Acronyms & Definitions of Fish Related Names Used by Fishermen

For some newcomers (and even old-timers) to the world of fishing listed below are fish related names & descriptions or explanations as to their usage to help you better understand


Adipose Fin

The small fin on the top just in front of the tail of salmonoid fish.  This fin is clipped on most all of the released hatchery fish, distinguishing them from wild fish.  This identification method is later used on mature fish to protect the wild (unclipped) ESA listed fish.  The above process is sometimes called Mass Marking because of the volume now being done.

URB Up River Bright  is a regular fall Chinook of a more streamlined body than a Tule & usually associated with being in rivers above Bonneville Dam 
LRC Lower River Columbia Chinook, meaning below Bonneville Dam = Tule Chinook
Tule Tule a fall Chinook salmon originating from the Toutle River that is known to be a stockier built fish that the URB  usually associated with returning in rivers below Bonneville Dam
Kokanee The freshwater form of the sockeye salmon. Kokanee spend their entire life in freshwater, and in some lakes are known as silver trout
Jack Salmon A salmon that gets the urge to return to it’s home stream a year early.  These will be smaller fish, (from 20″ or 24″ depending on specie).  They will be predominately males, (hence the name) but occasionally you will encounter a Jill.  The specie in this category are predominately Chinook & Coho.
Mortality  Fish mortality,  hooking mortality, net drop out and marine mammal take

