Outdoor Glossary: B

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Dorsal part of the bird.

Thin, high-visibility Dacron line designed to be tied between the reel spool and the back end of the fly line.

Fouled or tangled line on an open faced reel.

(1) The upper part of the active BEACH above the normal reach of the tides (high water), but affected by large waves occurring during a high. (2) (SMP) The accretion or erosion zone, located landward of ordinary high tide, which is normally wetted only by storm tides.

(1) The seaward return of the water following the uprush of the waves. Also called backrush or run down. (2) Water of waves thrown back by an obstruction such as a ship, breakwater, cliff, etc.

backwash ripples
Low amplitude ripple marks formed on fine sand beaches by the backwkash of the waves.

bag limit
Restriction in the number of fish that an angler may retain, generally on a per trip or daily basis.

A metal, semicircular arm on an open- faced spinning reel that engages the line after a cast.

bail arm
On a spinning reel, the lever determines the direction of the spool.

food placed on a hook or in a net, trap, or fishing area to entice fish or other animals as prey. An object or organism used to attract an animal; live fish are attached to hooks and used as bait in the tuna fishery.

fishing with a revolving-spool reel attached on top of a bait casting rod. Most often used by novice or experienced anglers.

Smaller fish in the food chain used for bait to catch larger predator fish.

A term used to describe the proper combination of rod, reel fly line, leader and fly. A "balanced" outfit is the most effective fly-fishing system

ballast water
Fresh or salt water (sometimes containing sediments) held in tanks and cargo holds of ships to increase stability and maneuverability during transit bank: The rising ground bordering a lake, river or sea.

An offshore ridge or mound of sand, GRAVEL, or other unconsolidated material which is submerged (at least at high tide), especially at the mouth of a river or estuary, or lying parallel to, and a short distance from, the beach.

The nick on the point of a hook. It is intended to keep the hook from backing out of a fish's mouth after it has been hooked.

barbless hook
A hook made without a barb, or a hook on which the barb has been crimped or flattened. This is the hook style of choice for catch-and-release fishing.

bark beetle
An insect that bores through the bark of forest trees to eat the inner bark and lay its eggs. Bark beetles are important killers of forest trees.

When isobaric surfaces of a fluid are not parallel with density surfaces.

barometric pressure (also known as atmospheric pressure)
The pressure at any point in an atmosphere due solely to the weight of the atmospheric gases above the point concerned.

When isobaric surfaces of a fluid are parallel with density surfaces.

barrier beach
A bar essentially parallel to the shore, which has been built up so that its crest rises above the normal high water level. Also called barrier island and offshore barrier.

barrier island
A detached portion of a barrier beach between two inlets.

barrier spit
Similar to a barrier island, only connected to the mainland.

basal area
The area of the cross section of a tree trunk near its base, usually 4 and 1/2 feet above the ground. Basal area is a way to measure how much of a site is occupied by trees. The term basal area is often used to describe the collective basal area of trees per acre.

A large submarine depression of a generally circular, elliptical or oval shape.

The measurement of depths of water in oceans, seas and lakes; also the information derived from such measurements.

A recess or inlet in the shore of a sea or lake between two capes or headlands, not as large as a gulf but larger than a cove. See also bight, embayment.

bay diving ducks
typically, ducks that feed in deep bodies of water, usually in the coastal bays and deep lakes, and dive for their food. These include canvasback, goldeneyes, redhead, and scaup.

bay ducks
bay diving ducks.

baymouth bar
A bar extending partly or entirely across the mouth of a bay.

Breeding Bird Survey. This survey is typically performed in June by volunteers on over 4000 bird counts. The counts are done by vehicle during the morning. Many nocturnal or less vocal species are not well surveyed by the BBS. Data from this survey is used to generate the BBS maps.

