Many of us have certain rituals we perform, specific items we take along, or sayings we follow in order to have a successful day on the water. This can range from wearing a lucky clothing item like a hat, shirt, etc. to spitting on your bait to ensure it catches a fish. It can even include a saying “Fish bite least when wind blows from the East, but fish bite best when it blows from the West.”
Many of these we hold dear come from our own personal experience. For example, I caught my personal best fish while the wind was blowing west and I was wearing my YakAngler Buff around my neck. I did the same thing the next trip, and had another successful day. Then BOOM it’s our lucky item or belief that we believe we need to follow to catch fish.
Almost everyone has their own ritual or superstition, but there are a number of common examples that some people believe in. Here are three of the most popular fishing myths and superstitions and how they came to be.
Don’t have a banana with you on the boat/kayak
Some people even go as far as not having anything banana within twenty four hours of a fishing trip. There are a number of ideas as to how this superstition originated. One idea was that there are poisonous insects – particularly spiders – that lived in the bananas, and when the ship sailed the spiders would come out and kill the sailors. Another idea is that they used the fastest ships possible to transport bananas because they spoil quickly. When the sailors tried to troll, they would be unsuccessful because of the speed of the ship. (It is rumored that the Fruit of the Loom label doesn’t have a banana on it because of this very superstition.)
Don’t leave for an expedition on a Friday
This is more focused on vessels that take longer trips than we might with our kayaks, but it is still a popular superstition. The reason behind this is religious. Christ died on a Friday, and it is considered bad luck to leave on this solemn day. However, leaving on a Sunday is good luck, because you are leaving on a day of celebration of His resurrection.
Fishing is better when it is cloudy
Many of our sayings and myths come from years ago when sailors and fishermen knew very little about the weather and sea. In our current day and age, we know much more about when the fish are biting because we know more about the science behind it. We know about low/high air pressure and fish locations during certain times of the year, because people have tracked it and reported their findings. There are many other myths – and some conflicting ones – that follow the weather. These include that fish will bite well during a thunderstorm, fish don’t bite during a thunderstorm, the fish are actively eating right before a rain but stop as soon as it starts…
There are many, many more myths and superstitions that fishermen follow. Most of them have no true hold on any scientific fact, but many of us are superstitious and will still believe in them. Whether you choose to put any stock in them or not, they were once (and by some folks still are) believed and followed faithfully. After hearing about the myths and superstitions held by some, it makes you start to think about what you do and why you do it. I say if it works for you, great! Keep it up. Whatever traditions, sayings, or superstitions you honor, may you all have tight lines on all of your journeys!