My father introduced me to fishing when I was five years old and ever since then I have been in love with competitive bass fishing. I still remember waking up early to watch The Bassmasters on a Saturday, while other kids were watching cartoons I was watching Mike Iaconelli break dance on the front of his boat. I started entering into my own tournaments when I was 16 and since then I have not looked back. I fished with Penn State for three years and traveled up and down the east coast. I have extensive knowledge of Northeastern lakes/reservoirs and have recently been getting into Ice fishing. Now that I have graduated, I plan to begin fishing BFL’s and Costa events in order to try and live out my dream of fishing for a living. Stephen serves as an ANGLR expert to help the ANGLR community constantly improve.
Bass Fishing Lingo: Fishing Words That Indicate a Bass of Substantial Size
Spotzilla – Noun
Definition: In reference to godzilla, spotzilla is used to describe a giant spotted bass. Example: “It’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s spotzillllaaaa!!! Check out the size of that spotted bass!”
Unit – Noun
Definition: When someone is talking about a unit they are usually describing a mechanical machine that is large in size, so bass fisherman took this word and use it to describe any type of fish that is huge for that species of fish. Example: “Look at the size of that largemouth, it looks like it’s the size of a fridge!!!… Yeah man, it’s an absolute unit!”
Spotapotamus – Noun
Definition: References a hippopotamus because they are known to grow to such huge size, spotapotamus refers to a large spotted bass. Example: “Is that a hippo on the end of your line?….No man, it’s a giant spotted bass, it’s SPOTAPOTAMUS!”
Fence Panda – Noun
Definition: Mostly used in the southern states to describe a largemouth bass weighing over 5 pounds because pandas are known for their large size and the lateral line of a big largemouth looks like a fence. Therefore, someone came up with fence panda… Example: “Did you hear about how down south, they are calling big largemouth fence pandas? Anglers come up with some of the most crazy names for big largemouth, they’re definitely one of a kind.”
Pig – Noun
Definition: Any species of bass with a huge gut and weighing over 5 pounds is often referred to as a pig because pigs are known for their substantial size and huge pot bellies.
Example: “That fish should have been oinking when you flipped it in the bottom because it’s an absolute pig!! Look at the stomach on that thing!”
Piglet – Noun
Definition: Any species of bass under 5 pounds but still has a huge gut, an example would be a 14-inch fish that weighs 3 pounds. In reference to piglets that are baby pigs but still known for having huge pot bellies.
Example: “Look at the belly on that fish, it’s too bad it wasn’t a couple inches longer it would of weighed over 5 pounds! But instead it’s just a little piglet.”
Toad – Noun
Definition: In reference to one of the most common frog species, the toad are known to be a lot bigger in size. This can refer to any species of bass that an angler catches and he/she thinks that is substantial in size.
Example: “Did you just see that smallmouth that guy weighed in?, it was a toad man!! I think the scale read it at 5.2 pounds!”
Hawg – Noun
Definition: Hogs are known to be a feisty and aggressive animal, just like a large bass. Large bass usually fight harder than smaller bass giving the impression that they are a lot meaner, so hawg became a term to describe a bass of any species that is big and fights hard. For some reason fisherman also decided to spell it h-a-w-g, that reason is unknown.
Example: “This fish is fighting like a hawg, I guarantee this fish is going to weigh over 6 pounds!”
Swamp Donkey – Noun
Definition: Donkeys are known for their kicking strength when they get aggravated, similar to how a big bass is known to fight when it gets hooked while in vegetation. In thick vegetation, it could look like a swamp. So, a swamp donkey usually refers to a largemouth bass of substantial size that is caught in thick vegetation. It’s associated mainly with largemouth because these are the most common of the bass species to habit thick vegetation.
Example: “This 5 pound largemouth I’m weighing in.. I caught him in 2-feet of water in some thick weeds, straight swamp donkeys are living up there shallow in those weeds.”
Hydrilla Gorilla – Noun
Definition: Hydrilla is a type of vegetation that grows in the water, known for holding largemouth bass. Gorillas are known for their size and strength. So, a hydrilla gorilla was deemed a phrase to describe a huge largemouth bass that is caught while fishing hydrilla, because these fish usually fight hard with the strength of a gorilla (in comparison to size versus strength). Example: “I fished hydrilla grass all morning without a bite and as soon as the sun got up, the hydrilla gorillas came out to play. I caught 3 fish over 5 pounds in less than an hour!”
Biggin’ – Noun
Definition: Any species of bass that is considered by the angler to be big. A stereotype of fisherman are that they are sometimes lazy, and this term, created by anglers, fits that stereotype because instead of saying “big fish” they will just say biggin’.
Example: “WOW Derek it looks like you might have a big fish on the end of your line the way that it is fighting…” Derek responds with: “Yeah dude, it’s a BIGGIN’!!”
Kicker – Noun
Definition: The word kicker has many definitions but one of them is often used to describe something that changes everything, “The kicker of the day was I forgot my wallet so I ran out of gas on my way home from work.” In bass fishing, kicker is used to describe a fish that changed how the day was or how the tournament went. If an angler was only catching small fish all day but then caught one huge bass, that bass would be the kicker or if an angler is fishing a tournament and has 4-small to medium sized fish but one large fish, the large fish would be described as their kicker fish that gave them a decent limit instead of a really small limit.
Example: “I have a decent limit to weigh-in today for the tournament, it would have been a really small limit but thankfully, I was able to catch one kicker fish to go with it that really boosted my total weight.”
Big Mama – Noun
Definition: This phrase comes from pro angler, Morizo Shimizu. Morizo is known for speaking English fluently, and made this phrase famous in Bassmaster Elite Series weigh-in where he weighed in a gigantic fish. He proceeded to repeatedly call it “Big Mama”. Although, no one really knows where it came from, it became a very popular phrase in the fishing world and anglers all over the world are calling big bass over 5-pounds, big mamas.
Example: “Unfortunately, the big mamas did not come out to play today. For some reason I could not catch a big fish to save my life. Next time though, maybe I’ll get to hook into a BIG MAMA!”
Walmart Girl – Noun
Definition: Stereotype or not, Walmart for some reason is known for having overly obese people walking around the store at any given time. So anglers took this stereotype and started calling any bass they considered big, “Walmart Girls”.
