Pikeology – The language of Pike Fishing

Have you ever wondered what the difference between jigging and bobbin is? Did you know that trolling has nothing to do with the internet? Are you scared of using a butt grip and cracking off? You need to read this glossary of angling terms and familiarise yourself with the language of the fishing world. Remove your mind from the gutter and soon you will be able to discuss pick ups and pop ups with the rest of them.


Audible bite indicator.


See Drop-off Indicator


To Backwind refers to giving the fish line by turning the reel handle backwards. Another method is to set the reel’s clutch so that it slips when the fish pulls strongly.


Catch lots of fish.

Bail Arm

Wire framed front of a reel which can be opened to allow line to fall freely from the spool, or closed when reeling the line back onto the spool.

Bait tag

Plastic disc (flag) attached to the hook to give a visual boost to a bait.

Baiting needle

Needle with a small hook on the end used for threading line through bait.


The name baitrunner was introduced by Shimano for a quick release free spool system for its reels. Now a commonly used term for this type of reel.

Bank Stick

A Bank Stick is a thin pole used to rest the rod on with a point at one end and a thread for a rod rest or bite alarm on the other.


Small, round, plastic or rubber ball with a hole through the centre. Threaded onto line and used to keep rig components apart and to protect knots from leads.

Bit Basher

Affectionate, is slightly derogatory term used by specimen hunters to describe angler who target small fish.


Fail to catch.


Slang term for a visual bite indicator, possibly derived from an old indicator called a monkey climber.


A ledger weight, usually made of lead, attached to the line and used to ensure baits are held in position.


The Butt is the thick end of a fishing rod.

Butt Grip

Handle on the thick end of the rod, usually made from foam or cork.

Butt Rest

Bankstick used to hold the rod butt off the ground.

Butt Ring

A Butt Ring is the nearest eye to the butt of the rod. It is the largest eye on the rod.


Slang term for an alarm, which derives from the noise made by early models.

Buzzer bar

Multi rod rest bar used for holding 2, 3 or 4 alarms (buzzers).


To use the rod to throw the bait into the water.

Crack Off

A crack off occurs when line snaps in the act of casting. Caused by wind knots or forgetting to open the bail arm.


To use dead fish to catch pike.

Drifter Fishing

Method of bait presentation where the wind is used to push the bait across the water.

Drop-off Indicator

Rear mounted bite indicator with a rotating arm which sounds an alarm when the arm drops. This can either be due to the line pulling out of a holding clip as the pike moves away, or the line going slack as the pike moves the bait towards the angler, giving a drop back.

Feather the cast

Adjusting the pace of the line leaving the reel during the cast, by dabbing the fingers onto the spool. It is used for straightening the rig out just before it hits the water and also for stopping the rig hitting trees and bushes when casting too hard.


Tentative pick up from a pike.

Fish Finder

Electronic tool using sonar to calculate the depth of water and also show where the fish are.


Buoyant visual bite indicator, usually painted with a bright orange / red top. Pike floats are attached to the line either through a hollow tube that passes through the centre from top to bottom (in-line), or via a small hole or swivel situated at the bottom of the float (bottom end only).

Float Ledger

Method of bait presentation using a float which is held in place by a ledger weight.

Fly Fishing

Method of fishing using an artificial lure, weighted line and a centre-pin reel.


Unhooking tool with long handles.

Fuji Rings

High spec fishing rod eyes.

Gazette Bung

Short, dumpy pike float that was issued with a magazine called The Fishing Gazette, which often attracts derision but has recently become fashionable again.

Hair Rig

Method of attaching a bait to the hook via a piece of line, braid, or tag so that the hook hangs free of the bait. The original carp fishing method was created with a hair.


Visual bite indicator with a weighted head which is attached to a bankstick via a chain or rope.


The sharp, pointy, crucial bit.


A small location in a water that produces more fish than the surrounding water. May be due to the characteristics of the lake / river bed such as drop offs, snags, bloodworm bed, water inlet or other known and unknown reasons.


A method of lure fishing where a soft lure is lowered vertically into the water and repeatedly jiggled up and down, e.g. from a boat, pier or bank.

Landing Net

A Landing Net is a piece of net mounted on a frame at the end of a long handle that is used to scoop fish out of the water and prevent their escape.


