Know Your Gear: Terminal Tackle Terminology Pt. I

What’s terminal tackle, you say? Just the hooks, swivels, weights, lures, floats, and other tackle that can be attached to the end of your line! Since terminal tackle is the part of your fishing gear that interacts with the water and interacts with the fish, we recommend knowing your stuff when it comes to outfitting your tackle box. Here is just some of the terminal tackle terminology you may encounter:

Toe the Line

We’re probably preaching to the choir here, but your line is the length of thread that goes on your reel – and at its terminus, is attached to some form of hook or lure. There are various kinds of line on the market today, like Dacron, braided nylon, fly line, and monofilament line, all of which come in several strengths.

The Pound Test

You’ve probably encountered ‘pound test’ measurements on spools of line. For those unfamiliar with this way of designating line strength, pound test refers to how much weight a line can support before it breaks. Hence the test. On spools, the strength of the line is often signified with the pound mark, #, e.g., 5# test.

Whatever Floats Your Boat

When we were kids, we called them bobbers, but nowadays we call them floats. They’re used, not as many people assume, to indicate a fish on the line (though they can do a fine job of that), but rather to suspend bait off of the bottom. Floats are typically made of plastic, foam, or balsa wood, and should rest upright in the water. We recommend using the smallest float you can.

Sinker Sank Sunk

These weights that anglers attach to their lines were traditionally made of lead but nowadays, we prefer eco options like tin, steel, bismuth, and alloys. Unfortunately making a sinker fish friendly also tends to make it more expensive, but when you love fish and the water, it pays to keep the environment clean.

The Right Hooks Get You Every Time

The most important part of a tackle box is always going to be the hook, because that is the only piece of your gear other than bait that will interact with the fish in any significant way. Today, fish hooks come in many different styles and sizes, so you always have the option of choosing one that will be the right size for your target fish (and do the least damage in catch and release situations).

Stay tuned for Terminal Tackle Terminology Pt. II!


While visiting Gloucester Ma I checked out Fisherman’s Outfitter. What an incredible selection of fishing gear and accessories. Rods, reels, line, hooks, weights, lures, and even lighted rigs!  The owner John took time to show me the awesome custom rods that they craft. Light weight and just the right amount of flex over the rod’s length for playing even a tuna or marlin. This shop has EVERYTHING needed to outfit any size fishing boat.

Michael S.
Sarasota FL

Complete Fishing Packages

Fisherman’s Outfitter can put together complete fishing packages. They include all the tackle you need to start enjoying the thrills fishing. Because these packages solely rely on your needs, you need to contact one of our professional staff. You can either email or call one of our stores to speak directly with an expert. Our Complete Fishing Packages offer discounts.