Example: “We might as well have caught this fish while fishing down the isles at Walmart because this thing is huge!! It’s a straight Walmart girl!!”
Fatty Patty – Noun
Definition: For some unknown reason, peoples use the phrase ‘fatty patty’ to describe a person that is large in size, so fisherman took the phrase and put it into the fishing world using ‘fatty patty’ to describe any bass that they feel has a large stomach and weighs a lot.
Example: “I caught this fatty patty in 20-feet of water, she must have been just sitting on the bottom eating anything and everything that came by her face. She’s so big!!”
Tank – Noun
Definition: Military tanks are known for being gigantic in size, so anglers use this word to describe any bass that they consider to be large or “built like a tank”. Commonly used to describe a hard fighting, tough bass.
Example: “Take a look at this picture of this smallmouth I got from the Susquehanna River, it is a complete tank and when I hooked into him I could barely even move him at first until he took off running.”
Slaunch – Noun
Definition: Famous bass angler, Mark Zona, uses this term to describe any bass he considers to be big. No one really knows where it came from or why he uses it, but any angler that has ever seen one of his shows has heard him say it and knows he uses it when talking about a large bass. So now anglers all over the country call big bass “slaunch nasties”.
Example: “As soon as I hooked into that fish, I knew it was going to be a straight up slaunch nasty. I got it to the boat and it took off digging underneath the boat, if that isn’t a famous move of a slaunch, I don’t know what is.”
Big Bertha – Noun
Definition: Somehow a stereotype was given to the name Bertha, and implies that any woman named Bertha is a big female. Although, this stereotype isn’t always 100% true, it is still well known and therefore anglers began calling big female bass “Big Berthas”.
Example: “I’m going out fishing today with one goal in mind, and that is to find Big Bertha! I don’t care if I only catch one fish just as long as it is big bertha, I will be content with the day of fishing.”
Stud – Noun
Definition: Used to describe any bass species that is substantial in size. Stud is often used in the regular world as a word to describe a guy that is good looking and has his life together, so anglers took this world and decided to relate it to the bass fishing world by calling large fish studs because they are big and healthy. Example: “Look how healthy and big this smallmouth is! He is a stud man!! Such a beautiful and girthy fish!”
Chapter 2 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Fishing Terms Used To Describe a Bass or Bass Behavior
Bass Fishing Lingo: Fishing Terms Used To Describe a Bass or Bass Behavior
Buck Bass – Noun
Definition: Bass that are young and therefore are small in size. They are usually the fish that start eating in the fall and spring before the bigger fish begin to feed heavily. Example: “The only thing hitting today were the buck bass, I couldn’t catch a nice fish to save my life.”
On Bed – Verb
Definition: Used to describe a fish that is reproducing. Bass make beds in the water to lay eggs and will protect these beds until the fry are ready to swim away on their own. When a fish is guarding this bed, they are usually described as being ‘on bed’.
Example: “Found some real nice fish on bed yesterday that I pitched to, but the only thing they would eat was a white craw.”
A Lazy Larry – Adjective
Definition: Used to describe a largemouth bass because they are known to not be as active as other species of bass. They like to hangout around structure a lot and just sit there until something passes by to eat. This is thought to make them easier to catch and thus the nickname ‘Lazy Larry’ was born. Example: “I couldn’t get any smallmouth to eat so I bailed and went fishing the weeds for some lazy Larry’s. I knew I could get those fish to eat.”
Green Fish – Adjective
Definition: Another term used to describe a largemouth because of their distinct green color compared to the other species of bass.
Example: “I’d rather catch green fish all day than go after those brown or spotted fish.”
Brown Fish – Adjective
Definition: Term used to describe a smallmouth bass because of their distinct brown color when compared to other bass species.
Example: “These brown fish are so much more beautiful than the other types of bass.”
Bronzeback – Adjective
Definition: Smallmouth bass can easily be identified from other bass species because of their distinct colors and markings. One of these characteristics is their all brown back that usually always looks bronze, especially on a sunny day. Therefore many anglers will call these fish “bronzebacks”.
Example: “Even though I know largemouth will probably win the tournament, I can’t help but to go out and target the bronzebacks. They are such a beautiful fish with their bronzeback glistening in the sun, I believe it is definitely worth the risk of not winning just to catch a couple smallmouth.”
Line Burner – Adjective
Definition: When a fish is right on the line of being a keeper. Say the legal limit for fish on the water you are fishing, a line burner would be a fish whose tail just barely touches 12-inches on the ruler.
Example: “This fish just barely touched the 12-inch line, he’s definitely a line burner.”
Dirty Thirty – Noun
Definition: Slang for a 5 fish limit weighed on a scale that reads over 30-pounds. Known to be tremendously hard to pull off. Example: “I weighed in 28 pounds today during the tournament, I was one quality bite away from pulling off the dirty thirty.”
Dinks – Noun
Definition: Bass that are not of legal size and therefore cannot be weighed in for a tournament or kept. If the legal size to keep a fish is 12-inches on a body of water, a dink would be any fish that is lesser in size than 12-inches.
Example: “I could not get a keeper bite to save my life today, I was plagued by catching dink after dink.”
Football – Adjective
Definition: Used to describe a smallmouth bass that is fat. When a smallmouth gets fat, their shape resembles a football, kind of like a compressed oval. They are known for looking like a football especially when they are in the 3.5 to 4 pound range.
Example: “I got into a school of football sized smallmouth today, and it was just catch after catch of exactly identical footballs. Their weight only varied by a couple of ounces.”
Lunker – Adjective
Definition: Term used to describe the biggest fish weighed in during a tournament or the biggest fish caught throughout the day when fun fishing. Besides placing in a tournament, usually another way an angler can win money in a tournament is by catching the biggest fish.
Example #1: “I didn’t win the tournament today but I cashed a check by catching the lunker that weighed in at 6-pounds and 2-ounces. It was by far the biggest fish caught throughout the day.”
Example #2: “I went out fun fishing today and my lunker was a 4-pound smallmouth, my second biggest fish was only 2-pounds.”