See bomb.


Method of bait presentation using a ledger weight to hold the bait in position. Ledgering must be combined with audible and visual bite indication methods.


Nylon or braided thread.

Line clip

A clip attached to the rod, slightly forward of the reel, it is used for holding the line when the bail arm is open.

Link Swivel

A swivel with a snap link attached.


To use live fish to catch pike.


Artificial bait used to simulate a real food source. For Example: Crankbait; Jerkbait; Softbait; Spoon; Spinner; Spinnerbait; Jelly; Surface Popper; Plug.


Tactics for piking.

Mobile Approach

Frequently used term refering to taking a minimum amount of tackle to make moving swims easier and therefore more likely. (Aspirational in most angers)

Monkey Climber

Popular method of visual bite indication in the 80’s consisting of a bobbin threaded onto a stick. Made obsolete by the introduction of Fox Swingers.

Moon Phase

Theory used by some anglers to predict when fish are more likely to feed.


A particular fish that is seemingly caught more often than other fish. However, this may be due to markings that more easily identify the fish.


An inexperienced angler.


See Run.


A Plug is an artificial bait designed to imitate a fish when it is pulled through the water.


A Pole is a very long piece of carbon used to place bait into water and subdue hooked fish.


Foam ball used to add buoyancy to deadbaits, hence they are popped up.


Buoyant deadbait fished off the bottom. This method is used for fishing baits above weed or to simply make it more visible.


To attract pike into an area by throwing free samples of whole or chopped fish into the water.


The target species.


A tool for holding line.


A Rod is a long and thin piece of carbon used to cast bait into water and subdue hooked fish.

Rod Pod

A stand for resting multiple rods when fishing.

Rod Rest

V shaped rod holder that screws into a bankstick.


The name given to tha action of a pike picking up a bait.

Run Ring

Wide bore ring that is threaded onto the line with a lead attached. The large bore allows line to pass through more easily than a standard size swivel.


Part of the hook from the eye to the bend.

Shock Link

A Shock Link is a stretchy piece of line attached to a rig, used to absorb shocks.


Small split ball of soft metal (formally lead) that is pinched onto the line to add weight.

Slack Water

Any part of a river where the water flows more slowly than the main flow.


An underwater object that, if tangled with your line, would cause distress, panic and ultimately swearing and a lost rig.

Snap Link

Gated metal clip used for attaching two items together, e.g. swivel and lure.

Snap Tackle

A trace of two hooks mounted on wire.

Snide rod

An illegal, additional rod(s) concealed from view (especially from bailiffs).


Lures made of a blade which spins around a central body.


A general or slang term for lure fishing, spinning more accurately refers to fishing with lures made of a blade which spins around a central body (spinner).


A spoon is a type of lure that is so named because it was originally made from the shallow, bowl end of a spoon.

Spreader Block

The central piece of a triangular landing net with the funtion of spreading the arms.

Stop knot

A knot, tied using an additional piece of line, typically used for keeping a float at a specific depth.


Front mounted visual bite indicator with a weighted arm which moves up when the line is pulled tight as the pike moves away, or drops when the pike moving the bait towards the angler, giving a drop back.


A swivel is a small metal link comprising two loops connected at opposite ends of a central body that allows the loops to swivel independently. Used for attaching hook links to the main line to help prevent line twist when reeling in.


Fishing equipment.

Target 3000

Pike Anglers Club promotional campain aimed at recruiting 3000 members.

Thought Provoking

Editorial description for ideas that seem to be a bit nuts.


The Tip is the thin end of a fishing rod.

Tip Eye

The Tip Eye is the eye situated on the end of the rod.


A Trace is a pike rig that utilises hooks, swivels and wire.


A hook with three points.


A method of fishing from a boat where the baits or lures are dragged along. Useful for quickly fishing a wide area in order to find the pike.


To impart a small movement into an otherwise stationary bait, in an attempt to trigger a reaction from the pike.

Unhooking Mat

Soft, waterproof mat used to prevent damage to the pike during any time out of the water.


A fishing rod where instead of using a reel the line is tied to the tip.


A cast and retreive method of pike fishing a deadbait in a similar manner to lure fishing.

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