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Below are some common terms you may hear or want to know in the field of fishing. Note that all terms are defined in the context of fishing.


Angling A method of fishing that primarily uses line and hooks to catch fish.
(local term)
A two hook system rig that branches off the main leader. Otherwise known as Paternoster Rig. The number of hook branches can vary.
Artificial Baits

Baits that are non-organic like lure, jigs and flies.
Assist Hook/Line A jig hook tied to a piece of cord and split ring that is to be attached to metal jig.
Backlash   Line entanglement occurred from spool overrun in a baitcaster reel during cast. This means that the spool is spinning faster than the line is actually paying out, causing the line spring out in a mess.

A container to scoop water, commonly used on high places like jetties to retrieve water.
Bait   An organic lure used to attract fish to bite.

A type of fishing reel with the side of the spool facing the direction of the line paying out, ie. the rod tip. The spool rotates during casting.
Small fishes(usually in schools) that are common diet to predatory fishes which are used as bait for fishing. Example - Tambans, Milkfishes, Mullets.
Balloon Fishing   A fishing technique whereby a balloon is used as a float. The difference between it and typical floats is that it is bigger and lighter which is able to drift the rig/bait further with wind.

A flat bottom and top floating platform made of metal hull, used mainly for transporting raw materials like sand, scrap metals and sometimes vehicles. Barge does not have its own propulsion system and needs to be towed.

A structure placed erected in the sea or near shore which serves as navigation aid for ships as well as to warn them of shallow waters.
Bead A spherical ball with a through hole which is used together with a stop knot in a rig to prevent it from sliding.

A hollow metal object with a metal ball within that makes a ringing sound when shaken. They're attached near the tip of a fishing rod to detect fish bites.
Berly   The process of scattering pieces of bait to attract fish to come or to keep the fish feeding in a specific area.
Berth   A jetty or pier where boats park and secured. (Dry Berth, Wet Berth)
Big Game Fishing   Sports fishing that involves catching large sizes species of fishes like marlin, sailfish, sharks, tunas, trevallies, etc. Angler must have proper fitness and endurance to participate in such activities.
Boatman   A person who controls and navigates the boat. In fishing context, they are the people who usually have good experience in both boating and fishing and they bring people out to fish, for a price of course.
Bottom Fishing   Catching of fish that dwell near or at the bottom of the seabed. Most types of fishes falls under this category. A considerable size of sinker is usually used to ensure that the tackle rig reaches the seabed depending on the water depth and current.
Bow The front part of a boat.
Braided Line

A multi-strand fibre weaved together to form a fishing line that has very small diameter per line strength compared to monofilament lines amd has almost no stretch. Has the advantage of loading more lines into a fishing reel and useful for deep water fishing.

A stretch of rocks along the shore that protects the shore from eroding by waves and current. Also used as shelter for lagoons and boat mooring areas.

A small boat, usually made from wood which ferries provision to big ships that is anchored offshore at deeper waters. Most bumboats now are used for ferrying passengers or used for recreational fishing.
Buoy A floating beacon in the sea used as navigational guide.
Cable Car (Rig) A rig that consists of a sinker at the end of the main line which act as an anchor to the seabed and sliding down a movable branch line with a live bait hooked.
Cage Trap

A cage made of wire mesh that has a coned shape entrance. The opening seems bigger from the outside as opposed from the inside. The position and direction of the entrance/exit deters the fish from from exiting.
Cast Net

A piece of circular net with weights attached at its fringe. A rope is attached at the centre of the net is used to close the net after it is being casted out .

The process of hurling your rig and bait away from you, to a specific desired location. Correct casting technique and force must be applied to reach maximum distance.

