Marine Lexicon

Adipose fin Small fleshy fin not supported by fin rays on the back of some fishes.
Admirality Charts Highly accurate marine charts compiled by the Hydrographic Department. They show the position of prominent landmarks around the coast with sounding lines showing depth of water at various locations. Also shows position of ship wrecks, reefs and lighthouses etc.
Anal fins Found below the fish at the rear, can be two separate fins.
Anchovy Bait used in live bait fishing. Almost all species of saltwater fish species will take anchovies.
Anterior Towards front.
Auxiliary Secondary engines, to provide electrical power on a boat.
Backlash An overrun of the fishing reel spool resulting in tangled line.
Bait Any presentation which is made on a fishing hook to make the fish bite. May be alive or dead and parts thereof.
Barbel Small fleshy projection growing beneath the jaw of certain species of fish.  e.g. catfish, threadfin, etc.
Beam Width of the boat at the widest point.
Bilge Pump A pump for drawing water that collects in the lower part of a boat’s hull.
Billfish All fish from the spearfish, marlin and sailfish family.
Body Harness Fits around back and over shoulders with clips which hook onto two lugs on the reel. The harness takes the strain from the arms when playing a big fish, allowing the stronger back muscles to play their part.
Bottom Fishing Where the bait or lure is presented close to the bottom to tempt the demersal species of fish to feed.
Breaching When an unhooked fish is seen jumping out of the water, it’s said, that fish is breaching.
Breakwater Man made bulwark against the sea. It is usually made up of rocks and may  or may not be connected to land.

An artificial fly made with a long hair wing and designed to imitate a minnow or other forage fish.

Butt The bottomost part of the fishing rod.
Butt Pad A belt worn around the waist with a cup into which the end of a rod butt can be housed, thus saving the angler from possible abdominal injury.
Carnivorous Flesh eating
Cast The act of using the rod and reel to throw the bait at a distance from yourself.
Cast Net A fishing net which can be thrown or cast to drop over an area.
Caudal Fin Tail fin of fish. Very useful in fish species identification.
Ciguatera Fish poisoning. Can be dangerous if infected fish is consumed by humans.
Charter Boat In angling, a boat hired for taking anglers offshore. It is skippered by a professional and aided by crewmen.
Chumming The act of using mashed or chopped pieces of fish, crabs, mollusks to attract fish to a baited hook.
Chumline The string of oily chum trail behind the boat from either the boat’s movement or the action of the wind or current.
Clams Bivalve mollusks. Very good bait  when fishing from the shore.
Claspers Modified portions of the pelvic fins of sharks and rays which they use like a penis in copulation.
Cleat A piece of wood or metal used in a boat to fasten ropes to.
Coastal Waters In angling, it usually means a distance of perhaps 5 miles from the shore.
Crustaceans Crabs, shrimps, etc.
Decidous Of fish scales that drop or rub off easily. e.g. Tuna and Mackerel
Deck The floor of a boat.
Demersal species Fish which inhabit the sea bottom.
Disgorger A small metal flattened into a vee shape to aid the removal of hook from the mouth of a fish.
Dorsal Fin Found on backs of round fish. Can be of two types. Spiny, hard and sharp or soft and flexable.
Drag System A clutch device mechanism in reels which can be preset to a certain loading by the angler, to prevent the breaking of line by the hooked fish.
Drift Fishing When the boat is allowed to drift under the influence of wind and tide thus covering a large area without anchoring.
Down Rigger A device mounted on the gunwale of a boat designed to hold a trolled lure at a precise depth and to release it when the fish strikes.
Elongated Extended.
Falcate Sickle shaped.
Fathom A unit of length often used in measuring water depth. Equal to 6 feet or approximately 2 meters.
Fauna Animal life.

A method of catching certain species of fish like mackerels and jacks by using a series of feather adorned hooks.

