There’s certainly no lack of fishing superstitions, and we wanted to highlight some of the more interesting ones, doing a little mythbusting as we go.
When it comes to something as unpredictable as fishing, anglers need their luck (or need to fight bad luck) any way they can. Some are warranted, some are outlandish, and some are just plain ridiculous.
Still, you wouldn’t want to be the guy who brings a banana on a fishing boat and ruins it for everyone else, would you?
Bananas in the Boat: This long-running belief is an easy way to run a superstitious fisherman, well, bananas. The story stems from early fruit traders, who would load barges with as many bananas as possible. Sometimes the sheer weight of the fruit would leave ships to the mercy of violent seas, and a sunken barge would leave a trail of bananas as a signal of the unfortunate circumstances that doomed the trip.
Bananas were also used in Colonial days as food for long trips, but spoiled bananas led to other spoiled fruit because of a gaseous emission that can ruin entire stockpiles. Sailors were left with salted meat and stale bread, not exactly a cruise ship-worthy meal. Another source of the superstition comes from poisonous spiders who like to hitch rides in bananas.
Whatever the reason, boat skippers have been known to prohibit Banana Boat sunscreen and Banana Republic clothing from their boats, believing that the fruit will bring trouble at the most, but a lack of fish caught at the least.
Suitcases on the Boat: While the myths around suitcases on boats vary, one thing’s for sure: if the guys from Deadliest Catch believe in it, there must be some hint of truth. Skippers are mainly fearful of black suitcases, as the color is believed to be a signal of death. The occasional fisherman will claim a black suitcase resembles a bodybag, an obvious connection to bad luck.
Fish bite least with wind from the east: Technically, the saying goes farther than that:
Wind from the south, hook in the mouth,
Wind from the east, bite the least,
Wind from the north, further off,
Wind from the west, bite the best.
With a lack of conclusive evidence, Accuweather.com turned to some experts for a possible explanation. Jerry Wilson, of Wilstar.com, told the site that “In the U.S. the prevailing winds are from the west, northwest, or southwest. As a general rule, winds coming from a westerly direction signifies good weather. It is only a matter of conjecture, however, if fish react to the direction of the wind.”
What other fishing superstitions do you know of? Have they ever affected your catch?