Catch and Release   An ideal which aims to conserve fish stock by sports anglers by releasing fishes immediately back into the water once they're caught.
Circle Hook

A hook with its tip pointed more towards the hook shank and often has an extra bend near its tip. This design ensures that the hook does not pierce the fish while it is being swallowed but sets itself only when it is pulled(by the fish) and angled at its jaw.
Container Ship

A large vessel which is used to transport cargo, usually from one country to another. They dock at local ports for loading/unloading and resupply.
Cover Objects in the seabed that gives protection and hiding places for fishes. For example rocks, corals, seaweed, shipwrecks, etc. Also see Structure.
Crab Trap

A device that traps crabs by luring them into a middle of a piece of netting with a bait placed in the middle. The crab is slowed down or is entangled by the netting. The cage version trap has opening on both sides which the crab cannot crawl out once entered.
Crimp To bind two lines together, usually to form a loop with a piece of malleable(soft) metal.
Crimping Sleeve A small piece of soft metal tubing which fishing line/wire is inserted through it and the tubing is flatten with a pair of pliers to stop the line/wire in place.
Cyalume Stick

A small plastic stick that has the ability to self illume for several hours. It is attached to the tip of a fishing rod when it is dark, to detect rod tip movement (fish bites). Bend the stick to break the inner tube to invoke the chemical reaction to start self illumination.
D.I.Y Sinker   Basically means Do it Yourself Sinker. It involves boiling lead beyond its melting point and pouring it into a mould to cast the shape of the sink.
Drag   A braking system in a reel that has variable resistance to line paying out.
Drifting / Drift Fishing   Fishing on a boat without lowering an anchor, and moves freely. The movement of the boat is typically controlled by the wind and current as well as the build(shape) of the boat.
Drift Net

A long stretch of net that is deployed near water surface that entangles fish passing through. Requires strategic postion and tide calculation to determine the movement of the fish.
Dry Berth

Dry land parking space for boats. Boats are towed or hoist out of water and are stored in a sheltered/non-sheltered place. Advantage of dry berth includes better safety, security, and easier maintenance. Of course, they're much more expensive compared to wet berth.
Dupont Lines

A brand of leader line that is popularly used by many local anglers. Its lines are typically very stiff which reduces line twist. Commonly used as handlines as well for its low stretch characteristics.
Echo Sounder

A device used on boats that scans the the seabed's terrain and measure water depth using sound waves.
Eging   Squid fishing, usually involves using artificial lures like squid jig. A light rod is usually used to prevent spooking the the squid.
Finger Guard

A piece of cloth/plastic lining that is worn around the finger to protect it from line burn during casting or handlining.
Fishing Charter   A service whereby a boatman brings anglers out to sea to fish.
Fish Clip A clip that is used secure a fish while keeping it alive in the water. It is inserted through the fish's gill cover and out from its mouth. The clip is attached to a line and secured to the water bank.

An object less dense than water that is tied to the fishing line to control the terminal depth of the rig.
Floating Fish Farm

A floating platform in the sea where fish are reared in suspended nets. The fishes are in direct contact with the seawater.
Flood Gate

A barrier that can be opened at the mouth of a reservoir to release excess water out into the sea. Water flow can be extremely strong when all gates are opened, any one is to keep clear of the waterways during this time.
Fluorocarbon A type of monofilament line with very low visibility in water. Commonly used in leaders as it is believed that fish will not detect the line, thus improving one's catch. It is typically much more expensive than normal monofilament lines.
Fly   An artifiical lure made of feathers and synthetic fibres to mimic the shape of fishes' prey, usually insects. Commonly used by fly fishers.
Fly Fishing   A fishing techique that is able to cast extremely light lures. The casting makes use of the weight of a heavy line and swinging it back and forth to gain momentum to launch the lure forward.
Footer   Measuremet of objects in terms of foot, usually in lengths of fishing rods or boat size.
Fused line   A multi-strand fibre fishing line with the same characteristics as braided line except that the strands are pressed and bonded together instead of weaved.
Gaff   A large hook at attached at the end of a long pole to hoist a fish out of water. Usually used in fishing from high grounds where the fishing line isn't strong enough to lift the fish.
Global Positioning System A navigation device that can determine and remember locations with the use of satellites.
Handline (Handreel)

Fishing line, usually mono, for the purpose of handlining.
Handlining   A fishing technique to work a fishing line principly by hand only.
Hook An angled piece of metal with a sharpened end(usually with a barb) that pierces through the fishes' mouth when take they bite.
Hong Kong Hook
(local term)

A hook similar to jigheads that are used locally. It has a lead attached to the base of the hook and the whole rig consist of the hook alone. Popular use with handlines.
Hook Remover A tool to extract fish hook from a fish's mouth, especially useful when hook is lodged deep in the fish's mouth.
Ice Box

A heat insulated container used to store and keep fishes fresh. Yes, you need to put ice in it.
Inshore   On or close to shore.
Intertidal Zone

The area that is exposed during low tide and not visible during high tide.
Jerkbait A hardbody lure, that gives a frantic dash when the bait is twitched/jerked. The lure is usually slender in shape with a relatively small lip. Available in floating to slow sinking.