Ferrule Used to join two sections of a hollow glass rod.
Fighting Chair A sturdy swiveling chair with a foot brace, bolted solidly to the boat and used by the angler to fight and play big gamefish.
Finlets Small separated fins found in the posterior area behind the dorsal fin and also below, in some species of fish. e.g. Tuna.
Fish Finder An instrument used for finding fish by means of timed sonic pulses. Also called Echo sounder or Sonar.
Flying Bridge A raised platform, usually located near the center of boat. See Tuna Tower.
Flying Gaff A big sized hook that detaches from the main pole but remains fixed to a rope whose other end is hand held or made fast to a cleat.
Free Spool A feature of a reel, allowing the spool to turn freely without the handle turning.
Gag A device for holding open the fish’s mouth.
Galley The kitchen on a boat.
Gamefish Any species of fish that gives good sport or fight and by reason of it’s size or vigor prolongs resistance to it’s capture.
Gaff A sturdy pole with a hook on one end  and used for pulling hooked big fish aboard.
Gill Net A single wall or webbing held vertically in the water by a line with weights and a line with floats.
Gillrakers Projections from inner surface of gill arch of fishes and are often used to strain plankton.
Gimbal Belt See butt-pad
Gin Pole A vertically fixed pole on fishing boats equipped to hoist a heavy fish aboard. Usually fitted on shark boats
GPS Global positioning system. Shows accurate locations in the open sea. Very popular amongst anglers who venture out far offshore.
Green An unplayed  and untired gamefish is said to be green. Attempting to bring a green fish aboard is not recommended.
Guide That which is fastened to the rod at intervals to guide the line along the length of the rod.
Gunwale The rail around the outer rim of a boat’s deck or cockpit.
Harbor Calm, protected area. Usually behind a breakwater or jetty.
Herbivorous Plant eating.
Hermaphrodite Both sexes in the same individual. Sex changing species of fish like snappers.
Inter-tidal Between high and low tide marks.
Invertebrates Animals without a backbone.
Jetty Man made rock breakwater protruding into the sea. Usually at a right angle to the shore.
Jig Collectively, any artificial lure consisting of a metal head to which a skirt of bucktail, feathers or nylon is attached.
Jigging Consists simply of letting the lure drop down, sometimes upto the bottom, then reeling it upwards, imparting a little action to the jig with the rod tip enroute. Also called vertical fishing.
Jugular In the region of the throat.

The part of a boat extending along the bottom from stern to stern and supporting the whole frame.

