A crankbait is not a night crawler with an attitude. And fish beds don't have mattresses.
A novice angler eavesdropping on a conversation between veteran hooks is apt to hear confusing fish-speak.
Like any sport, fishing has its own lingo and it often changes, although more slowly than the tides. So, let's review a few common angling terms:
Backlash: A tangle of fishing line in a reel caused by poor or novice casting skills. When a skilled caster, such as myself suffers tangled line, it's called a professional overrun.
Bag limit: The number of fish that may be kept legally.
Baitcaster: A type of reel where the spool turns to release line; the spool is controlled by the thumb.
Bar: An underwater ridge in a lake that tends to attract fish. If there's no fish, the angler seeks a different type of bar on land.
Beds: Circular shapes on the bottom, created by various fish species, to lay eggs.
Ballbearings: Small metal balls that make a reel work smoothly. Typically, the more ballbearings, the better the reel.
Birdnest: See Backlash.
Breakline: An abrupt change in bottom depth or content that may attract fish.
Chum: Chopped fish or other fish food dispersed into the water to attract gamefish. A seasick fishing partner also is capable of dispersing chum.
Disgorger: A hook remover.
Drag: The brake on a reel spool that can be set to prevent fish from breaking your line.
Drift anchor: A parachute like bag that slows a boat's drift while fishing in windy conditions.
Eddy: A calm area of river alongside a river current that often attracts fish, especially where the water changes direction.
Felt soles: Used on wading shoes or boots for traction on slippery rock. And it works.
Float: A fancy name for a bobber, which is a fancy name for a fish-strike indicator.
Fluorocarbon: New fishing line material largely invisible underwater.
Hawg: A really big lunker.
Hen: A female fish.
Jerkbait: A lure type that is twitched or jerked to impart action, hence the name.
Lunker: See Hawg.
Structure: Any change in bottom depth or material that may attract fish, such as drop-offs, rockpiles, weedbeds and docks.
Weedline: Depth in water, shallow or deep, at which aquatic vegetation quits growing. Weedline points and inside bends are fish attractants.
Writers: Many words; fewer fish.
Ron Schara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schara's 250-page book, "Ron Schara's Minnesota Fishing Guide" (Tristan Outdoors; $19.95) is available by clicking here or by calling 888-755-3155.