A successful fishing outing relies on many aspects, from location, to equipment, to technique, and timing – but that doesn’t rule out that ‘luck’ is still a significant factor in the minds of many anglers. To quantify how important a factor this is to anglers, Fishbrain (www.fishbrain.com), the social media app for people who love fishing, called on its 7 million US users to share the their most rigid fishing superstitions which they adhere to when on the water.
From worrisome fruit to intentionally bad casts, the best responses have been curated by the Fishbrain team.
We hadn’t heard the pineapples one before now, so this was especially interesting that so many Fishbrain anglers mentioned pineapples being a good omen for fishing! But fruit in general seems to be a common theme.
- “Bananas are bad luck and pineapples are good” – Magnus, North Dakota
- “Never bring any fruit but pineapple. The lucky pineapple gets strapped to the bow of the boat.” – noah-johns, Virginia
We saw an angler, Bill Weidler, win a professional tournament in the last few weeks on St. Clair, playing music in his Airpods to calm him down during the fight with big smallmouth so he wouldn’t rush and lose them on light line. Some anglers swear by music while others are dead set against it as a noise fish don’t like. Here’s what some Fishbrain anglers relayed:
- “Playing music scares the fish” – hudson.hataway, Louisiana
- “I gotta have music, for sure!” – tritonchandler, Oklahoma
- “Always play music for the fish, and jig along to the rhythm” – williamson.c92, North Carolina
7. Positive Attitude
This one plagued all of us at some point. As kids our fathers would tell us “we weren’t holding our mouth right,” meaning we didn’t have a positive outlook on the fishing or lack of fish. Many Fishbrain anglers surveyed agreed with having a negative attitude jinxing their fishing.
- “Leave the bad mood at home, the fish can tell and won’t come” – Jlambert8429
- “Know and follow the fishing regulations, wherever you go. It’s good karma” – Captain-Kirk1, New Jersey
- “I say hello to everyone I pass on the way to the fishing spot.” – HighSteppin
6. Kissing Fish
Kissing a fish probably came as much from watching guys like Jimmy Houston kiss his fish on TV as it did from the old wives’ tales of spitting in the first fish’s mouth for luck and good catches the rest of the day.
- “Kiss. Every. Fish” – Reilyroyce
- “Always kiss the fish before returning it” – Bass_Alpha55, NC
- “Don’t kiss your fish, it’s bad luck” – carterwease, Florida
5. Lucky Lures
Lucky lures definitely come into play when anglers are talking about being superstitious about catching and not catching. Something that worked yesterday better get thrown first. Or if something isn’t working, then fall back to your lucky lure.
- “Whatever lure is tied on from last time, throw it in a couple times before you switch – just to make sure. Even when it doesn’t make sense!” – Nvrlearnedtowhisper, Colorado
4. Lucky Hats (Charms)
Many anglers believe in having a “lucky rabbits foot” so to speak before heading out on a fishing trip. Maybe it’s a hat, a keepsake or something simple that they offer to the waters before a day of searching for fish.
- “If I don’t have the necklace my sister made for me, it’s not a good day” – lpokrandt
- “I toss a quarter into the lake for luck every time before I start” – flipinthebird, California
- “I have a lucky hat” – kansasangler2, Kansas
- “Need my lucky fishing hat” – Bigskyfishing, Montana
“The cows laying down means fishing is going to be tough.”
Many of us that grew up near or passed by cattle farms on the way to the lake heard this one a time or two. Anglers believe that cows react to barometric pressure the same way fish do. So if the cows are down and not active, the fish likely won’t be either according to many Fishbrain anglers:
- “If cows are not grazing, then the fish are not biting. That was my grandfather’s!” – Derail69, Florida
- “If the cows in the pasture are standing up it will be a good day of fishing” – warnermcdonald, Alabama
2. First casts
The first cast omen is another popular fishing superstition that if one bites and you catch it on the first cast, the rest of your day will be jinxed for bites. Many professional anglers will make a warm up cast off to the side of their boat not in the direction of where they think a fish might be before starting their day just to avoid the curse of the first cast.
Fishbrain anglers had this to say:
- “I have to get in the water before first cast” – johnpatrickdunagan, Florida
- “If you can one on the first cast, it’ll be a bad day” – TDarlingbass, Oklahoma
- “The first cast needs to be backwards over my shoulder” – Keep_fishing_never_stop, Idaho
- “Catching one on the first cast is bad luck” – bobby.rodgers, Pennsylvania
The banana superstition is easily the most common of all fishing superstitions believed to be derived from sailors who said spoiled bananas on long voyages attracted disease ridden bugs. But now is commonly believed to just be the general kiss of death to a good fishing day. While anglers like Jacob Wheeler debunk these beliefs on a regular basis, it still rang the most true of the millions of Fishbrain anglers polled. Here are some quotes.
- “Never bring a banana on a boat, might as well just throw it overboard” – Bitestalker
- “No Bananas” – Phil.e
- “Banana on the boat = bad fishing” – HuntingandFishingWithHenry
- “NO BANANAS EVER” – jackson.hamm
- “Always bring bananas” – LZFishing
What other ones would you add to this list? Let us know on our Facebook Post!
To learn more and download the Fishbrain app, visit Fishbrain.com.