Schoolers – Noun
Definition: Bass are one of the species of fish that will sometimes swim together in a big group in order to chase down and trap baitfish to eat. In a lake or body of water, there could be fish that are running in a school and fish that are swimming alone in different parts of that body of water. The fish that are running together are often called “schoolers” by anglers and usually act this way in order to attack baitfish. It is almost similar to how wolves form a pack to make it easier to hunt prey, the same works with bass.
Example: “I don’t feel like fishing the weeds today and trying to catch individual fish here and there, I’m going to go out and chase schoolers. Hopefully I run into a big school and can fill the boat with fish in just a couple of casts.”
Spare Change – Adjective
Definition: Nickname for a school of baitfish because when you see them at the surface of the water their flashes make it look as if there are a ton of quarters in the water or any type of silver change.
Example: “Holy cow Matt, look at all of that spare change over there on the surface! Something must being chasing them to make them come up like that, we better get over there.”
Decoy Bass – Adjective
Definition: Quite possibly the worst kind of fish to catch. This term is used to describe a fish that an angler catches that ends up misleading him/her. An example of this would be an angler catching a fish while first trying to fish a weed bed and they catch a fish quickly on a certain lure or technique leading them to believe that this is going to be a pattern in which they can catch multiple fish… just to try it for hours and not get another bite. Basically a ‘fluke’ fish catch.
Example: “I hate nothing more than a darn decoy bass, I wasted my whole day drop-shotting in 30-feet of water because my first cast this morning in deep water, I caught a 5 pounder. I figured this couldn’t just be luck so I fished deep for the rest of the day without another bite. Turns out, that 5 pounder was just a decoy bass!”
Bottom Dweller – Adjective
Definition: Describes any type of fish that is in deep water and on the bottom, (not suspended in the water column.) Mostly commonly used to describe fish such as walleye, catfish, or carp because they spend most of their lives relating to the bottom of the body of water, but in some cases anglers will refer to bass as bottom dwellers as well because they, (especially smallmouth) are known to sit on the bottom in some circumstances.
Example: “I caught a straight up bottom dweller today, this smallmouth was so dark it looked like it has been living at the depths of this lake for a very long time. Like it has just been sitting on the bottom behind a rock it’s whole life.”
Wolfpack – Noun
Definition: Usually used to describe smallmouth bass that group up and swim together in a body of water. Because they are known for being fast and aggressive, especially while there are a bunch of them moving together, many anglers will call this group of smallmouth a wolf pack.
Example: “I was fishing up shallow today, not catching anything and then I looked over and saw a wolf pack of smallmouth swimming by chasing baitfish. I immediately threw a swimbait in that direction and was able to catch three fish in three casts. When those things get in a pack they will devour anything in their path, i’d hate to be something running from them.”
Trash Fish – Adjective
Definition: Used to describe any type of fish that is not a bass and cannot be weighed in during a tournament. More commonly used to describe fish such as catfish, carp, and suckers although it is sometimes used to describe panfish also. They are called trash because they are basically useless during a tournament situation and these fish can get an angler excited while hooked until the angler realizes they are not the desired species.
Example: “All I caught today was trash fish, if it was a catfish tournament I would have won!”
Toothy Critter – Adjective
Definition: Describes any fish that has teeth that can easily bite through the line that anglers use when fishing for bass. Examples include: musky, walleye, pickerel, and pike. This term is commonly used to help an angler feel better when breaking off a fish when they are not certain what it was.
Example: “I broke off a real nice fish early in the morning but it must have been a toothy critter, no way it could have been a bass!”
Snake – Adjective
Definition: Another term for a pickerel because they are usually long and skinny and slither through the weeds like a snake. Snakes are commonly used as symbols for something that is unpleasant and in the bass fishing world, pickerel are usually highly hated because they are known for stealing baits and hurting fish populations by eating their young.
Example: “I lost my best and most expensive buzzbait today to a snake, man do I hate those things. I have lost so many baits to them over the years, I don’t want to even think about the money they stole off of me from lost baits.”
Chapter 3 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used in Fishing Events and Describing Anglers
Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used in Fishing Events and Describing Anglers
Derby – Noun
Definition: Term used to replace tournament.
Example: “How’d you do in the derby today?”
Patch Pirate – Noun
Definition: Someone who takes sponsorships from any company that offers them. Fishing etiquette is to represent companies that you believe in and used their products before they sponsored you. Unfortunately there are many companies now that will sponsor just about anyone that emails them. Patch pirates will represent all of these companies and therefore will be wearing a jersey full of companies. Basically implying that he/she only took the sponsorship to be able to put logos on their jersey.
Example: “Look at all those sponsors on that guys jersey, he must be a really good fisherman!! … No, he’s just a patch pirate, he’s never actually won anything.”
Hammer – Adjective
Definition: Refers to a dominate angler that can catch fish in many different situations and is very good at fishing. A hammer is a symbol of dominance in the world, and that goes the same with fishing.
Example: “That guy is a hammer in New York, he is literally impossible to beat. He can catch fish in all situations and is always near the top of the leaderboard in tournaments.”
Stick – Adjective
Definition: Stick is another term used to describe an angler that is very good at fishing, the word comes from a fishing pole looking like a stick and basically means that a person is very good at catching fish when there is a fishing pole in their hand. Unlike hammer, stick is used more often to describe someone that is good at fishing on a certain body of water.
Example: “Johnny is a stick on Harvey’s Lake, he could catch fish any time of the year out there and is basically unbeatable in the tournaments.”
Locals – Noun
Definition: Describes fishermen that live in the area and fish the waters a lot. This term is used to describe the people that live in an area in which an angler has traveled to to fish a tournament If an angler travels from Alabama to New York to fish a tournament, he might refer to the fishermen that live on/near the lake in New York as locals. It also means that they probably fish that body of water a lot more than the anglers traveling there and therefore know more about it and how to catch the fish better.
Example: “I’m going up a couple of days early before the tournament to follow the locals around and see where they go and what they do to catch fish, in order to improve my chances at winning the tournament.”
White Caps – Noun
Definition: This is used to describe the lake when it is really windy and there are huge waves on the water. When the waves get big enough, the tops of them look white when they are building up, so people started describing big waves as white caps.
Example: “There’s white caps out on the main lake today, I think it would be a good idea to stay in and fish the coves so that we don’t get blown around or take water on in the new boat.”
