Mayfly – A small aquatic fly that is an important food for trout, which means it is also important for fly-anglers.
Marker Buoy – A small plastic buoy, often fluorescent color that is tossed into the water to mark a fish holding area or a school of fish. Such buoys are popular for those fishing schooling sport-fish, such as crappie, white bass, or striped bass, in open water.
Mealworms – Small beetle larvae often used for catching crappies or sunfish.
Mepps Spinners – A brand name in-line spinner.
Mesotrophic — A lake classification describing middle-aged bodies of water between oligotrophic (young) and eutrophic (old) classifications. It is a body of water with a moderate amount of dissolved nutrients.
Migration Route – The path followed by bass or other fish when moving from one area to another.
Milfoil – Surface-growing aquatic plants.
Mini-Jig – A small leadhead jig, usually 1/16- or 1/32-ounce, often used for catching crappie or sunfish.
Mono – Short for monofilament fishing line.
Monofilament – A single, untwisted, synthetic filament.
Moon Times – The four phases or quarters of the moon are usually what the fisherman is concerned with. Generally, the bad times in a month occur three days prior and three days after the full moon or new moon. The first-quarter and second-quarter periods are considered as the good moon times.
Nares – The nostrils of fish.
Nest – The spot in where are fish, such as a largemouth bass or bluegill, deposits its eggs. Some nests, such as those for largemouth bass, can be well defined. For largemouth bass, the female lays the eggs and the male guards the eggs. See the listing for “redd.”
Night Crawler – A common type of worm used in fishing.
Night-Fisherman – An angler who fishes at night.
Nongame Fish – Include all the species of fish except the game fish (see game fish entry).
Nonnative Fish – A fish that is not native to Arizona.
Nymph – The nymphal sate of an aquatic insect, or an imitation of same for nymph-fishing.
Off-Color – Refers to the color and or clarity of the water. The normal off-color conditions include brown or mud-stained such as from runoff, green from algae or algae blooms and brown from tannic acid.
Open-Faced Reel – A typical or standard spinning reel in which the line comes off the fixed spool in loops and there is no nose cone.
Otolith – The ear bone of a fish. The age of a fish can be determined by counting the layers in the otolith, much like the rings of a tree.
Outside Bend – The outside line of a creek channel or grass bed. For underwater structure, it can also refer to the outside line of a submerged wash or arroyo.
Oligotrophic – Lake classification used to describe young bodies of water characterized by deep, clear, cold, weedless water that can support fish, such as trout.
Organic Baits – Minnows, insects, worms, fish eggs, cut bait, cheese or similar substances.
Overcast – To cast a lure, fly or bait beyond the aimed-for target.
Over-Fishing – Fishing pressure beyond which a sustainable population of fish or stocking effort can be maintained.
Oxbow – A U-shaped bend in a river or stream. If isolated, they can be referred to as an oxbow lake.
Pan Fish – Any of a variety of species of fish that resemble the shape of a frying pan, thus the name. Often applies to sunfish, crappie, perch, other small fish or small sizes of other species.
Pattern – Can describe where active fish are holding, or what techniques are working to catch fish, especially larger fish. For instance, pattern fishing could involve using shallow-running crankbaits on all the major points of a lake or Carolina-rigged worms on all main lake humps.
PFD – A personal flotation device or life jacket.
PH – A measurement for liquids to determine acidity or alkalinity. On a scale of one to 14, seven is considered neutral. Below sever is acidic and above seven is alkaline. This is a factor in the health or activity levels of fish.
Pick-Up – The act of a bass or other fish taking a slowly-fished lure, such as a plastic worm, crayfish or lizard. It can also be referred to as a “pressure” bite.
Pitching – Fishing technique in which worms or jigs are dropped into cover at close range with an underhand pendulum motion using a long bait-casting rod, and differs from flipping in that with pitching, line is allowed to come out of the reel during the cast.
Pocket – A small indentation in the shoreline, sometimes referred to as a pocket cove.
Point – A finger of land jutting into the water, which if pronounced, can form a peninsula. Some points are submerged and not visible at the surface but can often be detected in depth finders. Points often hold fish; they can become good ambush spots for predatory fish.