An extended platform from the shore out into the sea. Usually used for boats to dock or anglers to fish.
J-hook Hooks that have a long shank which resemblances the shape of 'J'.

A piece of metal lure, usually made from lead and resemblances the shape of fish or squid.
Jigging   A retrieval action that consists of a sharp pull follow by a pause, and done repeatedly. Where jigs are used, they can be retrieved horizontally or vertically. Also a term for jigging tambans (herrings) with sabiki feathered jigs.
Kelong Sotong (Squid)
(local term)
  Fresh squids that are caught from Kelongs overnight. They're are preferred over those sold in wet market for fishing for its freshness.
Keep Net

A cage net used to keep fish that are caught alive in the water. The Keep Net is secured with a rope which holds it near the water surface.
Kerosene Lamp   A lamp that runs of kerosene that is often used placed near water surface during the night to attract squids to the surface in order to catch them. They're typically brighter than most portable battery powered lamps.

A small indentation along the shore, with very shallow water that extends to the mouth of a lagoon. Most lagoons in Singapore are man-made having breakwaters at its mouth to protect the lagoon from waves.
Landing Net

A net that aids bringing a fish out of water when they are near water surface.
Langgong (Ranggong)
(local term)
A curved metal piece which joins the mainline and the hook trace. Sinker is attached to the metal piece and the end which joins the hook trace is slightly curved upwards to elevated the hook slightly off the seabed.

A tough line that is used to tie a fishing rig that is attached to the end of the mainline. The leader is usually stronger and thicker than the mainline mainly for the purpose of abrasion resistance.
Live baiting   Use of live organic lure to catch fish. For example live herrings or prawns. They must remain alive and natural when hooked.
Longnose Pliers A pair of pliers that is long on the clamping end. They are useful for removing fish hooks lodged fishes' throat and also provide safe distance when handling dangerous fishes.
Long Snood Bottom
Feeder Rig
A single hook with a long branch line from the main leader line. It branches off near the bottom of the rig which results in the bait resting or moving freely near the seabed.
Luminous Sleeve

A plastic shielding for the leader trace which gives extra protection against abrasion and in the illumination attracts attention of the fishes.
Lure   An object or organic bait that entices the fish to bite. More commonly refers to all kinds of artificial baits in general.
Luring   An action whereby making a bait move to attract fish to bite. More commonly associated with used of artificial lures.
Madai Jig

A jig made of lead head attached with rubber skirt, made to mimic an octopus or a nautilus. Originates from japan used to fish for sea breams. The word 'madai' refers to a particular species of Porgies called Red Sea Bream(Pagrus major) and the proper name for the jig is called Tai-Kabura (Snapper lure). Shimano developed their own madai jig called lucanus jig, which the shape resemblances to that of a beetle. The jig should be worked very slowly in a sinusoidal pattern near bottom.


A place where boats are moored and sheltered from waves and wind. There are proper facilities for maintenance for boats. Boats can often be retrieved onto dry land for better maintenance.
Mangrove Swamp

A coastal habitat with brackish water and muddy plains with mangroves growing along the shore. It provides growth and food for many marine organism.
Minnow   A collective species of small fishes which are often food for predatory fishes. Often used to in naming of artificial lures that mimic these fishes.
Monofilament line

A single strand of nylon line commonly used as fishing line. The typically has certain level of transparency and is elastic(stretchable). They come in different colours as well.
Monsoon   A seasonal climatic condition that brings significant rain and strong winds each year.
Monsoon Canal

A deep concrete canal that is able to channel large amount of water, especially during monsoon season when rainfall is high.
Mooring   Securing a boat to a pier, usually with at least two ropes; one at the front and the another at the back.
Mosquito Repellent

An agent that keeps mosquito away when activated or applied. They can come in forms of coils whic requires it to be ignited, or cream that is applied to the skin.
Mud Flat

