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5 Fishing Superstitions That May or May not Work

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Photo by Spencer Durrant

Fishing is an activity which lends itself very easily to superstitions.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Thoreau, in just a few short words, exposes the simple fact that fishing is much more than just a hobby – it’s a lifestyle. As such, any lifestyle centered around the outdoors (and a rather large amount of luck sometimes) is a breeding ground for superstitions.

How many of you guys have a lucky fishing hat? That lucky fly which seems to always work on the last day of the brown trout spawn, but no other time during the year? Or that banged-up topwater lure that always manages to bring some fat smallmouth to hand? Every fisherman is superstitious, and that’s a generalization I don’t feel nervous at all making!

This list goes over just a few of the fishing superstitions floating around out there, as well as a few from the lives of fishing buddies of my own.

Superstition 1: No Bananas

Commercial fishermen – those brave guys out on boats hauling up cages and nets for 12 hours at a time – have quite a few superstitious beliefs, many of which have been handed down through the ages from when fishing first started from a boat. One of the most popular of these is the belief that bringing a banana on board is bad luck. No one exactly knows why, but if you’re on a boat which has bananas, you should head back to land as quickly as possible.

RELATED: Bananas in the Boat

Maybe the Titanic had bananas on board?

Superstition 2: No Cameras

I reached out to a few of my fishing friends, and one of the most common themes was no cameras.

Good ol’ Haws isn’t crazy about his “no cameras” policy, and neither is another Twitter supporter.

A loophole exists here, though; apparently, cameras on cell phones don’t count. This 22 inch Provo River brown trout proves that!

Photo by Spencer Durrant
22in. Provo River brown trout. Photo by Spencer Durrant

So, regular cameras are bad luck, but cell phone cameras are apparently approved by the fishing gods.

Superstition 3: No Net

This is an odd one, but apparently some fisherman refuse to get the net wet until after the first fish of the day has been caught. This means you’ve got to wrangle in a fish, touch it, and put it back safely all without the aid of a net.

While I actually prefer fishing without a net (it’s a challenge I’d recommend trying once or twice), most anglers find it rather difficult. According to this article in The Anniston Star, however, some pros subscribe to this belief.

Superstition 4: Kiss The Fish

Fishermen are an odd group to begin with. They’re guys who moan loudly about getting out of bed before 9am most days, unless that day involves fishing. Then, you can count on a fisherman to be up before the fish, motoring away to his favorite waters. This kissing the fish superstition, however, ranks up there in the “odd fisherman things” category.

According to some anglers, failing to kiss the first fish you catch during your outing will result in you catching far less fish than you want too. Kissing the fish is probably a superstition that dates back to the older days, but it’s stuck around nonetheless.

Superstition 5: No Fish On The First Cast

This is a belief I subscribe wholeheartedly to. I’ve been fishing religiously for over a decade now, and on any trip where I catch a fish on the first cast, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach because those trips usually end up as a bust.

A lot of fishermen (myself included) will use a “throwaway” cast the moment they get to the water, in order to purposely avoid hooking a fish at the start of the day.

Once, I was fishing a lake known to hold some big brook trout. On my first cast, I reeled in this beauty.

Photo by Spencer Durrant
3.5 pound brook trout. Photo by Spencer Durrant

The rest of the day, I didn’t catch a single fish. So this is a superstition that is 100% true, in my mind.

What are your superstitions? Like any on this list? Comment below and share this so your fishing buddies can add a few more tricks to their superstition arsenal! 

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5 Fishing Superstitions That May or May not Work