Fishermen are a superstitious bunch, what with all their fishing myths.
I know I am, and I don’t believe one bit that wearing my lucky hat or using my lucky lure will truly help me catch fish.
But I do it anyways.
That being said, there are plenty of stories about fishing that I’ve heard over the years that just aren’t true. Here are five of the biggest whoppers.
1. Barbels on catfish will cut you.
When I was a kid, I can remember a family member catching a catfish. I got close, and that person almost lost his mind. “Back off! The barbels will cut you! Badly!”
I spent years thinking that I’d need stitches if I got near a catfish. First off, the barbels are feelers. Second, there are spines in the fins, but they’re not going to take your fingers off.
2. Northern pike are vicious killers.
It’s amazing that I kept fishing since every fish out there is trying to kill me. At least, that’s what it seemed like everyone was telling me.
Just like the catfish cutting you, northern pike were portrayed to me as vicious predators. They’d chomp your line, and if you got it in the boat, dear lord, it might take your hand off. Yes, northern are aggressive, and they have sharp teeth; but you just need caution, not chain mail armor.
3. Shut up. You’ll scare the fish.
Seriously, as I think about it, why did I keep fishing? Several times as a child, I got a little noisy, and someone yelled at me to be quiet. I’d scare the fish away.
As an adult, I realize that they probably just wanted to shut up the noisy kid. The reality is that fish aren’t that worried about noise. Sure, an explosion will give them pause, but conversation and music aren’t likely to make them swim away (unless the music sucks.)
4. Take a break so the fish will bite.
I still do this one, and I swear it works. The idea is that you’ve been so intent on watching your rod or bobber for a strike, the fish must sense your intensity and refuse to strike. So, take a break. Get a snack, pee, something, and the fish will hit.
It’s probably worked for me once out of a thousand times, but I still act like it’s true.
5. Fish don’t bite in the rain.
All of us know anglers who won’t fish in the rain because “fish don’t bite when it’s raining.” More likely the truth is that they don’t want to fish in the rain. Plenty of fishermen put on the rain gear, get a lure in the water, and haul in fish.
It is true that the barometric pressure from weather systems will affect the bite, but that doesn’t mean that when raindrops plink on the water’s surface that the fish go home and wait out the storm. I’ve caught plenty of fish in the rain, but I will admit that I’d rather it be warm and sunny.
After really thinking about it, I am surprised these myths didn’t keep me from fishing. I guess that’s why I’m superstitious though, to keep the bad myths from happening.