Fishermen have many superstitions, we often use them to explain a bad days fishing. In this topic, I will discuss 13 of the main superstitions held onto by trout fishermen.
Fishing often comes down to confidence, if someone is fishing with confidence they are more likely to catch fish. If someone’s confidence is wrecked, maybe because someone eats a banana then their fishing will likely deteriorate.
This could be the reason why so many of these superstitions continue to exist and gain firm believers.
Never take a new rod on a serious trip
Some people believe it is bad luck to take a brand new rod on a serious fishing trip. The superstition goes that the smell of a new rod is enough to warn the trout.
Well, this is actually good advice. While I do not believe the smell really matters, it is still a good idea to fish a new rod first close to home, because any defects in the blank are likely to show themselves within the first hour or so of fishing.
For the same reason, it is also a good idea to fish a rod shortly after buying it. Do not wait several years until it is out of warranty before using it.
Better for a new rod to break close to home, rather than up some remote valley in Patagonia.
When the flowers are out, the fishing is good
If the trees are in bloom, it means the fishing is going to be good. Depending on where you live it could refer to different species of plants.
Well. Umm. The trout do not care about flowers, but flowers do indicate that spring is in the air and warming temperatures means increased insect activity. All of these contribute to better fishing.
So, this one is basically true.
Seven turns on a knot, not five, not six.
There are some variations to this superstition, but it usually revolves around requiring a specific number of turns when tightening a knot. If you use too many, or too few turns the fishing is going to be bad. Some people only use an even number of turns, others only odd numbers of turns.
Trout do not actually care how many turns are on your knot, but using too many or too few turns can result in a weaker knot which can increase the chance of it failing.
The correct number of turns depends on the diameter of the line and the material. Tying a knot with braid requires more turns, while thick monofilament requires less.
So 7 turns is not a lucky number, but with thin trout monofilament it is generally good advice. So while not blatantly false, it is also not entirely accurate.
Lucky Hat, Lucky Vest, Lucky Waders
Many anglers have a lucky hat, vest, waders, tackle box and the list goes on. Some even say it must never be washed no matter how dirty it gets.
Well, luck and life events are of our own making. So this one falls into the ‘fiction’ category.
But if a piece of clothing gives you more confidence then by all means continue to wear it.
The Fish Can Hear You Speak
When out fishing you must be quiet, you can not speak loudly, shout or make too much noise because the trout can hear you coming and they will spook.
This one is partly true, while sounds out of the water is not going to directly scare fish (It might scare birds, that panic will scare fish) but sound does not really transmit well through the water surface. So speaking loudly is okay. I have been trout fishing near to bird scaring cannons blasting, and while the sound was deafening to me, the trout did not care.
(Side note crappy music and loud children are the obvious exceptions to the reality)
While sound traveling through the air does not scare trout, sound can transmit quite well through the bottom of a boat. So loud bangs and stomping around the hull of a boat can send vibrations through the water which is enough to warn fish.
So this one is situationally true.
Not bringing a rain jacket makes it rain
At times it seems like this one is true. If you do not bring a rain jacket, chances are a thunderstorm will develop.
If you take your rain jacket off, it will start to shower. If you put it on, the rain will stop.
If you cancel a trip because of ‘bad weather’ it will likely turn out fine.
If you decide to take your chances, it will turn into a torrent.
Well, trout bite in the rain. So get wet and keep fishing.
Speaking of the wind will make it blow.
Well, the wind is going to do, what it is going to do. Nothing we can do or say is going to change that.
If the wind starts to blow, learn to double haul to punch into it, get out your spinning combo, or walk to the other side of the lake. Although, if you do the last one the wind will just change directions.
Storytime, Whenever I kayak. I seem to have a headwind in both directions. I hate the wind at times.
Curse of the first cast
The superstition goes that if you are lucky enough to catch a fish on your first cast, and no matter how hard you try, and how much effort you put in the rest of the day will be ruined. You will be lucky to catch even a straggler.
This is a fun belief, but obviously, it is not actually true. Catching a trout so quickly is usually an indicator that they are feeding so the fishing is likely to be good.
There is also a variation of this curse, that if your fly accidentally gets caught in a tree on the first cast, it means good luck for the rest of the day.
Bananas mean bad fishing
This has to be the most well known fishing superstition. It goes that having bananas on the boat or in the pack means the fishing is going to be bad. If the fishing is bad, and someone has bananas they are going to take the blame.
This superstition is so out of control that despite have ridiculous it is some charter boat captains and guides refuse to take clients if they have bananas with them. I even heard of Banana themed merchandise and products also taking the blame.
This one is completely fake and there is no truth to the superstition. I have even see videos of fish being caught on Banana peel. Maybe I should try and catch a trout by trolling some banana skin.
While there is no truth behind this fishing myth. Many people still believe in it, so to avoid unnecessary drama probably best not to bring bananas on a boat.
Keeping the first fish of the day is bad luck
Basically goes, you should release the first catch of the day, by keeping it you risk bad luck for the rest of the trip. I am too lazy to check, but I believe this superstition has its origin in some indigenous populations, and their is some truth that by releasing at least one fish a trip will always mean at least one fish remains in the water.
Kinda the origins of catch and release fishing.
This superstition does have some sense behind it. If you keep the first fish, you are going to have to carry and take care of it for the rest of the day. If you are wading this can be a hassle and distraction.
If I do decide to keep a fish, I personally prefer to keep one towards the end of the day because unless I am in a boat with an ice box it is hard to keep them fresh. Fish keep fresh best in the river.
Murphy’s law and fishing
Murphy’s law is an adage that basically goes “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”, and it often seems to apply to fishing.
A few examples of Murphy’s law in fishing
The one time you do not bring a camera. You will catch that fish of a lifetime
If you leave your spare rod at home, you are going to break your main one.
Maybe my favorite example to do with Murphy’s Law has to do with objects that floating and sinking fly boxes. You are almost guaranteed to drop a floating flybox into a fast moving rapid and watching it drift away downstream. So you purchased a sinking fly box instead, problem solved. Umm, no Murphy’s law will mean that you will drop it into the deepest hole on the river.
If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
Trout will wait until your lunchtime to start feeding
This one mostly seems to apply to bait fishing, but the moment you stop fishing and start concentrating on eating lunch or preparing a drink the action will begin. Fish will grab baits, or a massive hatch will begin, or even trout will start cruising past every few moments.
It seems like the trout will wait until we are taking a break before they want to feed.
Is it true, will I personally think there might be some truth to it. When the water is less disturbed, the trout might be a bit more confident. Also just by sitting there eating lunch, we get to concentrate on a wider area of water, so are more likely to see fish.
So yeah, taking a break from casting might actually improve fishing. At the worst, eating lunch can certainly recharge our energy levels for more fishing.
The fishing is bad after an Earthquake
I believe this one has its origins in marine fishing, but I have also heard freshwater fishermen speak of it. That the fishing is bad a couple of days after an earthquake.
There is probably some truth to this one, at least with regards to marine fish.
With regards to trout, Well I experienced a 7.8 (Mw) earthquake. That is a big one and it did a serious amount of damage to roads, landscapes and other infrastructure. The seafloor actually lifted up quite significantly and lots of roads were closed.
While I did not go fishing directly after the main earthquake, there was several months of aftershocks and I did manage to catch trout despite the quite frequent trembles. So I do believe, trout at least start to ignore earthquakes after a while.
Well here were 13 fishing superstitions, and whether I actually believe in them or not. Did I miss any? If so feel free to mention them in the comments below.