A woman holds a hefty bass she has just caught

Bass jargon: A primer on lunker language for the new bass angler

Bass fishing, like many other activities, has its own unique language. If you’re new to bass fishing or fishing in general, you might find yourself in a conversation about pigs or punching, not quite following how it relates to bass.

We have compiled a few common phrases, their definitions, and sentence examples to help eliminate the language barrier. Enjoy!

1. Hawg, pig, toad, bruiser, lunker, stud, wallhanger, hogzilla, big momma — slang words used to describe a really big bass

Example sentence: WDFW suggests buzz baits or Pop-R’s in the morning and evening to tag a hawg for Bass Week.

2. Blowdown — a shoreline tree that has fallen into the water; also known as a “laydown”

Example sentence: Hey Shannon, pitch that jig under that blowdown. If it hits, put the wood to it and get it away from the limbs!

3. Comeback lure — a lure intended for use immediately after a bass has struck at and missed a different lure; soft plastic baits are common comeback lures for anglers who have just missed bass on a spinnerbait or topwater lure

Example sentence: If a bass takes a swing at your buzz bait while fishing topwater, grab a second rod with a wacky rig senko as your comeback lure and cast it where he hit the buzz bait. The brute is most likely still there waiting for his next victim.

4. Cover — an object, such as vegetation, a stump, or rock, that creates an ambush point for a predator

Example sentence: Locating cover is key to finding bass. Look for weed lines, blowdowns, or docks.

5. Finesse fishing — technique by which small and/or slow-moving lures are used to generate feeding strikes from lethargic bass; commonly regarded as the opposite of power fishing

Example sentence: When the water temp is below 65 degrees, try finesse fishing with plastics on a drop-shot to coax out a whopper bass.

6. Pitch-skip — a presentation technique by which a lure is pitched and skips underneath overhanging cover such as a boat dock

Example sentence: Jim spotted a lunker under a dock, so he skipped a jig under it and the bass nailed it.

7. Pitching — a underhanded casting method which resembles a modified flipping cast; the bait is swung forward by raising the rod tip, and then allowed to travel forward by free-spooling the line; pitching is most commonly used to present a lure to targets that are just out of range of flipping

Example sentence: I was pitching jigs for some deep water smallies on Moses Lake.

8. Punching — technique for fishing heavy matted cover (generally vegetation) with a soft plastic lure by which a slip sinker is pegged to the bait and the bait is cast, flipped or pitched into cover so that the sinker pulls the bait through the cover canopy and to the desired area below

Example sentence: LOL … I was punching some mats with big jigs during the pre-spawn.

9. Reaction baits — lures fished in a way that causes a bass to strike out of reflex or surprise; spinnerbaits, crankbaits and lipless crankbaits are frequently fished in a manner designed to generate reaction bites

Example sentence: Shannon was really working those jerk baits looking for a reaction bite last night at Black Lake.

10. Split-shotting — a variation on slip-shotting utilizing a split shot pinched on the line above the hook; a finesse technique typically involving light line and small soft plastic baits

Example sentence: Sometimes on a Texas rig, the bullet weight is not subtle enough, so I change to split-shotting and that gets ’em to hit.

11. Stickworm — a slender, cigar-shaped soft plastic bait laden with salt or other materials to make it sink quickly; stickworms are typically Texas- or wacky-rigged and fished without a weight; the lure is cast, allowed to settle briefly, then lifted and allowed to sink again

Example sentence: The bite was really slow, so we fished slow with some stickworms.

12. Stinger hook — an extra hook attached to the back hook of a spinnerbait, buzz bait, or other lure designed to catch fish that miss the lure’s main hook

Example sentence: Dang, those bass are short-striking the baits. I’m gonna add a stinger hook to this spinner bait.

13. Structure — contour changes on the lake’s or stream’s substrate; channels, drop-offs, flats, and points are all examples of structure

Example sentence: One of the best ways to catch a hawg is to fish deep structure with a pig ’n’ jig.

14. Swinging — landing a bass by raising it into the boat or onto the bank with the rod; this practice is generally discouraged if the fish is allowed to fall to the deck of the boat or onto the bank since it could harm the fish and reduce its chances for survival once released

Example sentence: During the tournament, we couldn’t use nets, so we started swinging bass right into the live well.



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.