Fishing Superstitions From Around the World

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Fishermen are a superstitious bunch. From historical sailors to modern-day anglers, fortunate charms and unhealthy omens have all the time been vital on fishing journeys. Not too long ago, we requested our readers to share their fishing superstitions from all over the world. There are some well-established beliefs within the listing, however others had been utterly new to us.

No Bananas On Board

The banana goes overboard otherwise you do!

We’ll kick issues off with a basic. Half the responses we bought had been about bananas and boats. Extra particularly, how the 2 ought to by no means, ever combine. That is just about given on fishing charters, the place most captains don’t permit bananas on board. Some received’t even stand for the colour yellow!

You’ll be able to’t spend a lot time on the water with out encountering your personal “banana story.” For us, it was a visit to Fujairah, the place one yellow fruit was the distinction between eight hours of slack strains and a ship stuffed with Mahi Mahi. Sadly, there’s no solution to counter the curse, and we simply needed to strive once more the subsequent day.

The place did this fable come from? There are a number of theories. Some say that venomous spiders used to cover among the many fruit. In keeping with others, ships needed to journey at velocity to cease the cargo from spoiling, so the crew couldn’t fish alongside the best way. For those who ask us, the reply’s easy: boats with bananas onboard simply don’t catch fish!

No Black Briefcases, Both!

Bananas could also be the commonest curse on a fishing journey, however they’re not the one factor it is best to depart on the dock. In keeping with Nanci Morris Lyon from Alaska’s Bristol Bay, one of many worst issues to deliver aboard is a briefcase.

For us, it’s bananas within the boat. The opposite one which isn’t as distinguished is a black suitcase or briefcase. Means somebody’s not coming residence. We don’t like seeing anybody with both of these gadgets crawl on board. To my information, each superstitions are prevalent in Bristol Bay and a few of us reside in worry of each of them.

We get briefcases being unhealthy luck. In spite of everything, who needs to do enterprise on a fishing journey. However suitcases? Apparently, the concept comes from the colour’s affiliation with dying. Large black baggage can simply conjure up pictures of physique baggage. Fortunately, we’re extra of a polka dot and Hawaiian print form of crowd.

Don’t Step Over Rods

Anglers are fairly protecting of their deal with. That’s comprehensible – fishing gear can price some huge cash. Nothing makes your tooth grind just like the sound of rods banging on the boat rail. Nevertheless, for David Kosofsky, even shifting across the rods can smash a day’s fishing.

Right here within the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri, a standard perception amongst old-timers was that in case you step over a fishing pole or line, whether or not or not it’s within the water or on the bottom, you’ll not catch any extra fish that day, interval.

David says that this isn’t as frequent anymore but it surely was well known as reality. Our greatest guess is that it began as plain unhealthy manners and advanced right into a fable from there. In addition to, it’s not clever to plant your ft both aspect of a line when a 100 lb Blue Cat might pull it tight at any minute!

Don’t Flip the Fish

In some elements of the world, fishing superstitions prolong far past the precise day of the journey. Even the best way you eat your catch can have an effect on your probabilities the subsequent time you’re out. David Truong shared one such story from Vietnam:

In Vietnamese tradition, it’s thought of poor kind to flip a fish over to get to the meat on its underside. It’s nonetheless a customized that you will note at any of the roadside eating places within the southern a part of Vietnam – even amongst those that aren’t fishermen.

David has heard a few explanations for this perception. One is that flipping the fish is like flipping a ship, and can deliver unhealthy luck to your vessel consequently. One other concept is that turning your catch over is disrespectful, so the fish could return and flip your boat in retaliation.

Don’t Say the “R” Phrase

Don’t say it!

Folks have all the time believed within the energy of curse phrases. No, not unhealthy language – literal phrases which might be cursed. For fisherfolk, a significant one is “rabbit.” The primary individual to jot down in about rabbits was Pete Chatfield from England:

On one among my first journeys out, I used to be instructed by no means to say “rabbit” because it causes unhealthy luck. I come from a small fishing city (Deal, Kent, UK) and it’s generally recognized in these elements. Though informal fishermen discover it humorous, the captains appear to take it severely.

Quickly after, Camille Chevalier-Karfis bought in contact from France with just a little extra element:

The most important superstition is in opposition to rabbits: by no means say that animal’s title (in French “le lapin“) however ought to it’s good to speak about it, say “the title of the beast” or “the animal with the massive ears.”

Why are rabbits cursed? Properly, a rabbit’s foot is fortunate on land however not at sea, so mentioning them could appeal to the satan. A extra sensible concept is that rabbits would gnaw via the ship’s wooden and injury the hull throughout transport. Regardless of the origin, suppose twice about mentioning little Fluffy in your subsequent outing.

Pour One Out

In addition to all of the unhealthy omens, the fishing crowd has loads of fortunate charms. Typically, these are private rituals that anglers choose up all through their lifetime. Nevertheless, a few of them are deeply rooted in a rustic’s tradition. Alona Tiunina shared a Ukrainian perception with a really lengthy historical past:

It’s stated to be good luck to toss a shot of horilka (vodka) into the lake once you begin fishing. It’s because we imagine in a spirit known as Ivan Kupaila, who’s a kind of guardian of lakes and rivers. The shot of vodka is supposed as a present so he’s pleased and can permit us to catch many fish. 

Alona says that that is nonetheless quite common. Most individuals don’t truly imagine within the spirit, however she’s observed that the older the angler, the extra adamant they’re about making an providing. Possibly they’re clinging to the previous gods. Possibly fish are simply simpler to catch after they’re drunk!

