Many fishing superstitions, legends, myths, and beliefs are ancient traditions, legacies of history. Others were born of events that no navigator was able to explain. Do you have one yourself?
Fishing superstitions: every self-respecting angler has his or her superstitions when it comes to what helps to catch fish or what can be bad luck. Some of them are well known by the general public, others are known only by true fishers. We've made a list for you to get to know some of them.
Is banana bad luck?
Banana in the fishing boat, no way. At least this is one of the most popular superstitions among fishermen. There is no scientific or technical explanation for that. Perhaps the smell of one of the most popular fruits scare the fish away or attract bad luck. But there might be a reason why bananas are seen as bad luck by anglers and boat captains.
On an interview with The New York Times, Rick Etzel tells the history behind the no-bananas superstition among anglers: "Something about a shipload of bananas that carried some weird bacteria which killed everyone on board. Maybe fictitious, but some people take the banana thing very seriously. A few years back, a guy on one of my charters showed up wearing a Banana Republic T-shirt. Another guy in the group went up to him with a knife and slashed the logo.''
However, it is worth remembering that banana is not considered a villain in the practice of many other sports. Rich in potassium and in carbohydrates, the fruit serves as a great energy source. Therefore, if you are able to let go of the superstition, you should consider taking it for a snack.
To whistle or not to whistle?
Whistling is another angler's superstition that comes from sailors. It can be either a good or a bad thing depending on the weather conditions. The superstition says that if the ship is going through a lull, whistling helps bring in winds, and therefore, it is recommended.
However, if it is already windy, an unsuspecting whistle can summon a storm, so it must be avoided. So, keep the whistling to the minimum to be sure you are not attracting a storm by mistake.
Do not change the name of the boat
Some people could not even imagine renaming their boat. It would be like changing the name of your own child, wouldn't it? But we have to agree that it is understandable why some anglers might want to change the name of their boat. Imagine having the name of your ex who left you in your boat forever! But we should warn you, many sailors believe that you should not change the name of a boat, otherwise this will bring a lot of bad luck to navigate.
Might be a good idea then not to name your boat after a person. Naming it after a dog may be safer in this case.
Don’t forget to christen your boat
In the same way that you should only name your boat once, you should never forget to christen it.
The tradition of christening a ship is as old as the ships themselves. It is known that Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks already performed ceremonies in order to ask the gods protection for men who would launch into the sea, but by 1800 the christening started to follow a certain pattern.
A kind of "baptismal fluid" was poured out against the bow of the vessel, which could be usually wine or champagne. The tradition preached that a woman should do the honors and be named "benefactor" of the ship in question when breaking a bottle in the hull of the boat. If a ship were not properly christened, it would be considered unlucky.
Don’t mess with the gods
Word has it that all ships must have a silver coin under the mast. This is believed to bring good luck, and of course, a good fishing day. There are many stories of why that is, but the tradition seems to have begun with the Romans. It is said that the coin was a form of "toll" charged by the god Cáron, charged with bringing the souls of the dead in their boat across the Acheron River. If a disaster happened to the ship, the silver coin would serve as the payment of all the sailors, who would pass safely to the other side.
In the same way, some captains believe that you should not be out in the sea on a Thursday because it is the “Day of Thor”, known to be the god of thunder and storms in the Nordic mythology.
Did you know that when on board of a ship, there is a forbidden word? You should never say RABBIT on board. As crazy as it sounds, it is believed that this cute animal brings a lot of bad luck. The explanation comes from the fact that the animal had the bad habit of gnawing the ship back when boats were still made of wood. They ended up being forbidden to embark.
Since most ships nowadays are no longer made of wood we think this superstition can be forgotten, don’t you think?
Bellow the equator line, some anglers believe that fishing during the months that have the letter “r”, such as September and April, in the name is a lucky charm.
The obvious explanations for the phenomenon of the letter "r" are linked to the seasons. From May to August the waters cool down in the south of the globe. This period covers the end of autumn and all winter. During this time many species become slyer, with little disposition. Consequently, fishermen either get "afraid" of the cold or do not hit the spot at the best moment.
As of September, the waters get warmer again, because every day the intensity of winter - which in some regions may be more or less severe - decreases with the arrival of spring. Many superstitious fishers believe that at this stage fish are "hungry", and predators willing to leave the bottom to attack their prey.
It doesn’t matter what is your superstition and if you will be away from bananas, avoid saying the word rabbit or will go fishing in the months with the letter “r”. Truth is, no one wants to go home without catching any fish. So, anything goes when it comes to superstitions and lucky charms in fishing!
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