The list of fishing superstitions is long, and anglers have always been known for taking every measure to turn Lady Luck in their favor. These superstitions can sometimes be traced back to ancient nautical beliefs; once upon a time mariners believed it was bad luck to bring bananas on boats, and today many fishing boats enforce a ban on the fruit because the captain believes it makes it harder to catch fish. In other cases the superstition derived from common beliefs about luck in general, such as wearing your lucky hat or carrying a lucky charm. In all cases, however, it’s fair to say that on the whole fishermen can be a very superstitious bunch.
Crestliner Pro Angler John Cox has a fishing buddy who wore the same pair of underwear for a week straight (you don’t want to break a hot streak!), and another who insists on filling his boat from fuel pump number one (because everyone wants to be number one). Cox himself admits to getting a new haircut — a mullet, no less — to change his luck after finishing dead last in two bass fishing tournaments in a row.
So, what are some of the other common superstitions anglers abide by? Whether you enjoy walleye fishing or catching catfish, you might just hear:
- Never step over a fishing rod, or the bite will shut down.
- Tossing change overboard will improve your luck, sort of like tossing a coin into a wishing well.
- Whistling brings bad luck if you’re fishing on a boat. This is another of the old nautical derivatives; mariners in the days of sailing vessels believed whistling could cause a storm to kick up.
- If you catch a fish on your first cast, the rest of the day you probably won’t catch many more. Highly superstitious anglers have been known to make a pitiful three-foot cast when starting off, just to make sure this doesn’t happen.
- Never take out the net and get it ready until there’s a fish on the line.
- Kissing a fish brings good luck (alternatively, some believe that spitting in the fish’s mouth brings good luck… but we’re not so sure the fish agree).
- And of course, drum roll please, you’ll always catch more fish if you use your lucky lure.
Now before you close this webpage, be sure to cross your fingers as you toss some salt over your shoulder and knock on some wood. Anyone out there have a horseshoe they can lend us?