Freshwater Fishing Dictionary
  |  First Published: December 2007

Welcome to the start of a new fishing year. I’ve been writing for the Qld Fishing Monthly for several years now. Over this time, it’s been great to meet the readers and hear their feedback. Based on their information, I’ve decided to run something different from the regular monthly area reports.

When compiling fishing reports, I try to be as informative as possible to suit all anglers’ interests. Our freshwater lakes will produce fish when we target them in any of the three popular methods. Trolling, lure casting and bait fishing can all do the job. Depending on the readers’ knowledge of the subject being written about, they may sometimes have trouble understanding the topic being explained. It’s for this reason that I’m kicking of the New Year with something different – The Freshwater Fishing Dictionary.


Albright Knot: is used to join two pieces of line together. It is ideal for connecting a leader to the main line. It is commonly used to connect a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to a braided mainline.

Bag Limit: applies to most fish species. By referring to it we know how many fish we are legally able to keep in our possession. It’s also important to make sure fish are within the legal size requirements when keeping them. Refer to the fact box to see which legal limits apply to these popular freshwater species.


Bait: (1) Living creatures or natural substances used to attract fish e.g. worms, prawns or dough.

(2) An artificially made presentation used to lure fish e.g. spinnerbait or crankbait.

Baitcaster: a type of fishing reel. The reel is positioned on top of the rod and a button is pushed to disengage the spool from the cranking gears when casting. It is commonly used to throw artificial baits.

Beetle Spin: a lure that has a spinning blade and a soft plastic body. The plastic body is rigged on a jighead which has a wire frame attached to the eye and a spinning blade swivelling above it. These versatile lures can be rigged with different plastic bodies and the jigheads can be changed to suit the depth being fished. The beetle spin frames,which include the spinning blade, are usually bought separately from the other components.

Burn and Kill: is a style of retrieve used when lure fishing. It involves working the lure fast and then pausing. It is often during the pause or as soon as the lure starts to move again that the attracted fish will strike.

Crankbait: is a lure designed to look and work like a swimming fish. These lures have plastic bibs on the front that pull them down into the water making them wobble side to side when they are moved along. The larger the bib, the deeper the lure will dive. The straighter the bib angle is in relation to the lure body, the deeper the diving depth. Many crankbaits are sold in packaging that reveals their diving capabilities. These lures are widely used by freshwater anglers, as they are suited to casting and trolling for fish. No added weight like a sinker is required.

Dead Sticking: is used when vertically working lures. The lure is left motionless for several seconds. Dead sticking can work well if the lure is suspended just above the fish being targeted. The fish will rush up from below and strike at the lure. As they turn to go back down, the hooks will set themselves.

Deep Fly: is an approach used by fly fishermen to target deeper holding fish. It is normally associated with schooling bass. A heavy, sinking line is used to take the fly down to the fish where it can then be stripped back through them. Flies like Bass Vampires and Clousers can be made to imitate small fish or crustaceans.

Double: can be tied to the main fishing line before attaching a leader. The doubled section increases the breaking strain of the main line before knotting it. Suitable double knots include the Spider Hitch and the Bimini Twist. For more information on knots, visit www.fishnet.com.au/knotsrigs/knotsrigs.html.

Dropper Rig: is used in bait fishing. The sinker is tied to the end of the line and a loop is tied between 30-60cm above it. The hook is then fixed to the loop. When vertically dropped from the boat, the sinker anchors the rig to the bottom while the bait wafts around above it. For most species in South-east Queensland lakes a size 0 sinker and size 1 wide gape hook are ideal.

Fluorocarbon: is a special type of fishing line. It has lower stretch than normal monofilament, is more invisible below the water and has a higher abrasion resistance. These characteristics make it very suitable for lure fishing applications. While mainly used for leader material, it also makes a functional main line in some instances.

Hopping: is a lure fishing technique. The lure is cast over the fish holding area and allowed to reach the bottom. When slack line indicates it has touched the bottom, the angler lifts the rod to work the lure off the bottom. As the rod tip is lowered to the water, the slack line is recovered before the process is repeated. The most commonly used lure for hopping is the Jackall Mask Vibe 60. These lures account for plenty of bass. Hopping larger soft plastics or lipless crankbaits can be used in open water for barramundi when they can be seen holding close to the bottom.

Jerkbait: or stickbait is a slender profiled lure. They usually have a small bib that makes them run shallow. Jerkbaits can be made to float, suspend or sink to suit the fish being targeted. They are commonly used on fish like bass and barramundi.

Jig: (1) The motion used to vertically work a lure or bait in a up and down motion. The lure is lowered from a boat until it is at the desired depth and then worked erratically.

(2) Lures specifically designed for vertical use are referred to as jigs. One of the most common types is used for bass fishing and is known as an ice jig.

Jighead: is a weighted hook for holding soft plastic baits is known as a jighead. Jigheads come in assorted weights, sizes and styles. Choosing the correct weight is critical in positioning the lure at the desired depth and working it effectively.

Leader: is a section of line used between the main line and the lure or hook. Leaders are used to make the presentation appear more natural and prevent chaffing from fishes’ mouths or rough obstacles during the fight. When used in conjunction with braided lines, it offers some added stretch to the system to help prevent pulled hooks. Monofilament or fluorocarbon lines are commonly used as leader material. There is no need to use wire traces.