Popper – Top-water plug with a dished-out head designed to make a splash when pulled sharply to imitate a wounded baitfish struggling on the surface.
Possession Limit – The maximum limit or amount of a fish species set by regulation that may be possessed at one time by any one person.
Post-Spawn – The period immediately following a spawn. Post-spawn fish recovering from the spawn can often be lethargic. Post-spawn fish that have recovered from the spawn are typically hungry and aggressive.
Power Bait – Brand names of commercially prepared scented baits
Presentation – A collective term referring to a combination of choices a fisherman makes, such as the choice of lure, color, and size, the type of pole and/or tackle used, the structure targeted, the casting technique, the retrieval technique (slow, medium, fast, stop-and-go) and even where the bait is worked in the water column (deep, shallow, top-water).
Prespawn – The period of time immediately before the spawn when fish are often feeding more aggressively.
Pro – Professional anglers: those elite fishermen who make a living at fishing, typically by fishing tournaments.
Put-In – Denotes a boat launching area for the start of a float trip.
Put-and-Take – Refers to a fishery where catchable-sized fish are stocked (typically trout but not exclusively) and caught by anglers in a relatively short period of time. For instance, the state’s urban program lakes are prime examples of popular put-and-take fisheries.
Ramp – Also referred to as a boat ramp or launch ramp. It is the launch-retrieve area for a boat.
Rainbow Trout – A member of the salmon/trout family. Rainbows are not native to Arizona.
Rat-L-Trap – A brand of lipless crankbait.
Redd – An individual nest or depression in the gravel excavated by trout other members of the trout and salmon family for depositing eggs. Multiple Redds make up a bed.
Reservoir – Artificially created lake where water is collected and stored; also called an impoundment.
Re-Stocking – The practice of releasing hatchery-reared fish from the hatcheries into ponds, streams, rivers, or lakes.
Riprap – A man-made stretch of rocks or material of a hard composition that usually extends above and below the shoreline, often found near dams of big impoundments.
Riverbank – The bank or banks of a river.
Riverbed – The area or channel between the banks through which a river flows.
Saddle – A thin piece of land that extends out (sometimes an extended point) from the shoreline and connects to an island (sometimes underwater), reef or a hump. Submerged saddles can hold lots of fish.
Salmon Eggs – A type of egg bait typically used for trout fishing.
Sassy Shad – A brand of soft-plastic lure that resembles a shad.
Seine Net – A rectangular fishing net designed to hang vertically in the water, the ends being drawn together to encircle fish.
Selective Harvest – Deciding to release or keep fish based on species, size, relative abundance, or culinary plans.
Shad – Any of several species of forage fish that have a rather deep body. In Arizona, the most common is the threadfin shad.
Shiner – A member of the shiner family often used for bait. The most common in Arizona is the gold shiner.
Shoal – A submerged ridge, bank, or bar.
Shore-Fishing – Fishing from the shore, as opposed to fishing from a boat or wading.
Short Strike – When a fish hits at a lure and misses it.
Slack Line – The loose line from the tip of the rod to the lure. This can be a slight bow in the line to an excess of line lying on the water. The opposite is fishing with a tight line, such as when using a drop shot outfit.
Sight-cast – The technique of casting and fishing when the fish are spotted first.
Size Limit – The legal length a fish must be is it is in possession (kept). Some fisheries have slot limits, where fish in the specified slot size range cannot be possessed.
Skipping – A method of suing small lures and casting them hard and at a low angle to the water to make them skip, like a flat stone.
Slip-Float – A float rigged with a tin stop or bead on the line to make it stop at a pre-determined depth.
Slip-Sinker – A lead, zinc or steel weight with a hole through the center that allows it to slide freely up and down the fishing line. A slip sinker provides the weight for casting, yet allows the bait to move freely.
Slot – A fishing size limit where the angler may keep fish shorter than a minimum length but longer than an upper length limit. For instance, a slot limit of 13 to 16 inches means you must, by regulation practice catch-and-release on the fish in the slot. Slot limits are special regulations used on specific bodies of water.
Slough – A long, narrow stretch of water such as a small stream or feeder tributary off a lake or river.
Slow Roll (or slow rolling) – A spinnerbait presentation in which the lure is retrieved slowly through and over cover and objects. A trailer bait is often on the hook.