(1) A deposit of non-cohesive material (e.g. sand, GRAVEL) situated on the interface between dry land and the sea (or other large expanse of water) and actively "worked" by present-day hydrodynamics processes (i.e. waves, tides and currents) and sometimes by winds. (2) The zone of unconsolidated material that extends landward from the low water line to the place where there is marked change in material or physiographic form, or to the line of permanent vegetation. The seaward limit of a beach unless otherwise specified is the mean low water line. A beach includes foreshore and backshore. The zone of unconsolidated material that is moved by waves, wind and tidal currents, extending landward to the coastline.

beach crest
The point representing the limit of high tide storm wave run-up.

beach erosion
The carrying away of beach materials by wave action, tidal currents, littoral currents or wind.

beach face
The section of the beach normally exposed to the action of wave uprush. The foreshore of the beach.

beach head
The cliff, dune or sea wall looming the landward limit of the active beach.

beach nourishment
The process of replenishing a beach by artificial means; e.g., by the deposition of dredged materials, also called beach replenishment or beach feeding.

beach profile
A cross-section taken perpendicular to a given beach contour; the profile may include the face of a dune or sea wall, extend over the backshore, across the foreshore, and seaward underwater into the nearshore zone.

beach ridge
A low extensive ridge of beach material piled up by storm waves landward of the berm. Usually consists of very coarse sand, gravel or shells. Occurs singly or as a series of more or less parallel ridges.

beach scarp
(1) An almost perpendicular slope along the beach foreshore; an erosional feature due to wave action, it may vary in height from a few centimeters to several meters, depending on wave action and the nature and composition of the beach. See escarpment. See escarpment. (2) A steep slope produced by wave erosion.

beach width
The horizontal dimension of the beach measured normal to the shoreline.

Beaufort Scale
The relationship between sea state and wind speed. The Beaufort Scale can be used to estimate wind speed at sea, but is valid only for waves generated within the local weather system, and assumes that there has been sufficient time for a fully developed sea to have become established.

The bottom of a watercourse, or any body of water.

bed load
Heavy or large sediment particles that travel near or on the bed.

bedding plane
A surface parallel to the surface of deposition, which may or may not have a physical expression. The original attitude of a bedding plane should not be assumed to have been horizontal. See also cross-bedding, sedimentary structures.

Ventral part of the bird. Synonym(s): abdomen.

bench mark (BM)
A fixed physical object or mark used as reference for a vertical datum. A tidal bench mark is one near a tide station to which the tide staff and tidal datums are referred. A primary bench mark is the principal (or only) mark of a group of tidal bench marks to which the tide staff and tidal datums are referred. The standard tidal bench mark of the National Ocean Service is a brass, bronze, or aluminum alloy disk 3- inches in diameter containing the inscription NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE together with other individual identifying information. A geodetic bench mark identifies a surveyed point in the National Geodetic Vertical Network. Most geodetic bench mark disks contain the inscription VERTICAL CONTROL MARK NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY with other individual identifying information. Benchmark disks of either type may, on occasion, serve simultaneously to reference both tidal and geodetic datums. Numerous bench marks of predecessor organizations to NOS, or parts of other organizations absorbed into NOS, still bear the inscriptions: U.S. COAST & GEODETIC SURVEY, NATIONAL OCEAN SURVEY, U.S. LAKE SURVEY, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, and U.S. ENGINEER OFFICE.

The curved angle of a hook from the gap to the point.

The economic value of a scheme, usually measured in terms of the cost of damages avoided by the scheme, or the valuation of perceived amenity or environmental improvements.

Benguela Current
A South Atlantic Ocean current setting northward along the southwest coast of Africa.

Pertaining to the sub-aquatic bottom.

Those animals who live on the sediments of the sea floor, including both mobile and non-mobile forms.

(1) On a beach: a nearly horizontal plateau on the beach face or backshore, formed by the deposition of beach material by wave action or by means of a mechanical plant as part of a beach recharge scheme. (2) On a structure: a nearly horizontal area, often built to support or key-in an armour layer. (3) A linear mound or series of mounds of sand and/or gravel generally paralleling the water at or landward of the line of ordinary high tide.

berm crest
The seaward limit of the berm, or the minimum depth of a submerged berm; also called berm edge.

Location where a river separates in two or more reaches or branches (the opposite of a confluence).

big game
Large mammals, such as deer, elk, and antelope that are hunted for sport.

A slight indentation in a coast forming an open bay, usually crescent shaped.


Marlins or swordfish, i.e., a fish whose snout is extended into a bill or spear.

The net accumulation of a contaminant in an organism from all sources, including air, water and food. Toxic chemicals tend to bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues of fish, and these toxins increase in concentration as they are passed from the prey to the predator (called biomagnification).

