Physics of Fishing

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Fishing contains a wide variety of physics. when you cast you are using projectile motion and rotational motion. when you hook a fish it will often use the drag from the current agenst you. Immagine draging a fish through a swift current. You deal with the tention of your line, and the friction of the line through the guides. you also deal with friction when you use a drag.


One of the key components of your fishing gear is the reel.

These are spinning reels designed for smaller fish. You would probably use a reels like this for lakes.

These reels usually have a series of gears that turn the line collecting devices several times for each crank of the handle.

The reel on the left is the simpler design. That design has a stationary spindle and a bar that rotates around it to collect the line. On most models the drag works by a screw on the top of the spindle that applies pressure on the spindle to increase or decrease the friction to allow the spindle to spin if the fish applies enough force to overcome the friction. The problem with this design is that once the fish breaks the static friction the resistance to the fish pulling out line decreases and it is very difficult to change while fighting a fish.

the closed faced reels have a small peg inside that catches the line and then spins around the top of the spindle. For this design the reel has a plate that can be moved up and down by a dial on the front. This plate is what controls the drag. The advantage of this method is that it allows you to adjust the drag while you are fishing.

This reel is designed for off shore fishing. This real is much larger and is geared so you must crank the handle several times in order to get the spindle to make a complete rotation. A handy thing if you have to haul up a fish that is 50kg or more from the bottom of the ocean. This reel works by turning the spindle while the line feeder remains stationary. The drag works by pushing a plate into the spindle. There is a knob on the side that allows you to increase the pressure on the plate.

When setting your drag you must take into account more then line strength. You must also take into account your hook and the strength of the flesh that you are probably hooking into.

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"Physics of Fishing." 21 Jun 2018
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For instance if you are king fishing with 40 lb test line (approximately 18 kg) you may not want to set your drag to the line strength, because if you hook a fish on the edge of its mouth then the fish may apply enough force that the hook will actually cut through the fishes flesh.

The fishing rod is one of the basic pieces of equipment for fishing. Whether you are pulling in the big one with a deep sea pole or just catching pan fish with a cain pole a rod is a crucial tool. It is possible to hand line small fish but this method is severely limited and can be painful if you hook into a large fish.

The pole used depends on the type of fishing you are doing. For smaller fish long thin poles are used. For big fish thicker and usually shorter poles are used.

Fly rods are usually the longest. Some of them approach 3 m. While deep sea fishing poles are commonly only 1.5 m.

One of the primary functions of a pole is to aid in casting. This is important in many instances because fish are not always swimming right next to you. Casting works through a combination of projectile motion and rotational motion of the rod.

You use the length of the rod to increase the velocity of your lure. When you release your line for the cast the angular velocity of your lure becomes a projectile.

By increasing the velocity of the lure you increase its momentum.

You apply a torque to the rod causing an acceleration. The amount of acceleration is dependent on the length of the rod.

Angular acceleration equals the torque over the moment of inertia. The moment of inertia equals 1/12 mass multiplied by the length of the pole.

Since the acceleration is the change in velocity over time, the velocity of the lure is dependent on the length of the rod, the torque applied, and the period of time applied.

The most commonly used fishing line currently is monofilament, because it is cheap, light, fairly strong, and clear. The biggest problems with monofilament is that it tends to have memory problems. When the line is left on a reel for an extended period of time it tend to remain curled. This is mainly a problem for bait or drift fishing, because the line tends to hold slack.

In most instances the line is attached to a pole of some sort, but in some places people do hand line. The problem with this is it is very difficult to hold fishing line in your hand. You can wrap it around your hand but this is limited to small fish because the line is so thin that if a large fish begins to pull that force is over a small area so the pressure on your hand will get big fast.

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