A stretch of soft mud exposed during low tide.
Multiplier   Synonymous with Baitcaster.
Neap Tide   Neap tide is a low change(in water level) between low and high tide. This usually happens near days of half moon when influence of the sun and moon's gravitional is minimal. Neap tide result in slow current as well.
Net Casting

A technique of throwing a cast net that spreads out the net in a circular shape. Effective for catching fishes and prawns on shallow areas or near surface.
Noodle Rod   A long and thin fishing rod which is extremely flexible, with good ability of absorbing shocks. The load is well distributed across the entire rod and usually classified as ultralight rods.
Offshore   Away from shore, in the middle of the sea.
Offshore fishing

Fishing away from shore on a boat.
Outboard engine/motor

An engine that is fitted at the back of the boat. The entire engine system is compact and takes up only the back of the boat and is easily attachable/detachable.
Palisade Fish Trap

An offshore platform(usually made from wood) consisting of angled wooden barrier with an opening that traps fishes and squids which are lured into the trap using light during night time. Better known as 'Kelong' locally.
Pay Pond

Commercial fishing pond.
Pelagic   Midwater. Usually refers to fishes that swim in this water level.
Pendulum Cast   A casting method by utilizing the momentum of swings right before the final cast.
Plug A plastic lure of a shape of a fish that gives a variety of wobbling action when retrieved.
Pole Fishing

A fishing technique which uses a long fishing rod, usually with no fishing reels attached to it. Because of this, it is limited to near shore or shallow depths. It has the advantage of dropping the bait directly over the desired spot, and keeping it there.
Pond fishing Commonly refers to commercial ponds which provides salt and freshwater fishing as well as prawn fishing. Cost are typically based on an allocated time frame per rod.

A floating platform.

A plastic or wooden lure which floats on water. The lure's mouth is usually flat or concave in shape, which produce water splashes and popping sound when twitch.
Portable Air Pump

An aeration system that runs of DC cell batteries which you can carry with you on your fishing trip. Commonly used for keeping prawns and baitfishes alive.
Power Handle An optional fishing reel handle that can be replaced on a factory default reel that. It is bigger knob which imore comfortable to grip. It also have a bigger wind which makes it easier for cranking a reel. Very useful for offshore fishing.
PR Bobbin  
Prawning Rod   A small light and sensitive rod used mainly for fishing prawns. It has no guides on the reel nor requires a reel to attach to it. The fishing line is attached at the tip of the rod.
Pro Pond   A section among commercial ponds with short duration(usually 3 hrs per slot). Usually more expensive than main pond but more fishes are released. Fishing rules may differ from main pond as well.
Prevailing wind   Wind that blows in a fix direction for a long period of time.

A water catchment area for potable or industrial use. Usually a large area and dwells many freshwater fishes.

The terminal tackle of the fishing line where hooks are attached, usually with the use of leader. They are often attached to the mainline with a swivel.
Rod Stand A device used mainly during baiting to rest and secure a fishing rod.
Sabiki   A japanese term for a series of branch hooks on a rig.
Shock Leader   A long length of monofilament line attached to the mainline(usually braided) to absorb shock during casting.
Silicon Carbide (SiC)   A very hard carbon material used for making rod guides. They're commonly used on rods that uses braided and fused lines which can cut/damage normal guides over time.

A dense and heavy material(usually made of lead), that aids casting and pulls the rig down to the seabed.

A stretch of slop that leads into the water(even during low tide) to launch and retrieve boats from/into the water.
Snag   When your rig is stuck to some object in the seabed.
S.O.S Whistle A whistle used for distress call. You blow them in sets of three calls, long and short ones alternatively.
Spinfly   Use of flies on a spinning outfit.
Spinnerbait A jighead with skirt that tandems with a blade(s) on top. The jighead and skirt gives the physical appearance of the bait while the blade, depending on the shape produces vibration and reflection to catch the fish's attention as it spins through the water.
Spinning Reel

A fishing reel with a fixed spool. This means that the spool does not rotate during cast or retrieval. It has a bail arm that winds the fishing line around the spool during retrieval instead.

