Fishing guides spend a lot of time together in remote places. Over time, a guide staff’s dialect develops to the point of becoming close to a foreign language.
If you’re heading to Alaska West this summer, learning the terms in this handy glossary will help you understand what the heck your guide is talking about.
Tiddler – n. A particularly small fish. “I tried to get my flesh fly in front of Walter [see below], but a tiddler grabbed it first.”
Blub – v. To briefly break the surface of the water, as done by a king salmon. “I knew I was about to hook up when I started seeing all those kings blub.”
Mega – adj. Big, many, or extremely. “That king was mega!” “There were mega silvers stacked up at Zoo Bar.” “Billy was mega frustrated when his brother kept catching fish behind him.”
Gagger – n. A big fish.
Slab – n. A big fish, particularly one with big shoulders.
Pig – n. A big fish.
Choker – n. A big fish.
Toad – n. A big fish.
Hawg – n. A big fish.
Torpedo – n. A big fish.
Gack – n. A gross, slimy substance. “I need to get this salmon gack off my hands before dinner.”
Walter, Jerry, Jethro, et al – n. A specific particularly large fish, usually a rainbow trout, or a mythical giant fish. “I know that Walter lives down by Puppy Bar, and I’m going to try to catch him today.”
Tumbler – n. A spawned-out salmon tumbling downriver. “I got gack all over my waders when I got hit by that tumbler.” See also Chumbler.
Chumbler – n. A spawned-out chum salmon tumbling downriver. “There were chumblers everywhere– flesh flies worked good.”
Critter – n. A resident fish (e.g. trout, grayling). “My arms are tired – let’s go fish for some critters.”
Critter – v. To move with stealth. “I crittered my way along the high bank, looking for Big Jerry.”
Crittery – adj. Shaky, unsure. “He must have had a rough night – he looked awfully crittery on the river this morning.”
Farm – v. To lose a fish once hooked, usually due to angler error. “I can’t believe I farmed Jethro this morning.”
Grocery hole – n. The gaping mouth of a giant protein-fed rainbow trout. “You should have seen the grocery hole on the choker that ate my mouse yesterday.”
Got ’em all memorized? Come on up!