On the Bubble – Adverb
Definition: In a multiple day fishing tournament, being on the bubble is used to describe a situation in which he/she is sitting on the cutline. For example if there are 100 boats in a tournament and they are paying out 20 places after the tournament is over, an angler on the bubble would be in 20th place after day one. Picture a bubble, it’s fragile and round, if you were standing on it and it popped you don’t know which way you are going to fall… so angler’s use it to describe a situation in which they could not cash a check just as easy as they could cash one because they are sitting directly on the line.
Example: “I’m sitting in 50th place after day one, which is the cutline for after tomorrow. I hate being on the bubble because I could just as easily get bumped out of the top 50 as I could make it in. I’d much more prefer to be in the 30’s so I have a little bit more cushion to screw up and still make that top 50. Sitting on the bubble means one little flaw tomorrow and I’m out, talk about nerve wrecking.”
Definition: The cutline in the tournament is when a multiple day tournament cuts the field after a certain number of tournament days. For instance, an angler may fish a tournament with 150 boats and it is 3 days long. After day 1 they cut the number of boats to 50 and after day 2 they cut the number of boats to 12 so the cutline would be 50 after day one and 12 after day 2. It usually also indicates the cut for cashing a check or not.
Example: “The cutline for after day one is 50, so that means only the top 50 out of the 125 boats fishing are going to fish day two. My goal is to make it into that top 50 so I can at least fish two days out of this trip and then I’ll worry about trying to win after I make the second day.”
GOAT – Adjective
Definition: Kevin VanDam aka “Greatest Of All Time”.
Example: “You know how people say Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball? Well Kevin Van Dam is the Michael Jordan of competitive bass fishing. He is definitely the GOAT!”
Skunk/Skunked – Adjective
Definition: Refers to a day on the water or in a tournament where an angler doesn’t catch one single keeper bass. Anglers call this “getting skunked” because they are implying that they stink (suck) at fishing.
Example: “We went out fishing for 8 hours today but the conditions ended up being really rough, the wind was blowing really hard and we had problems getting our bait to hit the bottom where the fish were staged. We ended up not catching anything and getting skunked for the day, but at least tomorrow is another day.”
Pre-Fish – Verb
Definition: Tournament anglers use this to describe any days that they fish the body of water before the actual tournament is held. During this time, anglers are trying to find ways and different areas on the lake that they can fish in order to do well when the actual tournament is going on. When using pre-fish, they could be talking about the days leading up to the tournament or even if they were on the lake two months before the tournament.
Example: “I’m going to travel down south a week early before the tournament to pre-fish a little bit before the actual tournament starts. I have never been on the lake before, so I want to spend quite a bit of time pre-fishing to try and find some fish so I don’t go blind into tournament day.”
Goose Egg – Noun
Definition: When an angler or team has yet to catch a fish during the day or in a tournament. A goose egg looks like a zero, which is why it is used to indicate not catching anything.
Example: “We have a big old goose egg in the boat after fishing for four hours.”
Caged Fish – Adjective
Definition: Just like any other sport, fishing tournaments have had anglers who have tried to cheat. One of the more popular ways anglers have been caught cheating is by “caging fish”. They go out before the tournament, catch giant fish or bring giant fish with them and put them in a cage and sink it somewhere only they know about on the lake. During the tournament they pull the cage up and put the fish in their livewell. You may hear on the dock from time to time “oh, he must be caging his fish” as this is a common accusation when an angler does well in multiple tournaments, more than likely it is a joke as there are not too many anglers that would actually try this in today’s fishing world.
Example: “That guy has won 5 tournaments in a row, all on different bodies of water. He must be caging fish somewhere, someone might want to keep an eye on him next tournament to make sure that he isn’t cheating somehow and find out if he really is that good.”
Unit Magnet – Noun
Definition: Describes anything in the water that could take out the lower unit of your boat motor. Most commonly used to describe floating debris such as logs but can also be used to describe rock shoals, stumps, or boulders in the water. If an angler hits any of these while running the motor, more than likely it will ruin the motor by ripping the lower unit off.
Example: “Be careful on the river today, that big storm raised the water level and there are unit magnets floating all over the place. Some of the logs are just under the surface and you won’t be able to see them until it’s too late.”
Livewell Check – Noun
Definition: Before a tournament starts, at the launch area in the morning, boaters are usually required to go through a livewell check. This is where the tournament director checks every angler’s livewell with a flashlight to ensure that they are all empty and no one is trying to cheat by bringing fish with them before the tournament even starts, or keeping live bait in there to fish with.
Example: “Don’t forget that we have to show up at least five minutes before launch tomorrow morning for livewell check. The tournament director won’t let a boat drop into the water until he personally checks each and every livewell to make sure they are completely empty.”
Chapter 4 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used To Describe Fishing Locations
Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used To Describe Fishing Locations
Blowdown – Noun
Definition: A tree that has fallen over on land but some portion of it fell in the water, producing very nice structure for predatory fish like a bass to use as an ambush point. Typically referred to as blowdowns because wind is usually what causes these trees to fall in the water.
Example: “I found a nice blowdown back in this crick and was able to catch a bunch of quality fish around it’s limbs.”
Community Hole – Noun
Definition: A fishing spot on a body of water that holds fish but everyone knows about it. No one can claim these spots as their own and usually during tournament day there are a bunch of anglers sharing these spots.
Example: “Did you find anything during practice or are you just going to go to one of the community holes and try to catch a limit?”
Honey Hole – Noun
Definition: Used to describe a spot on a body of water that an angler finds and has to himself that is loaded with fish, usually of quality.
Example: “I found a honey hole in practice that allowed me to finish really well in the tournament.”
Cabbage Patch – Noun
Definition: This refers to an extremely tough grass that is different than most grass in that it needs to be punched with a heavy weight in order to get through it. Usually requires heavy line and heavy lures.
Example: “All of the grass in the bay looked the same until I found a cabbage patch in the back. The fish were everywhere in there!”
The Salad – Noun
Definition: Thick matted vegetation on top of the waters surface can often be referred to as salad. The salad is mainly used to refer to lily pads also because the pads and matted vegetation could sometimes look like lettuce on top of the surface.
Example: “I fished deep in the afternoon but my morning spot is what ended up producing all of my bigger fish. My morning spot was fishing up on a flat that was loaded with the salad. The fish just love to be in that sloppy green stuff.”