Maintain Your Mouth Proper

As usually as not, superstitions are supposed to train a lesson. This can be one thing elaborate like the proper solution to eat your catch, or one thing extremely easy, like being pleasant to others. David Cusick instructed us about one he grew up with fishing in North Carolina.

After I’d go fishing on the Eno River with my grandfather, he’d all the time inform me you needed to smile and say hello to everybody you noticed on the best way, in any other case, the fish wouldn’t know to chunk. His angling buddies insisted this was a fact: For those who didn’t “maintain your mouth proper” then the fish wouldn’t come.

The old-timers could have believed it was true. Nevertheless, David thinks that his grandpa was most likely simply educating him to be well mannered. Both approach, the custom caught, and David makes positive to carry his mouth proper each time he’s heading out on the water.

Toss a Coin to Your Water

A superb day on the water is price its weight in gold. The ocean doesn’t surrender her bounty simply, although, so seafarers have all the time regarded for tactics to tip the scales of their favor. The best one? Bribe the ocean. Not less than, that’s what Dan Carpenter says:

A fishing superstition that goes approach again to the times of nautical explorers and swashbuckling pirates is to toss a coin into the water earlier than leaving the dock. This was regarded as an providing to the gods to make sure plentiful harvest (or within the case of the explorers, protected passage).

That is hardly one thing new, even to non-anglers. Wishing wells seem in cultures all over the world and well-known fountains are usually stuffed with cash. Even so, contemplating the quantity of trash we already put into the ocean, we are able to’t think about she actually needs your unfastened change.

Good Luck, Unhealthy Fishing


Irrespective of how expert you’re, fishing includes a good quantity of luck. Some days, the fish aren’t biting and no quantity of expertise will change that. It’s solely pure, then, to want individuals luck earlier than they head out. Nevertheless, in keeping with Dwight Norris, that’s a surefire solution to smash the journey.

It is vitally unhealthy if any person needs you luck by saying, “I hope you catch a variety of fish!” or “I hope you catch a giant one.” These are constant methods to smash a fishing day. At some point I heard that line and I ran my boat aground, had a hook go straight via my toe, and didn’t get a single chunk from a fish!

Dwight doesn’t actually put inventory on this fable. He says his fishing buddies simply use it as an excuse when the chunk’s gradual. Nevertheless, in case you do imagine it, there’s one simple solution to keep away from the jinx: Fish early within the morning, when no one’s awake. Not solely do you miss the well-wishers, you additionally get onto the water when the chunk’s at its finest!

Girls – Unhealthy Luck, Besides When They’re Not

Girls. Ask any sailor of yesteryear what’s the worst luck on a ship, they usually’d say girls. Besides, that’s, after they’re good luck. Confused? So had been we. However that’s what Kate Pacholek instructed us when explaining Polish fishing superstitions.

Don’t deliver any girls with you. That’s simply pure unhealthy luck. Don’t let any lady contact your fishing rods. Once more, unhealthy luck. For those who see a nun, you may as nicely pack all the pieces up and go residence. Nevertheless, touching a girl’s leg earlier than going fishing apparently brings good luck. 

Now, we received’t entertain the concept that girls are unhealthy luck on board. A number of the finest captains within the enterprise are girls, and their boats appear to get alongside simply positive with out sinking. Nevertheless, we are able to completely think about some lonely sailor spinning a yarn about fortunate legs earlier than heading out to sea.

Whistling Up a Gale

Pictured: when catchy songs kill.

Whistling comes up again and again in folks legend. From attracting snakes in Asia to “whistling away cash” in Jap Europe, there are numerous previous wives’ tales about it. At sea, individuals generally suppose it is going to conjure up a storm. Or not less than, that’s what they are saying, as Tim Zimmerman explains:

By no means whistle whereas fishing. Whistling will deliver a few gale. No solution to counteract this. Personally, I simply suppose it’s annoying if a fishing buddy is whistling a tune so I assist this superstition.

Tim appears to have hit the nail on the pinnacle with this one. There’s nothing extra irritating than tuneless tooting once you’re attempting to concentrate on the fish. Some individuals even say that it’s unhealthy luck to speak whereas fishing, most likely for a similar cause. Personally, we’re going to start out rumors that cellphone sounds scare off fish.

Fortunate Hats

We began with a basic and we’ll finish with one. Hats are the go-to appeal for individuals of all walks of life, and anglers aren’t any exception. Some previous sea canine received’t even depart port with out their fortunate hat on their head. That is positively the case for Dale Shelter.

My father had a “fortunate fishing hat.” My son does as nicely, and I have to admit, I personal two of them, one for Trout and one for Bass! I wouldn’t surrender mine for any worth!

Dale found his fortunate hats in a lot the identical approach as the remainder of us. He had a terrific fishing journey, and the subsequent time he went out, he grabbed the identical hat. As time went on, it grew to become his fishing hat, and the important thing to success on any outing.

Fishing Superstitions: One’s Made Each Minute

Dozens of individuals despatched of their fishing superstitions. These are a few of the prime ones we obtained, however there are lots extra on the market. Whether or not you’re a real believer or a whole skeptic, it’s a must to admit that anglers give you some fascinating concepts. 

Do you may have a fortunate fishing hat? Is there an fascinating fable amongst anglers in your space? Drop us tales within the feedback under. We’d love to listen to from you!

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