Smallmouth Bass – A black bass, primarily bronze in color, whose jaw does not extend beyond the eye and is found in clear rivers and lakes. They are also called bronzebacks, brown bass, river bass, or smallies.
Snagging – A method of catching fish by jerking an unbaited hook through the water. In Arizona, snagging is not legal except for carp.
Soft Bottom – River or lake bottoms which are comprised of soft material, such as silt, mud, or muck.
Sonar – An acronym derived from the expression “sound navigation and ranging.” Refers to the method or equipment for determining by underwater sound techniques the presence, location or nature of objects in the water. Fish finders use sonar.
Spider Trolling – Trolling with several rods at once.
Spincaster – A manner of fishing employing a push-button, closed-faced spinning reel or bait casting rod; the reel is mounted topside on the rod.
Spin-Casting – Sometimes called American spinning, or closed face spinning. Uses a fixes spool enclosed in a nose cone so the line leaving the reel’s nose cone comes out straight.
Spinnerbait – An artificial bait consisting of a leadhead and one or two rotating blades and either a straight or a safety-pin style shaft dressed with material (often called a skirt).
Spinning – A manner of fishing employing an open-face or closed-face spinning reel and spinning rod; reel is mounted on the underside of the rod and the rod guides are also on the underside of the rod.
Spinning reel – A fixed spool reel, generally referring to open-faces spinning.
Split shot – A style of finesse fishing employing a split shot weight up the line typically 6 to 18 inches above a small artificial worm, lizard, crawfish or grub, usually rigged Texas-style (hook concealed in the bait).
Spook – Alarming a fish, such as making too much noise, movement or casting a shadow so fish become “spooked.”
Stained – A discoloration of the water usually occurring after a heavy rain or significant runoff. Some shorelines can have stained water from wind and rain action causing shoreline erosion. Bass especially can often hide and feed in those bands of discoloration.
Starboard – the right side of a boat or ship.
Stick Bait – A slender plug or topwater lure that is given action by the angler manipulating the rod and reel, sometimes making the bait go back-and-forth to resemble a wounded shad, which is called “walking the dog.”
Stickups – Tips of trees and brush that “stick up” from the water and provide structure, primarily for bass fishing.
Still-Fishing – Fishing from one spot; primarily refers to shore-fishing from a single location.
Stink bait – Bait, such as chicken liver, that puts odor into the water, typically for catfishing.
Stinger-Hook – An additional hook placed on a lure, spinnerbait or bait rig; also called a trailer hook.
Stocking – The practice of releasing hatchery raised fish into ponds, reservoirs, streams or rivers. Stocking is often necessary in waters where the fishing pressure exceeds the natural fish reproduction capabilities.
Stragglers – Bass that remain behind following a general migration.
Strain – A group of related individuals created through selective breeding and that is genetically different from other strains of the same species.
Stream – A body of running water.
Streambed – The channel being occupied or formerly occupied by a stream.
Striped Bass – A member of the true bass family along with white bass and yellow bass. In Arizona, they are found in the Colorado River chain of lakes such as Powell, Mead, Mohave and Havasu, but are also found in Lake Pleasant.
Structure – Changes in the shape of the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments, especially those that influence fish behavior. Examples include flooded roadbeds, washes, arroyos, humps, ledges and drop-offs.
Sunfish – Any of a dozens of members of the sunfish family, including largemouth bass, bluegill, redear and crappie.
Suspended Fish – Fish at mid-level depths, neither on the surface nor on the bottom.
Swim Bladder – A gas-filled sac found in the upper part of the body cavity of many bony fishes.
Swimming Lures – Sinking-type artificial baits designed to resemble a swimming baitfish. Such plus vibrate or wobble during retrieve and some have built-in rattles. Also called lipless crankbaits.
Tail-Spinners – Compact, lead-bodied lures with one or two spinner blades attached to the tail and a treble hook suspended from the body.
Tagging – Marking or attached a tag to an individual or group of individual fish so that it can be identified on recapture. Tagging is used by a biologist to study the movement, migration, population size or activity patterns of fish.
Take-Out – A term describing the point where boats are taken out of the water at the end of a float trip.