Driving the Greens – Verb
Definition: Used by anglers to describe a situation in which they are surrounded by and fishing in weeds in clear water. Because the weeds are usually bright green, it kind of looks like you’re sitting in the middle of a golf course in your boat.
Example: “He was out fishing deep in the beginning of the tournament, and then he decided to go in shallow and drive the the greens, that’s when he started doing really well.”
The Sauce – Noun
Definition: This phrase refers to any fishing spot that an angler thinks is really good, in terms of number of fish able to be caught there and the size of the fish. The sauce is a fishing spot that tends to always be good, and may be good for years to come. If an angler calls a spot they are fishing the sauce, it means that they believe they found one of, if not, the best fishing spots on that body of water and it is going to continue being the best for years to come.
Example: “I was idling around graphing a rock shoal earlier and I think I found the sauce in 25 feet of water. There is literally a big pile of boulders with nothing else around it and it had fish all over it. It definitely will hold fish there at any point in time and will be more consistent than anything else on the lake.”
The Juice – Noun
Definition: This phrase, like the sauce, refers to any fishing spot that an angler thinks is really good in terms of number of fish being able to be caught there and the size of the fish. The main difference is that the juice is usually temporary, only lasting for that day, a couple of days, or a week at most. If an angler calls a spot they are fishing the juice, it means that they believe they found one of, if not, the best fishing spots on that body of water but it could not be the best spot in on a different day.
Example: While fishing in Georgia, Stephen and Ryan found the juice on the Ogeechee river. They caught 30 pounds of fish in 5 casts, and they knew right then and there they stumbled on a special area. They are uncertain if this spot will consistently produce these results, but on that magical day, they truly found the juice.
Bait Eater – Noun
Definition: This phrase refers to anything in or out of the water that an angler can easily get their bait stuck on. This could be docks, rock piles, trees over hanging the water, trees in the water, stumps, etc. The phrase bait eater came about because usually these hangups result in the angler breaking their line and therefore losing their bait as if the structure “ate their bait”.
Example: “I knew there were fish in this tree that fell over in the water but there were branches below the water that I could not see and those things were straight bait eaters. I lost jigs on 4 consecutive casts, blind casting in there until I realized what was going on. That’s when I realized what was eating all of my jigs.”
Chapter 5 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Actions Taken by Anglers
Definition: Describes a type of top water tactic where the lure is walked on the surface in a side to side approach. Because of the line attached to the lure and the effort the angler puts into getting the lure to go back and forth at a certain speed, it is referred to as walking the dog.
Example: “Instead of just reeling my topwater in today I decided to walk to the dog and it really produced a lot more bites.”
Dropped a Fish – Verb
Definition: Another phrase for breaking off a fish or having a fish come off at the boat, the angler isn’t actually dropping a fish in the water but the way that a fish breaks off or jumps off the line, anglers describe it as “dropping a fish” that they should have had in the boat.
Example: “I weighed in 15-pounds today which was good but I could of weighed in 18-pounds if I didn’t drop a 4-pound fish right next to the boat. I got him all the way up and he just popped off, I checked my hook and for some reason it was not sharp at all.”
Throwing a Turd – Verb
Definition: Throwing a bait on the market called TRD (the reel deal), it’s a small straight worm that looks like a little turd.
Example: “The fishing is a little finicky today, maybe we should try throwing the turd to see if they want something more finesse.”
Bump the Stump – Verb
Definition: Using moving baits to run into stumps in the water on purpose causing a deflection and a reaction strike from the fish. Mainly crankbaits and chatterbaits are used for this technique.
Example: “They wouldn’t eat anything so I had to try to get a reaction strike by bumping the stump.”
Sticking Fat Girls – Verb
Definition: When an angler is catching big fish, he/she might refer to it as sticking fat girls. In this case sticking means hooking, and fat girls are used to describe fish that are large in size.
Example: “I was on the lake all day sticking fat girls, you should have seen the size of these fish I was catching!”
Jaw Jacking Giants – Verb
Definition: This term is similar to “sticking fat girls” in that jaw jacking refers to hooking fish, but in an intense way like you would while flipping or pitching.
Example: “They wouldn’t eat the drop shot, but as soon as I started flipping a creature bait into the weeds, I was jaw jacking giants left and right.”
Rippin’ Lips – Verb
Definition: Refers to hooking fish because of the way the hook rips their lips when the fish becomes hooked. This is usually used in a way to describe a situation in which an angler is catching a lot of fish.
Example: “I went to one of the best bass fisheries ever, I was rippin’ lips all day, it was so much fun!”
Leaning on Biggins – Verb
Definition: Used for a situation in which an angler is flipping/pitching or any technique in which a giant hookset can occur. Biggins means huge fish and leaning refers to when an angler has his back bent and is leaning backwards during the hookset.
Example: “Enough with this finesse fishing out here in deep water, I want to go shallow and lean on some biggins.”
Sacked Em’ Up – Verb
Definition: Anglers use this phrase to describe a situation in which they caught a lot of bass, and usually a lot of big bass. The phrase comes from the weigh-in bag used in tournaments looking like a sack, so when an angler says that they “sacked em’ up” it means that they caught a ton of fish that would fill their weigh-in bag to the brim.
Example: “We went out today during the tournament and my partner and I really sacked em’ up, we caught a ton of fish and I think we really have a chance to win the tournament.”
Gunneled – Verb
Definition: When an angler hits a fish off the side of the boat while trying to swing the fish in, it is referred to as ‘gunneling’ the fish because the side of the boat is known as the gunnel. The fish usually smacks the side hard, and is never done on purpose as the fish could pop off the line when this happens.
Example: “Derek got so excited when he hooked into that 4-pounder that he tried to flip it into the boat immediately and gunneled it. He hit it so hard off the side of the boat that it stunned the fish, and it just floated next to the boat while we scooped it in the net. I think he might of knocked it out.”
Hit em’ on the Head – Verb
Definition: When an angler catches a fish when the bait immediately enters the water or when an angler catches a fish in an area where fish aren’t biting they will refer to these actions as they “hit em on the head”. Meaning that there is no pattern to the fish catch at all, the only reason the fish bit was because they put the bait right in front of their face and they ate it out of reaction instead of hunger.
