Trout fishing glossary

Essential New Zealand trout fishing terms

Grumpy McMurdo General

If words like dropper, harling, hatch and tippet have you scratching your head, read on.

  • 5-weight – the weight of a line according to the AFTMA rating system, measured by weighing the first 30 feet of any line.
  • Backswirl – where the river flows back upstream at the edge of a strong current.
  • Beadhead – a small, round, metal bead with a drilled hole so it can be slid onto a hook; usually made of brass, copper or tungsten.
  • Blind fishing – fishing for trout in likely lies as they cannot be spotted.
  • Dead drift – a drag free drift of the fly through a pool downstream fishing – fishing downsteam using a sinking line and a streamer fly.
  • Drag-free drift – where the line is manipulated to ensure there is no drag on the fly caused by the current that might be seen to be unnatural by a trout.
  • Dropper – a section of nylon tied into the leader to support an extra fly.
  • False cast – a preparatory cast that does not land on the water.
  • Flashback – a strip of flashy material placed on top of a trout fly usually over the wingcase.
  • Flyline – the line that is used in flyfishing; it is tapered to enable it to be cast with a flyrod.
  • Freshes – small floods that clean out and freshen up the river.
  • From-the-current cast – a cast where the line is propelled from the water downstream of the angler upstream with one forward casting action.
  • Harling – fishing from a boat with a flyrod.
  • Hatch – the emerging of insect larvae and transformation into the adult insect.
  • Koura – freshwater crayfish.
  • Laminar flows – the movement of water in a river at different speeds at various depths.
  • Lateral line – a series of pored scales along the side of a trout.
  • Leaders – the connection between the rod and the trace or tippet, usually tapered nylon or braided material.
  • Line hand – the hand not holding the rod.
  • ‘Line’ the fish – casting too close to the fish so that the flyline falls heavily and scares the fish.
  • Littoral zone – the food-rich, shallow areas of a lake.
  • Marabou – a soft, frond-like feather with good movement.
  • Match the hatch – choosing a fly pattern that closely represents the insects hatching out at the time.
  • Matuku (Matuka) – a style of wet fly originally made from the feathers of the native bittern – a Matuku.
  • Open-loop cast – a cast where the rod is brought forward more slowly to ensure the fly remains higher, above the angler’s head.
  • Parachute cast – a cast where the forward cast is not fully completed, allowing the fly to fall gently on the surface.
  • Pocket water – water where the current/flow is broken by rocks or boulders.
  • Prime lie – the most favoured spot for a trout in terms of shelter and food.
  • Reach cast – a cast where the arm is extended to one side or the other to produce a degree of aerial mending.
  • Reverse roll cast – a technique of roll casting across the angler’s body rather than forward as in a conventional roll cast.
  • Sea-run trout – a trout that has spent 2 or more years living in the sea.
  • Shooting head – a fly line that has only the front tapered section of 10-15 metres and is attached to thin running line.
  • Short-line nymphing – dead-drift nymphing using the extended arm to guide the fly through the turbulent currents.
  • Sinker nymph – a weighted nymph used to get an unweighted tail fly deeper.
  • Slack-line cast – a cast where a technique is used to put extra line on the water in an ‘S’ shape to allow for currents between the angler and the fly.
  • Spooked trout – a trout that has been scared by the angler or his/her actions.
  • Stalking – sneaking up on an unsuspecting trout.
  • Streamer fly – a fly tied to imitate a small baitfish, koura or similar trout prey.
  • Tail of a pool – the last part of a pool before the rapids.
  • Terminal tackle – the gear at the end of a flyline, usually leader, tippet and fly.
  • The lie – where trout hold in a stream or river.
  • Tippet – the piece of nylon or fluorocarbon between the fly and the leader.
  • Upstream mend – a roll of the wrist that produces a flipping of a section of line upstream to produce a mend.

Compiled by Ron Giles.

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