Describing changes in the environment resulting from the activities of living organisms.

biological amplification
The increase in concentration of a chemical in organisms that reside in environments contaminated with low concentrations of various organic compounds. For example, fish living in aquatic environments contaminated with compounds such as the chlorinated hydrocarbons will absorb those compounds through the gills. Chemicals likely to be bioaccumulated are not readily decomposed in either the environment or in an organism and are likely to be stored in the fatty tissue. Bioaccumulation can also be used to describe the progressive increase in the amount of a chemical in an organism resulting from the uptake, or absorption, of the substance exceeding its breakdown or excretion rates. In the complementary process of biological magnification, an increase in chemical concentration in organisms is a result of the passage of the chemical through the food chain, not directly absorbed from the air, water, or soil, as in bioaccumulation. Also called bioconcentration, biological amplification, and biological concentration.

biological control
The use of natural means to control unwanted pests. Examples include introduced or naturally occurring predators such as wasps, or hormones that inhibit the reproduction of pests. Biological controls can sometimes be alternatives to mechanical or chemical means.

biological diversity
The number and abundance of species found within a common environment. This includes the variety of genes, species, ecosystems, and the ecological processes that connect everything in a common environment.

The total weight of all living organisms in a biological community.

The complex of living communities maintained by the climate of a region and characterized by a distinctive type of vegetation. Example of biomes in North America include the tundra, desert, prairie, and the western coniferous forests.

The plant and animal life of a particular region.

Living. Green plants and soil microorganisms are biotic components of ecosystems.

birds of prey
this term is synonymous with raptors and includes eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, and owls.

Albie Slang term for an albacore

bitmap barn
door Slang term for a large halibut

bitmap bird's
nest same as backlash

bitmap boils
Disturbances in the surface of the water due to feeding game fish

bitmap breezers
Small or large schools of rapidly moving fish

bitmap cattle boat
Slang term for a sport fishing passenger boat

bitmap coffee grinder
Slang term for a spinning reel

bitmap color
The term for the ability to visually see the color of the fish under water

bitmap crowder
Net type device used to crowd bait fish closer together so they are more easily netted

bitmap deckhand
Term for a crewmember on a sport or private boat or yacht.

bitmap drop back
Free spooling a lure or bait back to a predator fish while trolling or after the boat

bitmap firecracker
Slang term for a small California yellowtail.

bitmap flylining
Fishing a live or dead bait without the use of any weight

bitmap jackpot
the term used for the pool of money that everyone on a boat gets into and the person who catches the biggest fish for the day or trip, takes home the winnings.

bitmap long fin
A slang name for an albacore

bitmap meatball
The term used to describe a tightly packed school of bait fish that may be trying to escape from predator fish.

bitmap on the hook
A boat that is anchored

bitmap pencil
A slang term for a very small barracuda.

bitmap plugged
Term used to describe a boat that is full of fish

bitmap pulpit
- A railed platform extension that extends from a boats bow.

bitmap salami
Slang term used for larger mackerel baits fished for very large predator fish.

bitmap short
Term used for a fish that is caught and it is below the legal limit in size and must be released.

bitmap squirt
A slang word used to describe squid.

bitmap teaser
A lure fished with no hooks in order to attract game fish while trolling so they can be fished with live bait.

bitmap toad
Slang term for a large fish.

bitmap wired
Slang word used to describe an angler that is hooked up to a fish.

A rod without a handle, guides or reel seat.

blank rod
The fiberglass or graphite shaft or rod without any hardware attached

A depression on the land surface caused by wind erosion.

A high, steep bank or cliff.

BMP (Best Management Practices)
Practices designed to prevent or reduce water pollution.

board foot
A measurement term for lumber or timber. It is the amount of wood contained in an unfinished board 1 inch thick, 12 inches long, and 12 inches wide.

boat rod
A heavy duty and durable rod used specifically for big game fishing

Main mass of the bird as distinguished from its appendages.

A wet, spongy, poorly drained area which is usually rich in very specialized plants, contains a high percentage of organic remnants and residues and frequently is associated with a spring, seepage area, or other subsurface water source. A bog sometimes represents the final stage of the natural processes of eutrophication by which lakes and other bodies of water are very slowly transformed into land areas.

An upward flow of water in a sandy formation due to an unbalanced hydrostatic pressure resulting from a rise in a nearby stream, or from removing the overburden in making excavations.

bootfoot waders
Waders that feature built-in boots.