Example: “As soon as my jig hit the water that bass ate it, I must of hit em’ on the head because I’m telling you, the bait wasn’t in the water for more than 2 seconds and I saw my line swimming away. He definitely ate it out of reaction as it was falling right in front of him.”
Filled the Boat – Verb
Definition: This is a phrase used by anglers to indicate that they caught a lot of fish throughout the day or in a spot that they fished. Basically, they are saying that they caught so many fish, if they kept them all they would be able to fill up the entire boat with them.
Example: “We pulled up to a rock shoal first thing in the morning and absolutely crushed the smallmouth. We filled the boat with fish in probably less than an hour and then the bite completely died.”
Stuck Him – Verb
Definition: Angler slang for describing a fish that they hooked. Because the hook sticks into the fish, some anglers will say that they “stuck em’” instead of saying that they hooked them. Mainly because a lot of anglers think it sounds cooler.
Example: “As soon as I flipped my jig into that bush, a largemouth bit it and I immediately set the hook and stuck him right in the upper lip, I stuck him so hard and good there was no way he was coming off.”
Culling – Verb
Definition: A word used in bass fishing tournaments to describe the process of removing your smallest fish from the livewell after you already have a limit of a fish and replacing it with a bigger one. An example would be a tournament in which the limit for fish to weigh-in is 5 and an angler catches a 6th fish that is bigger than the smallest fish that is part of the 5. This angler would then “cull” or remove the smallest fish and replace it with the bigger fish they just caught.
Example: “I caught my limit quick and then I spent the rest of the day looking for bigger fish to cull and improve the total weight of my best 5”
Soakin’ It – Verb
Definition: Refers to fishing for bass that are not really eating, but the angler can still get them to bite by throwing their lure out and letting it sit there for a very long time. The term “soakin’ it” means that the angler is keeping their lure in the water as long as possible in order to try and get fish to bite it even if they are not hungry instead of constantly reeling it in and casting it to new places.
Example: “The fishing today was very difficult, the only way I could get bit was by soakin’ it. It seemed the longer I kept my lure in the water in one place, the better chance I had of a fish finally deciding to bite it. They would not eat it if I was constantly moving it, they wanted it slow and soaked.”
Blastoff – Verb
Definition: Term used for describing launch the morning of a tournament. Because the boats look like rocket ships blasting off up and down the lake, many anglers refer to launch as “blastoff”.
Example: “What time is blastoff this morning? I would like to stop and get breakfast but I don’t want to be late to launch.”
Dropshottin’ Spinnerbaits – Verb
Definition: Often used by anglers who are catching fish and other anglers are asking them what they are doing to catch them, as in what technique. Because the angler doesn’t want to give up his/her secret they say that they were or are dropshottin’ spinnerbaits, making it obvious that they are not going to tell you the truth.
Example: “I don’t want anyone to know how I caught them today so I am just going to tell them that I was dropshottin’ spinnerbaits when they ask what I was doing different.”
Skitter Popping a Jigging Frog – Verb
Definition: This is an imaginary technique that fisherman use to describe to another angler how and what they caught them on. It’s a way for an angler to easily indicate that they are catching fish but they are doing and throwing something that they do not want other people to know about because they may think that whatever they are doing is different from everyone else and this is why they are catching them. So when asked how and what you caught them on, an angler will respond with “skitter popping a jigging frog” instead of lying and misleading someone to do something completely wrong.
Example: “Everyone was asking how I caught the 20-pound bag of smallmouth today that I weighed in, I didn’t want to give up any secrets so instead of lying to them and having them throw something completely wrong, I told everyone I was skitter popping a jigging frog so that they at least knew I just didn’t want to tell them.”
Chapter 6 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Fishing Idioms and Phrases Used To Describe Fishing Experiences
Bass Fishing Lingo: Fishing Idioms and Phrases Used To Describe Fishing Experiences
Ya Can’t Beat the Weather – Phrase
Definition: When an angler has a really bad day on the water and he/she can’t blame the weather for their failure, this is a popular phrase that is said. It basically means that the weather is beautiful but the fishing sucks (for them at least).
Example: “How was the fishing out there guys? … In response – Well, ya can’t beat the weather!”
It Was a Beautiful Sunrise or Sunset – Phrase
Definition: This is another commonly used phrase to describe a crappy day on the water. This is a popular response to being asked how the fishing was, and it was not the greatest. Basically the the scenery was beautiful but the fishing wasn’t.
Example: “How did you guys do on the lake this morning?….. (In response) It was a beautiful sunrise, you should of seen it.”
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Net – Phrase
Definition: Phrase that could be used in two different senses. Both are used after a fish has been hooked and an angler is fighting a fish. The first is if the fish is really small, the angler might joke and say we’re going to need a bigger net. The second is if the fish is really fighting hard and the angler can say this to indicate that it might be a huge fish.
Example: “OMG Derek, we’re going to need a bigger net! Do you see how hard this fish is fighting, it’s going to be a monster!” (Can be meant as truthful, or could be sarcastic)
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat – Phrase
Definition: Same meaning as we’re going to need a bigger net but the angler talks about the boat instead of the net. Can also be used to talk about a small fish or a large fish just like the net phrase.
Example: “Ryannnnn, I think we’re going to need a bigger boat man, I don’t know if this fish is going to fit in here!” (Again, this could be stated as serious statement or a sarcastic statement.)
Go on a Walk – Phrase
Definition: Describes moving to a new spot in the boat that is a short distance away or going to a spot first thing after launching the boat that is close by.
Example: “My next spot is only a walk away, so if we don’t catch anything in the next 15-minutes we’re going to fire up the big motor and go on a walk.”
Go on a Run – Phrase
Definition: Describes moving to a new spot in the boat that is a long distance away or going to a spot first thing after launching the boat that is a long way away.
Example: “I’m ready to go on a run tomorrow, my first spot that I’m going to fish during the tournament is 25-miles up river. It’ll be a run for sure.”
“5 and Change” – Phrase
Definition: This phrase is commonly used to describe a fish over 5-pounds. Especially in the North, a fish going over 5-pounds is considered a really big fish, so when an angler uses “5 and change” to describe a fish it generally means that it is big and over the 5-pound mark.