Terminal Tackle – Angling equipment, excluding artificial baits, attached to the end of a fishing line; examples include hooks, snaps, swivels, snap-swivels, sinkers, floats, and plastic beads.
Texas Rig – The method of securing a hook to a soft-plastic bait, such as a worm, lizard or crawfish, so that the hook is weedless (doesn’t protrude). Typically, a slip sinker (often a bullet sinker) is threaded onto the line and then a hook is tied to the end of the fish line. The hook (often an offset hook) is inserted into the head of the soft-plastic bait for about one-quarter of an inch and brought through until only the eye is still embedded in the soft-plastic bait. The hook is then rotated and the point is embedded slightly into the body of the soft-plastic worm without coming out the opposite side. Many anglers try to ensure the bait stays straight once it is Texas-rigged.
Thermocline – A distinct layer of water where rising warm and sinking cold water meet but do not mix. It is a layer of water where the temperature changes at least one-half a degree per foot of depth. In many of our desert bass lakes, a thermocline often develops during the spring and breaks down in the fall. The colder layer of water is often lacking in oxygen, forcing most baitfish and sport-fish to the upper layer of water. Thermoclines can be so dense that they actually show up on sonar (fish finders and depth finders) as a thick, impenetrable line.
Tight-Action Plug – A lure with short, rapid side-to-side movement. Typically used when fish are more active in spring, summer and fall.
Tiptop – Line guide at the tip end of a fishing rod.
Topwater – The technique of using topwater lures for catching fish, especially bass at the water’s surface. Topwater lures are floating hard baits or plugs that create some degree of surface disturbance during the retrieve, typically mimicking struggling or wounded baitfish on the surface.
Trailer Hook – The extra hook or cheater hook added to a single-hook lure, such as a spinnerbait or weedless spoon. Also called a stinger hook.
Transducer — A device that converts electrical energy to sound energy, or the reverse. Typically associated with depth finders or fish finders.
Transition – These are where one type of bottom material or structure changes to another, for instance, a rock pile to solid rock, or sand to gravel. There can also be transition zones, such as mud lines where a river enters a lake. Fish can often be found in transition zones.
Treble Hook – A hook with a single or bundled shaft and three points.
Tributary – A creek, stream, or river that feeds a larger stream or river, or lake.
Triggering – Using a lure-retrieval technique that causes a sport-fish to react and strike. For instance, quickly speeding up a retrieve and then stopping. Can also referred to as causing a reaction bite.
Trolling – Towing a lure or several lures behind a boat. When a fish is caught on the trolled lure, the boat is typically stopped and the fish is reeled in.
Tubing – A float fishing term that means to float down a river, stream or using a float tube in a lake while fishing.
Ultralight – Lighter than standard fishing rod and/or tackle.
Ventral Fin – The paired fin located on the front of a fish’s abdomen.
Water Column – Vertical section of the lake.
Water Dog – Any of several large salamanders (the larval or aquatic stage). They are popular as live bait.
Weedguard – A protective device on fishing hooks to prevent picking up weeds.
Weedless – A description of a lure designed to be fished in heavy cover with a minimum amount of snagging. Various strategies are often employed to make a lure weedless.
Weed Line – Abrupt edge of an aquatic weed-bed caused by a change in depth, bottom type, or other factor.
Weigh-In – Term typically applied to the weighing in of fish at a tournament.
Wet Fly – A fly fished underwater.
White Bass – A type of true bass that is only found at Lake Pleasant in Arizona. White bass are related to striped bass and yellow bass. None of these bass are native Arizona fish.
Worm-fishing – The act of using worms, either natural or man-made, to catch fish, although the term worming typically refers to the act of using artificial worms to catch fish.
Wooly Worm– A popular type of wet fly often used by fly anglers fishing lakes.
Year Class – Fish of a given species that were all spawned in the same year or at the same time.
Yellow Bass – A specific species in the true bass family. In Arizona, yellow bass are found in Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes along the Salt River.
Yellow Cat – a flathead catfish.
Young-Of-The-Year – refers to fish in their first year of life, often referring to immature fish.
Zooplankton – Animals (mostly microscopic) that drift freely in the water column.
Z-ray – A brand name of heavy spoon typically used in trout fishing.
Zug Bug – A type of wet fly or fly pattern commonly used by fly fishers in lakes.