Knots A unit of speed at sea.
Landing Net A net used to lift fish ashore or aboard a boat. Preferable at times to a gaff, as the meat of fish remains undamaged.
Lateral line Found on many species of round fish. An easily definable line which runs along the flank of fish from head to tail and is it’s sensory organ. Actual shape and position of the laterial line plays an important role in the identification of many fish species.
Leader Any material used between the end of the line and the lure or hook and is usually made of wire or heavy monofilament.
Line The connection between the angler and the fish ; that which is on the reel. Fishing line can be of many different materials. The most common being monofilament. Then there is dacron, braided or twisted nylon, silk or even wire.
Live bait Any natural organism which can be employed to catch fish. The bait may not necessarily be alive at the time of use.
Live-baiting The act of using bait that is alive. A deadly and effective method that is used for catching many predatory fish.
Livebait Well A well or tank in which water circulates to keep the bait alive.
Lure Any form of artificial bait used for catching fish.
Marine Of the sea.
Maxilla Upper jaw.
Mollusk Members of highly developed invertebrates such as octopus, squid, clam, oyster etc.
Multiplier reel See conventional reel.
Mussels Bi-valve mollusks found on rocks, pilings and docks, at or below  the mid-tide line. Very good for shore fishing.
Offshore reef Usually refers to a reef or rock protruding from the seabed several miles from shore.
Omnivorous One that eats both animal and plant life.
Outrigger A pair of poles mounted on sportfishing boats that are used to raise a fishing line high above the water and extend it beyond the boat’s wake. Very effective in marlin and mahiMahi fishing.
Oviparous Egg laying fish.
Ovoviviparous Retaining and developing eggs.
Pectoral fins Smaller fins that are found on either side of fish and situated just behind the gill covers.
Pelagic species Fish which inhabit the upper levels of the sea. Generally taken to mean a free swimming species.
Pelvic fins Paired fins either on abdomen or in chest area of fish.
Pirks Heavy chrome-plated or brightly painted metal artificial lures which sink with a fast fluttering action, provoking an aggressive reaction from the fish. Mostly used for jigging.
Plankton Mostly microscopic sized animals that float and drift passively in the water.
Plugs These fishing lures often have an articulated body with a diving vane at the head and which when retrieved, stimulates the noise and action of a wounded fish.
Pole The same as the rod except that no reel is attached to it nor does it have any guides.
Poppers Plugs that float on the water surface and when jerked with the rod tip, submerges in the water and then pops up again., creating sounds and bubbles to attract surface gamefish.
Pulpit A railed platform extending  forward from the bow of a fishing boat and used as a vantage point for sighting or gaffing fish.
Pumping The act by an angler of  raising his rod tip to approximately 45 degrees angle, then lowering it and reeling in line as he does so and repeating the process until the fish surfaces.
Ray Soft, flexible fin support that is branched at tip.
Red Tides Mostly caused by blooming of plankton organisms which grow rapidly to epidemic proportions. During red tides, there is a discoloration of the water and at times it kills fish and other aquatic organisms.
Reel That which holds the fishing line and is fitted to the fishing rod.
Roe The eggs of a female fish. In some cases, a table delicacy. e.g. cavier.
Roller Guide Guides with revolving rollers which are mounted on the rods to decrease friction and wear on line. Usually fitted on Big Game fishing rods.
Rough ground A type of bottom structure of  seabed  which is usually a mixture of small rocky outcrops, boulders and sand.
Scuba Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Scrutes Enlarged scales, usually along the lateral line or in the ventral Midline of the fish’s body.
Shrimp A local bait used for catching fish. A very popular bait that is used both by boat and shore anglers.
Sinker A metal weight usually made of lead and used to cast out line.
Skirt Artificial lure usually made of plastic and vinyl and is very often used in open water fishing for catching Marlin.
Slackwater The point in time between flood and ebb and ebb and flood tides, when the tide stands still. About an hour on spring tides and upto two hours on small neap tides.
Snagging A method of catching fish with one treble hook or more hooks attached to a line or a artificial lure used in a manner to foul hook a fish, in an area other  than the fish,s mouth.
Snood See trace.
Sonar See echo sounder or fish finder.
Sounded A fish is known to have sounded when it dives downwards into deeper water.
Spawn Fish copulation to produce and deposit eggs.
Spine Strong unbranched fin support or a projection from the body or head of fish.
Spinner An artificial rotating lure.
Spinning A method of casting and fishing which is done by the use of an open faced fixed spool reel.
Spinning Reel A reel with a fixed spool which allows the line to spin and come off the spool without the friction of a revolving spool. Such reels allow the angler to cast bait or lures with minimum possibility of backlash.
Spiracle Opening behind the eye of rays, guitar fish, skates and some sharks and used for the intake of water.
Spoon A metal lure which now comes in many different shapes and sizes.
Squid A member of the Cephalopod family and very popular bait in salt water fishing. Most sea  fish eat squid and it is a preferred bait for bottom fishing from a boat.
Star Drag The adjustment piece of the reel, usually under the reel handle, to control the amount of drag. Many tackle manufacturers today,also have the lever drag model.
Strike Term used to describe the sudden upward and backward movement of the rod to set the hook in the mouth of a fish. Strike also means the indication of a fish, biting at the bait or lure.
Swivels Generally used as the connector between leader and main line that helps in preventing line twist from traveling up the line.
Tackle In fishing, usually referred to the hand held equipment of an angler, e.g. rod, reel, line, hook and sinker. Other fishing paraphernalia is also sometimes included when referring fishing tackle.
Taxidermy The art of stuffing and mounting fish and other animals.
Taxonomy Science of classifying animals.
Teaser A large hookless trolling lure that is trailed behind a fishing boat to help attract gamefish. They come in various shapes and sizes. Very popular for Marlin fishing is the bird teaser.
Terminal tackle Items attached to the end of fishing line such as leader, hooks, sinker swivel or lure.
Thermocline The region of abrupt temperature transition between the warm upper layers and the cold layers in a body of water. This is an area where fish are usually to be found in abundance.
Tip The top end of a rod.
Tip Top The end guide at the tip of the rod.
Trace Length of line to which a hook  is connected and generally of a lesser breaking strain than the main line.
Trawl Net A bag shaped fishing net which are dragged like dredgers along the bottom or through the water to catch fish and other aquatic organism.
Trolling To fish by pulling a lure or baited hook and line behind a  moving boat. Not to be confused with trawling.
Transom The flat aftermost part of a boat’s stern.
Transom Door A door in Ocean going fishing yachts that is used for landing big fish like Marlin and Tuna.
Tuna Tower A tall structure topped by a platform installed on sportfishing boats that is used for spotting and locating both fish and baitfish. Also see flying bridge.
Ventral fins A pair of small fins found just below the gill covers in some fish.
Viviparous Species that retain and develop embryos in body of  a female parent.
Wake Disturbance of the water surface caused by a boat’s passage and movement.
Wire trace A short length of wire to which the hook is attached. Used specially when the angler is targeting toothy fish. Also called leader wire.
Wreck fishing Usually carried out from large well-equipped charter boats in the offshore waters. The wrecks are ships that lie sunk in fairly deep water and have become home to a big variety of fish. Anglers usually locate ship wrecks by means of a GPS or a fish finder.
X or 2X or 5X Stands for extra strong. Usually refers to the strength of hooks. e.g.  5X means 5 times stronger than normal hooks. Used effectively by offshore anglers.
Zooplankton Protozoa and other animal micro-organisms living unattached in the water.

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