Trolling Terms

The following is a list of terms and definitions that are used in the Alaskan Troller and may be helpful for understanding more about trolling in general.

Bilge pump—electric pump that pumps out water from a boat. Usually connected to a float switch that makes it turn on automatically if too much water enters a boat compartment.

Breaking strap—a weaker strength line that will break before a stronger, major wire or line does.

Bull Kelp—ropy strands from 10 to 60 feet long with tennis ball size bulb at one end and rooty blob at the other. Tears loose during storms and floats in bunches or single strands.

Bulwarks—a boat’s side above the deck .

Cannon ball—lead sinker weighing anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds.

Cathead—roller the anchor rests in.

CB—short wave radio, range about five miles.

Coho—a species of salmon second in quality to king salmon.  Also called Silvers, their average dressed  weight is from five to ten pounds depending on time of season.

Coho spoon—a 3-inch by 3-inch spoon that is very brightly-colored—like cerise, chartreuse, red and orange.

Electrolysis—when different metals, such as copper and steel, erode due to electrical action in salt water.

Fathom—six feet in depth.

Filter—bowl-like device with a replaceable element that that collects water and debris from the fuel tanks. If the filter plugs a diesel engine stops running.

Firecracker—small herring trolled behind the flashers.

Flasher—shiny 11 by 4 inch plastic object that revolves in water and attracts fish with a hoochie or a herring on the end.

Float—styrofoam object 30 inches long by 15 inches wide by 3 inches thick, which attaches to trolling wire and is floated back 50 feet or more from the main trolling wires.  It prevents tangling with main trolling wires.

Fo’c’sle—forward lower cabin of a boat.

Grid or Grid Iron—timbers about 8 feet apart with piling by each one.  Used to set down a boat on in order to work on the boat bottom. Boats are placed on it at high tide and when the tide runs out the bottom is exposed and can be worked on.

Gurdy—spool-like apparatus that reels in trolling wire with hydraulic power

Hayrack—roof-like affair on the stern of a boat.  Gurdies are attached to the upright pipes.

Herring fillet—a small slice of the side of a herring attached to a hook covered by an artificial squid.

Hoochie—artificial squid about four inches longitudinal with a body about thumb size with several leg-like strips.

Humpy—most prevalent salmon and most inferior quality. Average undressed weight from two to five pounds. Popular with net fishermen, but not trollers due to their low price.

King spoon—5-7 inches long by 3 inches wide, usually brass or brass/copper or chrome.

Knot—a unit of speed of one nautical mile per hour.

Leader snap—4 inch metal object that attaches to trolling wire similar to a safety pin.

Nobeltec Navigation—program that uses a global positioning system that shows location of boat on marine charts which are read from a laptop computer.

Pike pole—en foot aluminum pole with a large hook at one end

Plug—4 to 6 inch cylinder-shaped lure that darts back and forth while trolling.

Running chart—a nautical chart that shows very large areas of water and land without much detail.

Tagged—small plastic dime-size donut, that stops the main wire at desired trolling depth. Also takes wire out to the end of the pole tip.

Tattletale—a line going to a spring at the tip of a trolling pole that indicates a fish biting by pulling the spring.

Tide—water drop and fall due to the moon’s gravitational pull.  Around Wrangell the highest tides are about 21 feet. They are called “minus tides” and water level can fall around 24 feet. tides go from high to low every six hours.

Troller traveling speed—depending on tide and wind conditions, averages about 7 miles per hour.

Turn-around—Preparations for returning on another fishing trip immeidately. Usually involves refueling the boat, taking on new ice in the hold, and a new supply of groceries.

VHF—very high frequency long range radio which broadcasts about 30 miles.

3 Responses to Trolling Terms

  1. Dave Kubo says:

    Does the book show how a tattle tail line is set up?

  2. Ellie Baker says:

    bookmarked, great internet site!

  3. Kathy McDonald says:

    I’m reading “Leaving Protection” by Will Hobbs. This is very helpful.

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