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Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms and Acronyms used in Fly Fishing

  • Antron (yarn or dubbing)
    Synthetic semi-reflective fly body material.
  • Aquatic Insect
    One that spends some part of its life in the water.
  • Attractor Fly
    A fly tied to coax fish into striking impulsively with flashy colors rather than imitation.
  • Backing Line
    Usually nylon line attached to between the reel and the fly line to provide a cushion of distance if a fish should run past the length of the fly line (which is about 90 feet).
  • Bag Limit
    The maximum number of fish you can take from a body of water. Check online, bait shop or fishing regulations to determine the limit prior to fishing. Sometimes measured by weight.
  • BH
    Bead Head
  • Biots
    Frquently used to imitate early wings and tail of nymphs.
  • BWO
    Blue Wing Olive - an aquatic insect.
  • CDC
    Cul-de-canard - a type of feather used in tying that is highly water resistant.
  • Cheek
    Feathers tied to the side of the hook, just behind the eye.
  • Chenille
    A yarn or cord-like material commonly used for streamer bodies.
  • Covert
    A small non-flight related bird feather.
  • Creel
    An old school device for holding fish that have been caught. Looks sort of like a wicker purse.
  • Dead Drift
    A wet or dry fly allowed to drift at the same speed as the current.
  • Domestic Hackle
    Hen hackle raised in N. America.
  • Double Taper(ed Line)
    This is fly line that is narrower (smaller diameter) at the head and tail of the line than in the middle. The taper usually gets bigger after the first 15 feet, then has 60 ft of the wider diameter and ends with 15 ft of taper again.
  • Drift (General term)
    This applies to all types of flies in moving water.  The "drift" is the fly speed relative to the water speed.
  • Dropper
    This is a creek or river technique where an angler will tie a wet fly somewhere on the tippet or dry fly. The dropper is often tied to the bend of the dry fly hook or directly to the eye. A (usually) short leader is used; about 12-16 inches. Droppers are usually a nymph.
  • Dry/Wet Flies
    A dry fly is anything that is fished on the water surface. Wet flies are fished subsurface.
  • Dubbing
    The material commonly used to cover the body section of a fly, or the act of utilizing the material to cover the body of a fly. Can be either synthetic or real fur.
  • False Casting
    A cast used to judge distance, shoot line or build speed prior to the actual cast.
  • Flank Feather
    Under-wing feathers.
  • Flashabou
    Reflective mylar tied into attractor flies. (see also Krystal Flash)
  • Floatant/Sinkant (SinkFast)
    An oily substance used on flies to help them float or sink.
  • Fly Drag
    Refers to the wake made by the fly when being retrieved or when the fly has reached its maximum drift on a stream.
  • Grizzly
    Alternating, contrasting color striped feathers used for wings or hackles.
  • Guard Hairs
    Longer hairs that protrude past the under fur.
  • Hackles
    Usually feathers wrapped around the shank of a hook. They are tied and used with a variety of materials.
  • Herl
    Single strands taken from any large feather, commonly Peacock.
  • Keeper Ring
    A small loop near the handle or cork of the rod used to hold the fly when not in use.
  • Krystal Flash
    Highly reflective material tied to all types of flies.
  • Leader
    Connects between the fly line (that expensive colored line) and the tippet (the 3X, 5X or whatever size).
  • Loading (the rod)
    Flex in the fly rod created by the backcast (and the associated weight of the line) which bends the tip back away from the caster. The maximum bend in the rod prior to moving forward again (snapping back) is loading. The same principle applies to a sling shot.