, you should not worry, because the vocabulary within fishing isn’t overwhelming or exhausting. In fact, the fishing terminology is quite simple, and once it’s explained, it makes a lot of sense to even the most novice of anglers. We hope this guide helps you learn the fishing terminology so you’ll feel excited about your fishing trips. We hope you join us on the Kona Fishing Charters. Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing trip out on the beautiful Hawaiian waters.


Angler/angling: An angler is a person who goes fishing with a hook and line. Angling is the act of fishing with a hook and line.

Bait: Something used to lure in fish. Can be live or artificial.

Bait casting: Fishing with a revolving spool reel and bait casting rod. The reel is mounted on the topside of the rod.

Barb: It’s a pointed part of a fish hook that projects backwards in order to prevent a fish from coming unhooked.

Bobber: Is a device that “bobs” or floats on the water. It’s attached to a fishing line and used to keep bait off the bottom of the water. Can also be called a float.

fishing terminology


Catch and release: Instead of keeping the fish, an angler returns the fish to the water quickly after catching it.

Chum: Cut or ground bait that is dumped in the water to attract fish to the area where you’re fishing.

Deep Sea Fishing: We’ve covered this definition in-depth in a previous blog, but, essentially, deep sea fishing is a form of angling that requires deep waters and usually takes place further away from land. Is also called offshore boat fishing, sport fishing, and big game fishing.

Dry Fly: Dry flies are artificial flies that are used on the surface of the water.

Flies: A lure dressed with hair, feathers, or other synthetic materials that are tied to hooks and are made to resemble insects or fish. Used as bait.

Fly-fishing: It’s a technique where the weight of the fishing line is used to cast a very lightweight fly. This fly wouldn’t be heavy enough for typical spinning or casting rods.

Jigs/jigging: These are lures with a fixed hook and weighted hook often dressed with fur or other synthetics like a plastic body/tail. Jigging is a technique in which the jig is moved up and down frequently.

Leader: A leader connects a fishing line to the hook. It’s made up of monofilament, wire, or other material and is tied between the end of the line and the hook or lure.  

Livewell: Compartment in a boat that holds water, used to keep caught fish alive.

Lures: Artificial bait that look like live bait.

Offshore Fishing: Fishing done on the ocean away from shore. Synonymous with deep-sea fishing.

Plugs: A type of lure made of wood, plastic or rubber and designed to imitate live bait. Can float or sink.

Reel: A device that for winding, casting, etc. that is attached to a fishing rod.

Rod: It’s the pole of a fishing pole – can come in various sizes and strengths.

Sinker: Weights used to prevent lures from floating in the water.

Spin Fishing: It’s a fishing technique where a spinning lure is used. Also the spin fishing rod doesn’t have a trigger attached the base of the fishing rod differentiating it from the bait casting or fly fishing rod.

Strike: A sharp pull on the fishing line signaling that a fish attempting to take the lure or bait. Synonymous with the term “hit” in angling.

Tackle: Refers to fishing equipment used when an angler goes fishing.

Trolling: Fishing from a moving boat. You cast the bait behind the boat while the boat moves forward at a slow speed. Another way of trolling is to do something called back-trolling where you do the same thing but the boat motor is turned in reverse allowing the driver to make turns or changes easily. Typically, live baits are used for this type of fishing.
We hope this gives you a basic idea of the kind of fishing terminology you will hear when you go fishing. Be an angler and have fun using this vocabulary while you’re trolling or deep sea fishing. We hope you will have the time of your life fishing in the gorgeous Kona waters, and come out fishing with us on the Kona Fishing Charters. Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing trip!