Example: “I have a five fish limit but 4 of them are nothing to brag about, I do have one in the boat though that is “5 and change”, that helped my total weight a lot.”
It’s Rolling out There – Phrase
Definition: Used to describe water that is forming constant waves from the wind. When the wind is blowing constantly at a high speed, the waves will form one after another and this makes it look as if they are just continually rolling across the surface making it a very unpleasant time for a bass boater to be on the water. Used to warn other anglers of dangerous or rough boating conditions.
Example: “I tried to make the run across the lake but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. It’s rolling out there so bad that I was taking too much water in from the front of the boat and had to turn around and head back into the cove.”
She’s a Little Nasty and Mad Today – Phrase
Definition: In this phrase, ‘she’ is referring to the body of water or mother nature. It simply means that the weather is really bad, it could be in terms of that it is raining, thunder-storming, or even snowing, but it usually always associates to wind along with one of those. The phrase is derived from the body of water looking like it is mad, for example on a calm summer day the lake looks peaceful and pleasant but when it is storming or windy it looks the total opposite. The water is moving, banging off the bank and it just gives off a mad vibe.
Example: “I was going to go out fishing today but I got to the launch and she looked a little mad today so i decided that I better just leave her alone and go home.”
I Love Fat Girls – Phrase
Definition: This phrase can be seen a lot on social media, it’s a common phrase used to express an angler’s love for big fish.
Example: “God do I love fat girls, nothing can compare to putting one of those big girls into the boat. I’d rather catch 5 fat girls over 20 skinny fish any day of the week.”
It’s a Blowing Out There – Phrase
Definition: Phrase used when the main lake is very windy. On bigger lakes, the bays and inlets are usually not as affected by the wind because they are protected and smaller areas of water. When it is really windy though, as soon as you go out to the main lake there could be huge waves because the water area is larger and is more affected by the wind. You’ll hear this phrase a lot from anglers coming back into bays that have been out on the main lake and it is a way to let other anglers know that it is very windy outside the bay.
Example: “I was just out on the main lake and you guys better be careful if you plan on going out there, it’s a blowing out there.”
It’s a Grind – Phrase
Definition: Used by anglers to describe a fishing situation that it tough or hard. Angler’s use this when they are having trouble catching fish and could possibly not be catching anything at all or maybe a couple here and there. Refers to fishing conditions in which an angler really has to work hard to find and catch fish because the fish are not eating or are not doing what anglers expect them to do at that time.
Example: “Everyone I talked to that is fishing today said that it has been a grind out there on the lake. It doesn’t seem like anyone is really catching them, and the fish they are catching seem to be few and far between. You are really going to have to work for bites on tournament day to try and get 5 keeper fish.”
It’s All About the Angle – Phrase
Definition: One thing about fish in general is that if you hold them out as far as you can and take a close up picture, an angler can make a 2 pound bass look like a 5 pounder in a photograph. So the phrase “it’s all about the angle” refers to the angle at which an angler takes a picture of their fish.
Example: “Ryan, the guppy master, posted that picture of that 2-pound largemouth on instagram and told everyone it was a 6-pounder. He extended his arm when I took the picture and I got really close so it looks huge in the picture!! I guess it really is all about the angle.”
Big Baits Catch Big Fish – Phrase
Definition: Common assumption made by some anglers that believe that the bigger bait that you throw the bigger the fish will be that eats it. Some anglers believe this is just because the smaller fish won’t eat but if you throw smaller baits you could catch both small fish and big fish. No one knows which one is actually true and it is all preference and belief, but the anglers that believe the big bait assumption often use this phrase when they catch a fish of substantial size on a larger bait.
Example: “Forget throwing any of those finesse style baits, I’m not into catching small fish. I’m all about throwing those huge swimbaits and jigs because everyone knows big baits catch big fish!”
Caught Em’ in Practice – Phrase
Definition: Anglers use this phrase most commonly when they do not do well in a tournament but thought that they were on fish while they were pre-fishing. Many anglers think that it’s just a way out for an angler to seem like they aren’t that terrible and use this as a way of showing that they could catch fish but their plan just did not work out. Whether or not the angler actually caught them in practice is usually a mystery and doesn’t really matter because the only fish that count are during the actual tournament.
Example: “I don’t know what happened today during the tournament, I only ended up weighing in one fish but I swear to you guys I caught em’ in practice. I was on fish all week and then it was like they disappeared when I tried to catch them during the tournament.”
Trim Down for What – Phrase
Definition: Bass boats have motors that trim up and down so that they can navigate different types of water. When a bass boat motor is trimmed down, the propeller is lower in the water column so the boat moves slower but has less of a chance of coming out of the water, especially in rough water. When the motor is trimmed up, the propeller is higher in the water column so the boat moves faster but is easier to lose control of. Anglers say, “trim down for what” meaning that they are running their boats with the trim up so they could go faster and are putting themselves in more danger.
Example: “I was passing all different types of boats today because the water was pretty rough and they all had their motors trimmed down. I knew I had to get my spot first, so I took the risk and trimmed up and blew right by them. Trim down for what!!”
He/She has a Sack – Phrase
Definition: In tournaments, fish are generally weighed in using a weigh-in bag which is just a bag or “a sack”. So, when an angler has a big limit of bass they will refer to it as “catching a sack”. ‘He/she has a sack’ means that the angler has a big limit of fish or that they caught a big limit of fish.
Example: “Matt is leading the tournament right now with 20-pounds but Grae hasn’t weighed in yet and rumor on the dock is that he is about to weigh in a friggin’ sack! I saw Zach earlier on the water too and he said he had a sack also.”
Threw Everything at Em’ but the Kitchen Sink – Phrase
Definition: There are a million different lures and colors that an angler can throw in the fishing market nowadays. When an angler can’t catch fish on what seems like whatever they try to throw, they will start digging in their boat and start trying different things and different colors. If they still can’t catch a fish, they will describe their experience as though they threw everything they could think of at the fish to try and get them to bite but the kitchen sink. Which, obviously you cannot throw a kitchen sink to try and catch fish, it is just an analogy to get the point across that they tried to throw everything.
Example: “I tried throwing a jig, dropshot, spinnerbait, swimbait, and crankbait. I basically threw everything that I own at the fish today to try and get a bite and couldn’t come up with anything. And I’m telling you I threw everything at em’ but the kitchen sink.”