Split Ring

A small piece of metal rings that can has seams which you can slide hooks into. Commonly used to join/replace hooks on lures.
Split Shot A small piece of weight, usually made from lead that can be clamped onto any point on a fishing line. It is used as weights but more importantly used to fine tune the way the line and rig displays underwater.
Spool   A cylindrical object with grooves that holds a good amount of fishing line.

A piece of metal lure which is is usually warped in shape, spins and reflect light during retrieval.
Sports Fishing   Catching fish for pure leisure or competition, ie. not catching the fish for food.
Sports Casting   Casting of a weight(sinker) with use of a rod to achieve maximum distance for purpose of competition.
Spring Tide   A high difference in water level during highest and lowest point of tide of the day. Occurs during new/full moon. Current is usually rapid.
Squid Jig

A prawn-like artificial lure that has with an series of circular hooks like a christmas tree. Used for catching squids.
Squid Jig Safety Cover A hard plastic casing which covers the hooks on a squid jig.
Stainless Steel Hook A hook that highly resists corrosion from seawater. They are typically dark chrome in colour and the hook is softer than most high carbon steel hooks.
Stickbait A type of hard body surface lure that moves its head sideways alternately when twitched. Primarily used for freshwater, suitable for bass and snakeheads in shallow areas.
Structure A steep drop or trench like formation in the seabed where fish can be usually be found dwelling for searching for food.
Surface Cruiser A hard body surface lure that can be used with a constant retrieval or popping action. The lure has a flat mouth that pushes the water, creating splashes and sound to attract fish. A lure popularly used for targeting large Giant Snakehead.
Surfcasting (Surf Fishing) To fish from a beach or shoreline which require a long rod to cast far out into the sea.
Swim Bladder

An organ of a fish that helps it to maintain bouyancy. Fish often caught from deep water will experience inflation of bladder and is often protruded out of its mouth.

A small roller with that connects to lines together, usually used to attach the mainline to the rig. It also helps to reduce line twist to the mainline.
Tackle   The overall tools one use for fishing. Usually it means rod, reel and line.
Tackle Box A box(usually water resistant) to hold fishing accessories like hooks, leader, swivels, sinkers, etc.
Tackle Shop

A shop that sells fishing equipments like rods, reels and other accessories. They sometimes sell organic baits for fishing as well as organizing offshore fishing trips for customers.
Tamban Jig(Hooks)

A series of small feathered hooks that are commonly used to catch baitfishes, most notably the tambans.
Telescopic Rod

A fishing rod consisting of several segments which allows to retract into a small length which makes it very portable and easy to keep.
Three-way Swivel A swivel having three eye(hole) which is able to join up to three lines together.
Tide Pool Puddles of water along the shore line(within the Intertidal Zone) during low tide.
Trace   The branch on a rig where it is directly tied to a fishing hook.
Treble Hooks

A fishing hook with three angles, made by welding two pieces of hook together. (2+1 angles) Usually used on artificial lures.
Treble Safety Cover

A plastic cover used to conceal the sharp end of the hooks for safety purpose when not in use.
Trolling   A technique whereby a bait is dragged slowly along the water using a boat. Usually used in big game fishing.
Tugboat A large boat with very powerful propulsion that is used to tow large ships or barges and assist their movement in harbour areas.
Twitch   To give an abrupt pull to the fishing line following by a pause.
Undercurrent   The flow of water below the one that is near the surface of water. The speed and direction of this flow can be different from the one above.
Unitec Cast   The most common form of casting technique which starts by positioning the rod behind the caster with the tip pointing backwards, and catapulting the rig/sinker forward by thrusting the rod forward. It simply means overhead casting.
Weighing Scale

A device used to measure the weight of a fish.
Wet Berth

A parking space in the water for boats, especially very large boats where it is difficult to recover onto land for dry berth. Usually cheaper than dry berths but requires more maintenance for the boat.
Wire A line made from metal and often coated with a layer of plastic which is used as leader. It has very high abrasion resistance compared to nylon leaders which is effective against fish with sharp teeth like barracudas and mackerels.
Wire Hook

A hook that is directly attached to a piece of wire.
Woodchopper A floating lure having propellors attached to its back and/or its front that spins when dragged across the water surface. The churning of water and the sound it creates entices the fish to attack it.
Wreck fishing  

Fishing around a known sunken boat/ship, usually anchored.


last update 24 March 07