Coarse Fishing: Glossary of Fishing Terms


Anti-kink device

A gadget, either a small celluloid vane or a weight, that prevents a rotating spinning bait, such as a spoon, from putting twist into the line. Usually used with a swivel and attached between this and the reel line.

Arlesey Bomb

A special kind of pear-shaped weight with swivel attached. Used for legering. The line passes through the swivel eye.

Balanced bait

A bread bait made up so that it will just sink. This is achieved by making it part of dough paste and part of crumb or crust. When the bottom is covered with weed the bait will settle on top of it.

Bite alarms

Buzzer apparatus, often part of a rod rest and powered by a torch battery. Used to indicate a bite when night fishing, usually for carp.

Breaking strain

The maker’s estimate of the dry strength of his line. This is usually lower when the line is wet and is lowered still further by the addition of knots and, of course, by use.

Bubble float

A round, plastic float into which water can be put. Water gives weight for casting. Even when nearly full, the float won’t sink.


A large, cork, live-bait float for pike.


Ratchet to stop a reel rotating too freely. Coarse-fishing reels are made with an optional check that can be removed by movement of a button or catch.


Bored lead for legering, shaped as the name implies.


Celluloid quill, or wooden float device whose main purpose is to give weight for casting a light bait, such as a fly.

Coarse fishing

The term ‘coarse fish’ is applied to all British freshwater fish other than members of the Salmonidae family (which includes the trout and the grayling as well as the salmon).


To lower from a concealed position either a live or imitation bait, usually an insect, to a surface-feeding fish.

Dough bobbin

A lump of bread paste pinched on the line between reel and bottom rod ring, or between rod tip and water. Its sudden movement indicates a bite. Used when legering.


Device for easing the hook out of a fish’s mouth. Ferrule Brass male and female joint between sections of rod.

Fixed-spool reel

Casting reel in which the spool is set at right angles to the axis of the rod. Such reels are fitted with a pick-up for retrieving line and slipping clutch for slowing and tiring a powerful fish.


Bread bait made by slightly compressing the crumb of a new loaf.


A tackle designed to make a small natural bait spin and wobble.


Device, usually of celluloid, quill, or a combination of these with cork. Its main job is to indicate bites. In running water, floats are used to carry bait naturally to where the fish are feeding. There are many varieties, including : antenna, a float for windy days, with a long stem, designed to be fished with only this stem showing above the surface; self-cocking, a float that carries its own weights in the base; sliding, a float designed for use where the water depth is greater than the length of the rod in use. The slider surfaces after the cast and rests against a stop on the line.


A large barbless hook attached to a handle and used for landing heavy fish. Its use is to be discouraged in coarse fishing, where fish are normally returned to the water alive. It is perhaps permissible for landing pike, but only when the gaffing is done through the angle of the lower jawbone, where it does not harm the fish.


Another name for the maggots of bluebottle or housefly.


Putting into the water a substance similar to the bait used on the hook, but preferably less appetizing, the object being to attract fish into the angler’s swim.


A large sleeve-like net, closed at the bottom end, used for keeping the catch until the end of the day’s fishing. Small keep-nets should never be used; they damage fish. In fishing matches, the content of the net is weighed to decide the winner.


Fishing with a float but with bait and at least some of the weights on the bottom.


Fishing on the bottom with a weight through which the line passes. The weight is stopped from running down to the hook by a split-shot pinched on to the line. When a fish takes, it draws the line through the weight without feeling resistance.


A technique for ‘swimming’ float tackle as far as 54 m (60 yds) downstream to where the fish are feeding. This allows the angler to remain unseen. The float must be allowed to ‘trot’ naturally at the pace of the river.

Margin fishing

A technique used in carp fishing, usually at night. The angler sits with the wind in his face (so that surface food will be blown under his bank). He rests his rod with the tip just out over the water. He uses no weights, simply a large (8-4) hook stuck through a substantial lump of crust. Matchbox size is not too big. The crust is allowed to hang from the rod top, just touching the water. Carp and other fish will often take this.

Match fishing

Competition fishing. Each competitor’s catch is kept in his keep-net and the bag weighed at the end of; usually, five hours’ fishing.


Device for recovering tackle aught on an underwater obstruction.


Tackle designed for fishing a bait, often a small live-bait, at one precise spot, perhaps a small hole in a weed bed where a pike is known to lurk. The tackle ends in a weight. Above this, set at right angles to the line, are celluloid booms, or, more simply, lengths of fine wire or nylon. The bait is attached to a hook at the end of these and can thus only move round the axis of the vertical line running down to the weight.


The rotating arm of a fixed-spool reel. This is disengaged for casting but snaps back into position at the first half-turn of the reel handle on the retriever. The pick-up then connects with the line and pays it back on to the spool.

Pilot float

Small circular float used when live-baiting to keep the reel line between main float and rod on the surface.


Imitation of a small fish, usually of plastic, which wobbles and darts when retrieved. Plugs are made as floaters, slow-sinkers, and sinkers. In addition they have a diving-plate attached below the nose which makes them plunge and wobble. Used mainly for pike.


Cone-shaped weight with a metal loop in the top and cork set into the base. The hook is passed through the loop and stuck lightly into the cork. When the whole tackle is lowered into the water, the plummet will take the float under if it is not set high enough for the depth; the float will lie flat if it is set too high. By adjustment of the float and use of plummet the angler can gauge the exact depth of his swim throughout its length.


Technique used with small dead-bait such as minnow, and sometimes a worm, for perch or pike. The weighted fish is allowed to plunge to the bottom and is then retrieved in a sink-and-draw movement that often proves irresistible.


Tackle used in fishing live-bait for pike and consisting of two treble hooks, one of which is adjustable to size of bait. The hooks are mounted on wire.


To cast and retrieve an artificial bait or dead-bait in order to catch a predatory fish.


Small lead shot (sizes vary) slit so that it can be squeezed on to the line as weight.


Spinning bait whose body is roughly spoon-shaped.


A form of laying-on, sometimes known as tight-corking, in which a float is used and the line is kept taut between float and rod top. The bait and weights are fished on the bottom. The weights often consist of a small bored circular bullet placed between two split-shot which are pinched on to the line. These weights are allowed to move down the swim a little at a time. The line from bait to rod is kept straight at all times.


The act of raising or flicking the rod tip in response to a bite in order to drive the hook point and barb home.


The piece of river or lake bed over which the angler is fishing.


A perforated plastic cylinder attached to the line and acting as a leger weight. The cylinder is packed with ground-bait which is released slowly by action of the water, close to the hook-bait.

Swimming the stream

Trotting a bait at the pace of the current through your own swim.


A ‘false’ tip attached to the rod and made of floppy nylon so that it hangs loosely down. The line is threaded through the rings on this. When legering, this acts as a most sensitive bite-indicator since it swings at the slightest touch.


A small metal device to prevent the line becoming twisted. It has an eye at each end, each eye being free to rotate independently on a central mounting, often called the barrel. The most satisfactory kind are ball-bearing swivels.

Threadline reel

An out-of-date term for a fixed-spool reel.


To let out float gear freely for a long distance downstream.

15. July 2011 by admin
Categories: Coarse Fishing, Fish | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Coarse Fishing: Glossary of Fishing Terms


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