Same as tidal bore.

bottom boundary layer
The lower portion of the water flow that experiences frictional retardation based on its proximity to the bed. See also velocity profile.

bottom fishing
Fishing on or near the bottom of the water with weighted bait.

A rounded rock on a beach, greater than 256 mm in diameter, larger than a cobble. See also gravel, shingle.

box gage
A tide gage that is operated by a float in a long vertical box to which the tide is admitted through an opening in the bottom. In the original type of box gage the float supported a graduated rod which rose and fell with the tide.

brackish water
Water with a salt content between 1000 and 4000 parts per million.

Brazil Current
A South Atlantic Ocean current setting southwestward along the central coast of South America.

Failure of the beach head or a dike allowing flooding by tidal action.

A wave that has become so steep that the crest of the wave topples forward, moving faster than the main body of the wave. Breakers may be roughly classified into four kinds, although there is much overlap (see Figure 2): Spilling bubbles and turbulent water spill down the front face of wave. The upper 25 percent of the front face may become vertical before breaking. Breaking generally across over quite a distance. Plunging a crest curls over air pocket; breaking is usually with a crash. Smooth splash-up usually follows. Collapsing breaking occurs over lower half of wave. Minimal air pocket and usually no splash-up. Bubbles and foam present. Surging wave peaks up, but bottom rushes forward from under wave, and wave slides up beach face with little or no bubble production. Water surface remains almost plane except where ripples may be produced on the beach face during backwash.

breaker index
Maximum ratio of wave height to water depth in the surf zone, typically 0.78 for spilling waves, ranging from about 0.6 to 1.5.

breaker zone
The zone within which waves approaching the coastline commence breaking, typically in water depths of between 5 m and 10 m.

breaking depth
The still-water depth at the point where the wave breaks.

Rubble mound with horizontal berm of armour stones at about sea-side water level, which is allowed to be (re)shaped by the waves.

(1) A structure protecting a harbor, anchorage, or basin from waves. (2) Offshore structure aligned parallel to the shore, sometimes shore-connected, that provides protection from waves.

Front part of the chest.

That ventral region extending immediately behind the pectoral fins of the isthmus

breast band
Stripe across the breast.

breast spot
Small, differently colored area on the breast.

The amount of air that is let into a garment and water wicked, or taken, away from the inside of the garment.

broadcast burn
A prescribed fire that burns a designated area. These controlled fires can reduce wildfire hazards, improve forage for wildlife and livestock, or encourage successful regeneration of trees.

Twigs, leaves, and young shoots of trees and shrubs that animals eat. Browse is often used to refer to the shrubs eaten by big game, such as elk and deer.

bubbler tide gauge
Same as gas purged pressure gauge.

A land area that is designated to block or absorb unwanted impacts to the area beyond the buffer. Buffer strips along a trail could block views that may be undesirable. Buffers may be set aside next to wildlife habitat to reduce abrupt change to the habitat.

buffer area
A parcel or strip of land that is designed and designated to permanently remain vegetated in an undisturbed and natural condition to protect an adjacent aquatic or wetland site from upland impacts, to provide habitat for wildlife and to afford limited public access.

(1) A structure separating land and water areas, primarily designed to resist earth pressures. (2) A structure or partition to retain or prevent sliding of the land. A secondary purpose is to protect the upland against damage from wave action.

A float; especially a floating object moored to the bottom, to mark a channel, anchor, shoal rock, etc. Some common types include: a nun or nut buoy is conical in shape; a can buoy is squat and cylindrical above water and conical below water; a spar buoy is a vertical, slender spar anchored at one end; a bell buoy, bearing a bell, runs mechanically or by the action of waves, usually marks shoals or rocks; a whistling buoy, similarly operated, marks shoals or channel entrances; a dan buoy carries a pole with a flag or light on it.

The resultant upward forces, exerted by the water on a submerged or floating body, equal to the weight of the water displaced by this body.

butt extension
In reference to the section of the rod that extends behind the fishing reel.

These are like a spinnerbait, but have a flat blade that causes it to rise quickly to the top, and create a disturbance along the surface like a minnow.

bypassing, sand
Hydraulic or mechanical movement of sand from the accreting updrift side to the eroding downdrift side of an inlet or harbor entrance. The hydraulic movement may include natural as well as movement caused by man.


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