I Have Some Keepers – Phrase
Definition: This phrase is generally used by anglers when they have a small limit or less than a limit of bass to weigh in for a tournament. The angler is insinuating that they caught fish but nothing of substantial size and they only have some fish that are barely the legal size.
Example: “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the monster bag I thought I was going to be able to catch on this lake, but I do have some keepers to weigh in.”
That’ll Eat – Phrase
Definition: Phrase not commonly used by anglers because tournament bass anglers very seldom eat their catch but some still eat bass once in awhile, or they will eat smaller panfish that they catch. This is the phrase that those anglers use to describe a fish catch in which the angler believes that the fish is of big enough size to keep and eat.
Example: “That’ll eat, throw that perch in the livewell, it might not be a gigantic one but it’ll definitely eat!!
Caught Enough to Cash a Check – Phrase
Definition: Angler’s say this when they caught a limit of bass that they feel will be good enough to place them high enough in a tournament in order to get paid with a check. It usually means that the angler had a mediocre day in which they didn’t do terrible but they didn’t do really amazing to finish at the top or near the top.
Example: “I didn’t catch enough to get into the top 12 today to fish tomorrow but luckily, I caught enough cash a check and place inside the top 50 cut. If they only paid out 30 spots instead of 50 I would’ve missed it.”
They’re Stacked – Phrase
Definition: Phrased used to describe a lot of bass that are located in one small area. An angler will say that the bass he is fishing for are stacked because they will be in a school together. Or a lot of them will relating to the same piece of structure and the angler can catch multiple fish fast. The fish will seem as if they are actually on top of each other in the water, like they are “stacked”.
Example: “I found a school of smallmouth today in 20-feet of water and they were completely stacked on top of this rock, I caught fish on 8 consecutive casts!”
In the Water – Phrase
Definition: Common phrase used by anglers when they do not want to reveal where they caught their fish. When asked where they caught their fish or where they were catching their fish, they will answer sarcastically, “in the water”, if they do not want to reveal the location.
Example: “I hate when other anglers ask me where I caught my fish at or where I am catching my fish. Obviously, I’m not going to tell them because I want to be able to catch fish there the next time I go back, so I always give them a half smile and just tell them I caught them in the water.”
On a Lure – Phrase
Definition: Common phrase used by anglers when they do not want to reveal what they caught their fish on. When asked what they used to catch their fish or how they were catching their fish, they will answer sarcastically, ‘on a lure’, if they do not want to reveal what they were throwing and what they caught their fish on.
Example: “I strongly believe that the lure I’m catching my fish on is something no one else is even thinking about, so if anyone asks what I’m throwing or what I’m catching my fish on, I’m sarcastically going to tell them ‘on a lure’.”
BlacknBlue Jig – Noun
Definition: A phrase made famous by the Penn State Bass Fishing Team. It is another way of letting other anglers know that they do not want them to know what they were using to catch their fish. Similar to the phrase ‘on a lure’, but instead of saying ‘on a lure’, the angler just says blacknblue jig.
Example: Kevin Hunt: “Whatdya catch on em’ today Penn State?” “All of our fish ended up coming off of blacknblue jigs, just like the last 5 tournaments Kevin!”
Chapter 7 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used to Describe Fishing Equipment
Bass Fishing Lingo: Terms Used to Describe Fishing Equipment
Secret Sauce – Noun
Definition: Used to describe any type of fish attractant that can be applied to a bait to enhance the smell or taste. Many anglers have one, or a few fish attractants that they strongly believe is what gets more fish to bite their lure, so commonly when an angler finds one that they believe works they will not tell other anglers about it in hopes that it will allow them to catch more fish than other anglers. They will only refer to their fish attractant as their “secret sauce” leaving out name brands and flavors or types.
Example: “I could throw any bait I wanted at them today and they would bite it because I had the secret sauce with me today. I would just put some on whatever bait I was throwing and the fish seemed like they would bite it immediately. If I forgot to put it on, I couldn’t get a bite to save my life.”
Broomstick – Noun
Definition: Commonly used to describe a bass fishing pole used for flipping or pitching lures. These fishing poles are usually the longest and thickest in diameter poles that an angler owns. The diameter and length is comparable to that of a broomstick so anglers began nicknaming these poles, “broomsticks”.
Example: “Screw the fairy wand, I want to break out the broomstick with heavy line and go flip some timber so I could really lay into one and rip its lips off!!”
Big Motor – Noun
Definition: Phrase used to describe the motor on the back of a bass boat. All bass boats usually have two motors, the trolling motor in the front is used for getting around an area while fishing or moving small distances and a much larger motor attached to the back with a lot more power is used for traveling long distances, idling, or going a short distance much more quickly than using the trolling motor so anglers will refer to this motor as “using the big motor”.
Example: “That is way too far away to use the trolling motor to get there, it’d be better to fire up the big motor and run over there so that we could get there almost 4-times as fast.”
Small Motor – Noun
Definition: Another term for the trolling motor that is located at the front of a bass boat. Because it is a lot smaller and has a lot less power than the motor on the back of the boat, the trolling motor is mainly used for traveling short distances and keeping the boat in place so angler’s will commonly refer to the trolling motor as “using the small motor”.
Example: “My next spot I want to fish is only 100-yards around that point, so to avoid the risk of spooking the fish on the spot, I’m going to use the small motor to troll over instead of firing up the big motor and running over there.”
Bump Board – Noun
Definition: Another name for a giant ruler used to measure fish to make sure they are of legal size.
Example: “That fish doesn’t look like he is of legal size, you better put him on the bump board.”
Fairy Wand – Noun
Definition: Phrase used to make fun of a spinning rod. Mainly anglers down south that are used to power fishing with big line and big casting rods will make fun of anglers from the north. Northern lakes have more smallmouth in them and more finicky fish that many times cannot be caught with anything but light finesse gear that requires a spinning rod.
Example: “I’m going to flip docks all day, no way am I pulling out that fairy wand under any circumstance.”
The Box – Noun
Definition: Describes the livewell on a boat because they are usually boxed shaped.
Example: “There’s only two hours left in the tournament, and we only have 3 fish in the box.”
Chapter 8 - Bass Fishing Lingo: Extra Fishing Terms