Lipless Crankbait: is a versatile lure. These sinking crankbaits have a lipless design and rely on their body shape to give the lure a swimming motion. Also known as vibration lures they are successful on every sought after freshwater species. These lures can operate at various depths by allowing them to sink to the desired zone and working them at the correct speed. Designed for casting, they are equally at home when trolling in Queensland’s lakes. The most famous lipless crankbait to hit our shores has been the Japanese lure the Jackall. The TN60 and TN70 are two of the most sought after models in the Jackall range.

Lure Casting: the action when the lure is thrown over the fish holding area and retrieved. Jigging is also considered another form of lure casting. The angler is entirely responsible for his/her own lure’s action, depth and appeal of it to the fish through the way it is worked.

Mask: specifically known as, the Mask Vib Jackall, but it is also referred to as the soft Jackall. The mask is one of the best bass catching lures available. It can be retrieved, hopped or trolled to catch these and other freshwater fish. The Mask has an awesome resemblance to one of our most common bait species the bony bream.

Nylon Monofilament: also known as mono, this is the most common and cheap line available. Mono has plenty of stretch, good knot strength and floats on water. It’s important to remember to always dispose of it by wrapping it up and placing it in a bin.

Plastic: or soft plastic, is a rubbery lure designed to imitate living food items found in our waterways. Most plastics have a petrol-chemical base but the new wave is the biodegradable type such as Gulp. There are a multitude of plastics available and numerous rigging methods. The most common types used in freshwater are paddle-tails, shads and grubs. These are usually rigged on a suitably weighted jighead to suit the area they will be fished in. Some plastics come pre-rigged with hooks and weights. Pre-rigged plastics are a favourite with anglers chasing barramundi.

Plug: is a fish shaped diving minnow. See crankbait.

Rubber Skirted Jig: are lures that aren’t commonly used in our waters. They look like a spinnerbait without the blades attached. They are a dressed up jighead that has lots of silicon strands. These lures work well on bass at times. The lighter ones below 1/4oz are ideal for slow hopping presentations. Heavier jigs around 1/2oz can be fitted with a plastic and fished in a similar way to other soft plastics in bass schools.

Scents: are used when lure fishing. Catch scents and fish attractants can be added to a lure to make it more appealing to fish and mask human odours. Many soft plastics now come with scent already impregnated into their bodies.

SIP: stands for Stocked Impoundment Permit. There are many lakes in Queensland that require this permit to fish their waters. Permits are available online at www.qld.gov.au/fishing.

Slow Roll: is a lure casting retrieve. It involves casting the lure out and retrieving it at a slow and steady pace. There is no need for any other influence to impart added action upon the lure other than the slow roll itself.

Spinnerbait: are reaction lures designed to make fish strike out of sheer instinct. The spinnerbait doesn’t look like any natural food found in our lakes but it does exhibit the same characteristics as bait fish. It has flash, noise and vibration. The lower half of a spinnerbait consists of a skirted hook. This is connected to the rotating blades above it by a wire frame. Designed for casting, the spinnerbait makes a great trolling lure in the heavier weights available. The lure’s weight will be enough to sink it to the right depth.

Spinning Reel: also known as an eggbeater or threadline. It is an easy reel to use and is suited to all forms of freshwater angling.

Stinger: is a hook added to a lure to help ensure strikes stay connected. Stingers are often used on spinnerbaits and soft plastics.

Superlines: is a general term that includes braided and thermally fused lines. These lines are specially manufactured to create the thinnest lines with the highest breaking strains available. They have almost zero stretch which makes them good for fighting fish around structure but more importantly for feeling lure action and detecting bites.

Surface Lure: is a topwater presentation that stays on top of the water all the way back to the boat. They come in a range of styles such as poppers, fizzers and stickbaits. The surface lure is a casting lure that needs to be worked with stealth to entice any shallow feeding predators.

Thermocline: occurs when lake temperatures get warmer in the summer months. The thermocline is where water temperatures differ and fish tend to hang around the most comfortable area of the water column.

Treble Hook: is a three pointed hook used on many lure types.

Trolling: involves towing lures behind the boat using an outboard or an electric motor or even by paddling with oars. The boat speed moves the lure along and gives it its action. Originally plugs were used for this type of fishing but now anglers have realised the effectiveness of soft plastics, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Knowledge Helps

Understanding basics and fishing jargon may help when you hear or read about fishing in the freshwater. Look out for next months freshwater reports.

Buckled rods from The Colonel.


Australian Bass30 min2 (A closed season applies to fish not caught in dams)
Barra East Coast58 min 120 max5 (1 during closed season in dams)
Barra Gulf60 min 120 max5
Catfish (eel-tailed)35 minCombined limit of 5 for all strains of the species
Mary River Cod50 min1 within dams. None elsewhere
Murray Cod60 min, 110 max2
Eels30 minCombined total of 10 for all species
LungfishNo take
Golden Perch30 min10
Jungle Perch35 max1
Silver Perch30 minCombined total of 10 for all species
Sooty Grunter28 min10
Saratoga50 min1

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