Dictionary of methods of fishing or boat related items

Fishing An act involving sleepless anticipation followed by hours of boredom, interspersed with random moments of sheer panic.
Bar The portion of a river mouth that enters an ocean where there is turbulence caused by the force of the outgoing river water against the force of the incoming ocean tide.  At peak times of water movement, this can get quite violent.
Back Troll A method of fishing in  a river whereby the boat is held into the current & allowed to slowly be swept downstream while fishing gear (usually off a diver) is allowed to move thru a holding area.
Back Bounce Very similar to back trolling, except the method of holding the gear down is a cannonball sinker that is “walked” down thru the holding area.
Chumming A method of attracting hopefully desirable fish by depositing bait in the water where legal to do so
Troll A method of fishing whereby a boat is powered by either manpower (oars) or an internal combustion or electric engine.  The method is to normally use a weighted baited line being drug behind the boat.  The bait can be natural, (worms / herring) or a plastic or metal lure.  The procedure is to move around on the water looking on a sonar trying to locate baitfish & then hopefully the targeted fish.
Mooch Mooching was developed to drift a weighted bait (usually herring).   Using this method, you let the lure to near the bottom, reel up a few feet & wait for the wave motion to slightly move the bait, or in the absence of that then raise & lower the rod tip  to create the swimming illusion of the bait.  Reel up & do it over again.
Mooching Rod A fiberglas or composite rod of usually 8′ 6″ or 9′ having a medium action. They are usually a level-wind reel type, however it could be a spinning type.  Line for salmon would normally be monofilament in about 25# weight.
Reel, Level-wind An open faced fishing reel that has a horizontal spooled & uses an arm that lays the line on the reel spool level from side to side
Reel, Line-counter The same as a level-wind, only it has a resettable line-counter that records the length of line that is out
Reel, Spinning An open or closed face fishing reel that winds the line on a front-mounted spool by the means of a rotating bail
Reel, Mooching A large single action reel much like a fly reel mostly used for salmon & favored in Canada
Jig Usually a lead body or a lead headed unit with a hook attached weighing from 1/2 oz. to 12 oz. with a 3 oz. about usual for sea bass depending on the water depth & current.  If the lead headed type, then a plastic “Curly Tail” lure is attached to the hook.
Jigging A method of fishing usually where fish are concentrated.  In use, letting the jig sink vertically to the bottom, or where the concentrated fish are observed in the water column by viewing on the sonar.   Raise the rod so the tip moves about 2′, let it drop back down, reel in a couple of feet & let it drop again.  The fish tend to hit the lure when it is dropping, which makes for the fisherperson needing to pay close attention.
Downrigger A large mechanical stationary reel mounted to the boat that is spooled with stainless steel wire line used for trolling.  This reel may be manipulated by hand or electric power.  It is a method of achieving a greater depth of fishing without the restraint of having a heavy weight attached permanently to the line.  It normally has a 12# lead ball attached to the lower end of the stainless spooled line & a release type snap on the spooled line that the rod / reel’s line is clipped into.  This spool line is lowered to a desired depth.  When a fish hits the lure, the clip pops off the line, allowing the fisherman to fight & land the fish independent of the downrigger.  Any lure from bait to artificial can be used here.
Downrigger Rod A fiberglas rod specially designed to have a strong lower section but with a medium tip.  In use, these rods are set  in a rod holder pointing rearward & when the person running the downrigger decides the desired depth, then reel in the reel slightly, to just before the clip pops off.   This will preload the rod by putting an arc in the rod.  When the fish hits the lure, the line will snap out of the downrigger wire clip with enough force from the preloaded rod taking the slack out of the line & to usually set the hook in the fish.
Diver Usually a plastic device used in trolling that by it’s nature of having a attachment device allows the diver to when pulled in the water, forces the diver down at a steep angle.  This allows the lure to be trolled deeper than possible by using a sinker alone.  They are usually designed so that when a fish hits the lure, that the diver trips & can be reeled in with little resistance.  These allow the lure to be positioned down & closer to the boat than just using a weight & long line that may never achieve the same depth.
Dodger A large (8″-14″) metal or plastic attractor used for trolling that when pulled thru the water wobbles back & forth creating an attraction.  It is also used in conjunction with a hoochie trailing behind it where the dodger imparts movement to the hoochie.
Flasher A flasher is basically the same as a dodger, except a slightly different shape & it rotates slowly.
Fish Flash The trade name given to a rotating plastic triangle attractant from 4″ to 12″ long with angled rear wings that rotates with little drag that is used as an attractor ahead of a leadered lure.
Plastic Squid A round plastic skirt that has been slit on the sides in many places that forms a lure with many tentacles, representing a baitfish, small squid, octopus or shrimp swimming.  These can be of many different colors to represent many different types of bait.  Used by itself it has no action so they need an attractor that imparts movement.
Hoochie Same as plastic squid.
Puker Fleet The nickname for a charter boat fleet, where many of the fisherpersons have been known to hang their head over the rail & deposit their breakfast into the ocean (sometimes jokingly called chumming).
Cut Plug Usually referring to a herring bait that has the head cut off at an angle, creating a rotating action when this bait is pulled thru the water.   It is attached to a leader that has the hooks inserted into the bait.  Usually used for trolling.
Helmet or Bonnet Another method of attaching a herring or anchovy to a leadered hook set-up.  Here there is a plastic helmet or head that the bait is inserted into to protect it & at the same time give it a wriggling motion.
Leader Usually a monofilament line of a slightly lighter weight than the mainline that is connected between a sinker or the attractor & has the hooks attached to it for holding the bait.
Barbless Hook A hook that was either manufactured with no barb, or one that has had the barb pinched in a manner approved by the DFW
Sickle Hook A newer style hook that is made with a definite “Vee” bend in stead of the regular rounded form.  This style tends to not allow the fish to throw the hook as much as the Octopus style.
Side Drifting A method of fishing in a river where the boat is allowed to drift, (many times controlled by a kicker motor) so that the side of the boat is positioned whereby more than one fisherperson can cast toward the shore & anticipated fishy locations.
Spoon Usually a metal oblong spoon shaped lure that has a hook attached to the rear, that when retrieved through the water by trolling or casting, wobbles, imitating a baitfish
Plug A plug can be made of wood or plastic that is used in the same fashion as a spoon.  The front of a plug can be shaped with an angled downward portion that facilitates wriggling movement when retrieved.
Spinner A attractant using one or more rotating spinner blades that a short leadered hook & bait/lure can be attached to, or a method of cutting a thin strip of a baitfish & attaching it to the hooks so that it spins.
Scent Usually a mixture of natural ingredients mixed into either a paste or liquid form that when applied onto a lure that imparts a scent that may attract a fish into thinking the lure may be the the natural intended bait.  It is also used to mask human scent.
Knotless Net A landing net may be made of rubber or a knotless nylon designed to decrease the chance of the knots of a regular nylon net from loosening the scales of fish that could later contribute to a fungus growth.   May be required on certain fisheries.
Kicker Motor A small auxiliary outboard motor in size of usually between 7.5 & 15 hp that is used for trolling & as a emergency motor to get back to the dock if the main motor fails.
Bonker Bonk the fish on the head, as in a keeper fish
Welcome Aboard Your Bonker is named “Welcome Aboard”, as in a keeper fish
Wood Shampoo Club the fish in the head.    Wood = club   Shampoo = head,  as in a keeper fish
Mickey Mouse radio Old time (1960s) description of a CB radio, that in those days was not totally reliable
VHF radio Very High Frequency radio  with multiple channels, which the US Coast Guard monitors the emergency channel 16, usually on the average sport boat antenna has a range of about 25 miles.
Mayday  A distress call on a radio from a boat that is in serious & immanent trouble.
Hog Line  A line of boats fishing on anchor.
Rotting on the Hook  Hogline,  What those with no skill do when anchor fishing.   also….”Dope on the Rope”

Visual Storm Warnings

Rough Bar Conditions At the exit of most harbors into bays will be 2 lights mounted on a large Rough Bar sign.  When these lights are alternately flashing the US Coast Guard has declared the bar closed to pleasure vessels under 30′.
Small Craft Warning Winds 26-38 MPH,   Daytime one red pennant.  Nights  a red light above a white light
Gale Warning Winds 39-54 MPH,   Daytime two red pennants.  Nights  a white light above a red light.  When these flags are flying they are sometimes called “Maggie’s Drawers” by old-timers.
Storm Warning Winds 55-73 MPH or more,   Daytime one square red flag with a black center.  Nights  two red lights.
Hurricane Force Wind Warning Winds 74 MPH or more,   Daytime two square red flags with a black centers  Nights a white light between two red lights.
Other Important Signals One short blast means “I intend to leave you with my port side” (Inland Rules)
Two short blasts means “I intend to leave you with my starboard side” (Inland Rules)
Three short blasts means “my engines are operating astern propulsion”
Five short rapid blasts means ” I fail to understand your intentions”
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