Capt. Art's Blog

Keeping up with Searcher

Ask A Captain week 5 challenge! Are you fluent in Fishing?


Hi Searcher friends!  It’s Jen, the new fish, back again for a new edition of “Ask A Captain!”

After just a few months in the San Diego sportfishing world, I have learned a bunch of new terms!  You may remember that I asked the question, “Why is an angler called an angler?” Searcher friend Bob Blum was kind enough to answer that question after my first blog post was published:

We are called anglers because in Izaak Walton’s day a fish hook was called an angle. – Bob Blum


Izaac Walton was an English writer who is best known for his book The Compleat Angler, first published in 1653.

Our Searcher captains don’t have to try very hard to stump me with a fishing term.  Seems like I’m constantly checking in with Rick Maxa at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop to get definitions of words I’ve heard during our interviews!  Just for fun, Rock Cod Rick and the Searcher captains have put together a list of terms to test your fluency in saltwater sportfishing lingo!  Take a look and see how many you already know!

skinnies – wahoo

flathead – dorado

salamis – big mackerel

logs – big barracuda

shakers – throw back fish

footballs – small tuna

mossbacks – yellowtail

flyers – flying fish

schoolies – smaller to average tuna

jumbos – big fish

premiums – big yellowtail

dodo – dorado

candy – live squid

gumdrops – small bait/mackerel

worms – any kind of live bait

foamer – fish feeding activity causing such a disturbance on the water that it becomes foamy

breezer – fish activity making water surface look like a breeze is blowing across it

popcorn – water condition where there are just a little bit of whitecaps on the surface

rubber – swimbait

iron – surface jig

plug – surface jig

backlash – tangle in the reel

birdnest – tangle

kite jail/trolling jail – long kite fishing/trolling rotation

hotel/condo – very large kelp paddy

Did you know them all?

AAC swag bag

Bonus opportunity! If you send in a fishing slang term not listed,  you will qualify for our end of the month “Ask A Captain!” drawing which will occur on Monday, August 31.  Send to with “Ask A Captain!” in the subject line before Aug. 31 to be included in the August drawing.

So, if you’ve fished in Southern California, you’ve of course heard of big tuna being referred to as “cows”. Read the following brainteaser from Dr. Blum:

According to Kurt Schaeffer of the International Tuna Commission and both Milton Love and Merit McCray of UCSB, female yellowfin tuna only live to 3.5 years while males live to 5 years with a maximum of 7 years. It is amazing that they can get so big so fast. My questions are: Since according to the above experts, all yellowfin tuna weighing over 200 lbs are males why are they called “cows?” Why not call them “bulls?” – Bob Blum

That’s a real head scratcher, Bob!  Thank you for inspiring this “Ask A Captain” feature of saltwater sport fishing lingo!  I think I might check out The Compleat Angler and see if it is as relevant today as it was over 300 years ago! (That’s what I hear!)  

Important reminder to all of our Searcher friends: don’t forget to submit your questions/fishing terms so you can be included in the August drawing!

How does “Ask A Captain” work?

Each individual who submits a question to our Searcher captains will be entered into a monthly drawing for a FREE tackle swag bag, courtesy of our generous sponsors. The next prize drawing will be held on AUGUST 31!

Submit your question via email to with “Ask A Captain!” in the subject line.  I’ll hunt down answers from our captains and post for all to see. Selected questions and answers will be posted every week on and Facebook.

What are you waiting for?  Send in your question or fishing slang term!  Good luck!




Leave a Reply

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter