The Chemistry of Fishing


Fishing is a hobby and also a way of obtaining a food source for some. I chose this topic because I love fishing with family and friends. I began fishing when I was 4 years old. I wanted to look further into what my fishing gear is actually composed of and how chemistry has anything to do with it.

Composition of ...

  • Aluminum (reel body)- Al
  • Wood (Reel knob)- (C6H10O5)n
  • steel (bearings) (Reel seat) - Iron and carbon alloy
  • Graphite (rod)- Carbon
  • Cork (rod handle)- Outer layer of cork oak
  • Chromium (eyelets)- Cr

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


How- My rod was made by adhering graphite sheets to a steel mandrel and rolled under high pressure. It is then wrapped in cellophane and cured in a hot air oven. The mandrel and plastic are then removed from the graphite rod. Later the rod is touched up and painted. Lastly after the rod is is assembled the handle and logo are added to the rod.

What- This part of your setup is used to guide your line and bends to remove stress from the line.

When - Graphite rods came out in the 1960’s and 70’s

Why - Graphite rods allow for lightweight, more break resistant, and can be made for many different types of fishing

Where- St. Croix has a factory in Park Falls, Wi.


How- My reel was made by assembling all the aluminum parts to form the reel.

What- A reel allows you to release line when casting and then reel the line back in, while holding all excess line in the spool.

When- First fully modern fly reel was released in 1874.

Why- Reels make for an easier way to bring in fish. This allows for anglers to fish for bigger and stronger fish effectively.

Chemistry's Role

The main parts rod and reel are made of naturally occurring elements. They are altered in factories though before they are store ready, but do not undergo chemical changes. Graphite is a polymorph of carbon that is formed beneath the Earth’s surface. Cork is also naturally occurring, and is shaped to fit the rod it is meant for.

Some parts of the reel and the reel seat are composed of steel. Steel is made by combining the elements Iron (Fe) and Carbon (C). First, iron ore is mined from the ground. Next it is smelted where impurities are removed and carbon is added. This reaction is called oxidation.



3 CO(g)

2 Fe(l)


3 CO2(g)

Most of the iron oxide is reduced using carbon monoxide gas. The carbon monoxide is a reducing agent and takes the oxygen away from the iron oxide.

Chromium is casted into the form of eyelets in factories.

Background Research

Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back to the paleolithic period about 40,000 years ago. Fishing is the act of trying to catch fish. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling, and and trapping. Fishing, for some people, has evolved into a hobby rather than a way of survival.


Fishing backround information

When in originated.

Why people do it.

Steel composition.

How graphite rods are made.

What graphite rods are made of

Fly reel origin.

How steel is made.

About the Author

Brock MacDonald is a Junior at senior high. He enjoys playing baseball, being outdoors, and hanging out with friends. He hopes to graduate high school and go on to play baseball in college.