Bass fishing, like many other activities, has its own unique language. As such, if you are new to bass fishing or fishing in general, you may find yourself in a conversation about pigs or some guy named Ike, not quite following how it relates to bass.
We have compiled a few common phrases, their definitions, and sentence examples to help eliminate the translation 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. Backlash — an overrun of the spool of a baitcast reel caused by improper spool tension on the part of the angler
Example sentence: Jordan, I have a giant backlash here. You run the trolling motor ‘till I figure this out.
3. 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!
4. Brown fish and Green fish — slang terms for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, respectively
Example sentence: The only thing more fun than arguing about whether green or brown fish are better is catching them.
5. 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 top-water, 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..
6. Community hole — a well-known and frequently fished area where numerous anglers have had success
Example sentence: Yeah, I fish that point all the time, but it’s a community hole, so it gets a lot of fishing pressure. It’s still a great spot though.
7. 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.
8. Dead-sticking — technique by which a bait is cast and allowed to lie motionless (or with no motion imparted by the angler) for long periods of time
Example sentence: Heck, casting spinner baits was not producing, so we started dead sticking some plastics hoping those stingy smallies would wake up n’ hit.
9. 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.
10. Going Ike — screaming and cavorting in reaction to catching or losing a fish ala Michael Iaconelli
Example sentence: Daaaaaang… Look at Shannon going all Ike on that bass! That’s going straight on my YouTube!
11. Hole jumping — the practice of knowingly fishing a location that was previously discovered to be productive by someone else — usually another competitor in a tournament; it is generally considered to be unethical, though it may not be against any rules
Example sentence: Do not practice hole jumping, other anglers will not approve…
12. Honey hole — an extremely productive fishing spot
Example sentence: Wow, the honey hole is producing some pigs today on top water baits.
13. Lipping — landing a bass by grasping its lower lip between the thumb and fingers and pulling it from the water
Example sentence: Russ, watch out for the hooks on those crankbaits when you’re lipping these bass; they’re awfully sharp.
14. Mat — vegetation growing from the bottom of a lake or stream that has reached the surface and spread out to create a dense canopy; this cover can provide excellent shelter for bass; mats are typically fished using the pitching and flipping techniques
Example sentence: I was skipping a frog across the mats when a pig nailed it from the deep cover.
15. Match the hatch — mimicking the size and color of insects, baitfish or other prey; a term popularized by fly fishermen targeting trout feeding on insect hatches, but applicable to all types of fishing
Example sentence:While we were pitching jigs, there was a fly fisherman trying to match the hatch of bass fry.
16. Pattern — the exact set of water conditions such as depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity, currents, etc., which attracts fish to a specific location and to other similar locations all over the same body of water; first defined by Roland Martin in 1969
Example sentence: Jim and Lisa locked into a great afternoon pattern that allowed them to fill out their limit and win the tournament
17. Pegging — affixing a weight to the fishing line so that it cannot slide up or down the line; pegging is typically accomplished with a toothpick, rubber peg or strips of rubber
Example sentence: By using the pegging method on a Texas-rigged soft plastic, I was able to fish my bait around the cover without catching as much grass and weeds.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Pound-test — the point at which line breaks when pulled with a specific amount of tension
Example sentence: Try10-pound test mono for topwater bass fishing.
21. Power fishing — technique by which large and/or fast-moving lures are used to create reaction strikes from bass; commonly regarded as the opposite of finesse fishing
Example sentence: LOL… This tournament will require some serious power fishing to cover the weed mats and lily pads.
22. Pre-fishing — practicing for a tournament
Example sentence: I had a great prefishing weekend before the tournament, but the weather conditions changed, and the fish I had found were gone a week later.
23. Prespawn — the period shortly before spawning begins when big bass typically invade shallow water and feed voraciously
Example sentence: Kate and I are going to fish the pre-spawn to hook up with some of those tanker fish.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. Slaunch- What famous bass angler, Mark Zona, uses to describe a large bass.
Example sentence: Dude! That is a SLAUNCH!
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. Stinger hook — an extra hook attached to the back hook of a spinnerbait, buzzbait, 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.
30. Strike zone — the area around an individual bass in which the fish will strike a lure; if a fish is willing to swim away from its ambush spot to hit a lure, it is said to have a large strike zone
Example sentence: I was fishing for smallies with a suspending jerk bait, but I was out of the strike zone and had to switch lures.
31. Structure — contour changes on the lake’s or stream’s substrate; channels, dropoffs, 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.
32. Suspended — condition used to describe bass that are holding at some point in the water column between the surface and the bottom
Example sentence: We noticed the fish were suspended on the fish finder, so we switched to some vertical jigging.
33. 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.
34. Thermocline — a distinct layer in the water column in which temperature changes rapidly with depth, from a warm (less dense) surface layer to a cold, dense bottom layer; bass will often hang out near this layer during the heat of the summer
Example sentence:The thermocline was at 16 feet and the smallies were just under it according to the fish finder.
35. Topwater lure — an artificial bait fished across the surface of the water; typically, a floating lure
Example sentence: As soon as the sun went down, we started casting some top water buzz baits and the bite took off!
36. Trailer — a hook, spinner blade, pork rind/frog or soft plastic bait attached to the back hook of a lure and designed to provide extra attraction
Example sentence: The spinner bait was not really producing, so we added a small trailer and the bite was on!
37. Weedguard — a device, usually plastic or wire, affixed to a lure so as to cover the hook point(s), thereby making it relatively snagless
Example sentence:The mats were so thick that we went weedless to keep that salad off the hook.
38. Water column — the vertical cross section of a water body
Example sentence: The water column had some color in it, so we went to a black spinner bait and started tagging some fish.