Wind, Current, and "Setting the Hook" - Part I

No pictures, no memoirs, no travel pieces today! Today is more of a scientific piece. To start, one advice: this post is going to be like a dense lecture! If you are one of those, who looks forward to regular reports with pictures, you can absolutely skip this post. However, hence you came to a fishing blog, I would expect you to be very interested in the post below! After all, is there anything more fun than mixing science with fishing? Haha. Probably so. However, the post below is far than boring for any serious fisherman.

Note 1: I don't have pictures for this post. I know that diagrams usually help readers to better visualize certain situations, especially readers that learn visually. My apologies - I'll relay on your imagination here.

Note 2: I tried to make the information here as true and precise as possible, which means I have revised, and excluded anything that can possibly be a HYPOTHESIS. However, the data I have to support these ideas is not only from physics, but also from most of my past experiences. Therefore, if you doubt anything that I said here, feel free to Google stuff around. I don't think it will be easy to find a guide on these subjects, though... (on factors such as force, tension, wind, current; related to physics)

Note 3: The reading is very dense. Therefore, I've divided this post in parts. This is Part I.

--------------Section 1: Tension and Force--------------

To start, a little bit of Physics (which is convenient for me, hence I'm a physics major). Please, don't get startled! People tend to be afraid when they hear the word "Physics". If you are an experienced fisherman, you may not know, but you will likely know already what am I talking about in this section of the post. Also, I'll start from the beginning, and I mean from the very basics of it (definition, application, etc).

As fishermen, it's very important to realize that most of what we do in fishing is directly related to PHYSICS! Of course fishermen don't even think about the word "physics" while fishing (most people really hate physics!), but the fact that we act by common sense and trial and error (sounds familiar, huh? The empirical way) shows how we have the nature of physicists, after all. Physics is buried below our consciousness, in the shadows of the actions we perform while fishing.

Here goes some examples of how you may have acted without even knowing you were meddling with physics:

1. Have you ever used a float with a weight and hook, put it in the water, and watch the float sink right away? If you answered yes to this question, and you knew what you were doing, you probably figured out that that wasn't a fish bite. You probably figured it out that the weight was too heavy, and it was sinking the float. Keep this thought in mind.

2. Have you ever set the hook (which means pulling the rod abruptly in response to a fish's bite), feel the weight and the force of the fish for a moment, and suddenly lose it? You probably said something like "OHHHHH!!!!" at that time, isn't it? After all, you lost the fish. Keep this thought in mind.

3. Have you ever cast out in a body of water with an average to strong current, and suddenly watch your line moving in the direction of the current? Keep this thought in mind.

4. Have you ever played a fish, and lost it when it surfaced (the hook unhooked)? Keep this thought in mind.

5. Have you ever fished in a very windy day, and had trouble identifying fish bites by looking at the tip of your rod? Keep this thought in mind.

It's very likely that you went through all these situations, if you are really a fisherman. Maybe you could have skept situation 1, but you should have experienced the other 4 at least once in your life! If not, do not have shame - one day you will experience it, and you will know what am I talking about here. Now, here comes the physics and the solutions to it (Skip it if you are not into science because this part can be VERY CONFUSING):

1. Archimedes Principle
What happens when you throw your sinker in the water?'s obvious, isn't it? It sinks!

But then, what happens when you throw your float in the water?'s obvious by the name, isn't it? It floats!

But why does one sink, and why does the other one float? It's obvious, isn't it? "One is heavier than the other." "They are made of different materials - one is metal, the other one is plastic/wood." Those are not false statements. However, from a more accurate perspective, it can be said that one is denser than water (weight - sinker), and another one is less dense than water (float).

By theory:

- If something is denser than water ---> Sinks.
- If something is less dense than water ---> floats.

If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. Oil floats on water because it is less dense than water (get some kitchen oil and water in a glass, mix it, and you will see two layers forming - oil above, and water below). The same applies for our float. And therefore, our sinker sinks because it's denser than water.

Do we float in water? Have you ever thought about that? Certainly, dead fish float in water, right? that really correct? Well...if you want to find the answer, feel free to click on the link below:


Force: "Strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement" (Google: Definition of Force)
Buoyant force: "an upward acting force, caused by fluid pressure, that opposes an object's weight." (Google: Buoyant force Definition)
Gravity: "The force that attracts a body toward the center of the Earth, or toward any other physical body having mass" (Google: Gravity Definition)

By theory:

There's a buoyant force on every object in water (makes it float).
There's a gravitational force on every object in water (makes it sink).

Basically, when you throw something in the water, the object has a force that makes it sink. That is the force of gravity, and the force of gravity acts on the weight of the object. Therefore, the weight of the object makes it sink. At the same time, there's a buoyant force that acts on the object upwards, and tries to make it float.

That implies:

- If the force of gravity is greater than the buoyant force, the object will sink.

- If the buoyant force is greater than the force of gravity, the object will float.

So, what happened when the float sank with the weight? It meant that the force of the gravity of the weight+float was much bigger than the buoyant force of weight+float. Since the weight of the sinker is much heavier than the float, it has a much bigger force of gravity. Therefore, the solution is to simply make the weight smaller, in a way that the buoyant force of weight+float is greater than the gravitational force of weight+float.

I'm sure not a lot of people think about these stuff when they watch their rigs sinking or floating, right? And here comes the main question: " what? Why is this important?"

This example was certainly an easy example, and a very common one. However, if a fisherman takes another step in understanding these theories, much can be done to improve skills and performance. For example: by understanding the concept of buoyancy, a fisherman will be able to control the depth of his/her baits using different kinds of rigs (i.e. cork rig for still fishing). Check out this special CRAZY rig that allows a fisherman to control SPECIFICALLY the depth he/she wants:

Do not forget that changing the depth of baits is a very important concept in fishing! Certain species of fish bite at certain depths at certain seasons of the year. Also, hitting the "thermocline" increases the chances of success dramatically. Specially if you are a BASS FISHERMAN, the thermocline concept should be in your bible! For more information, you can access the website below:


Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S.


Post a Comment