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Fishing Superstition

Anglers all around the world have superstitions that they follow to bring them good luck while fishing, or in most cases something to blame when they go a day without many fish. These range from lucky hats to bringing a pineapple on board while leaving the bananas on shore.

Suspicious Anglers

Anglers by trade are a suspicious bunch. This can be seen in some of the fisherman's myths of the old days. Things that started out to calm nerves in the open ocean, or to appease angry water spirits to grant safe passage and a bountiful trip have trickled down into the minds of anglers today taking shape in wearing your lucky hat, using your lucky lure or kissing the fish before you let it go.


Some superstitions are passed down from family members, some are acquired through fishing buddies and others are regional. In my family everyone seems to have a lucky hat. Mine pictured above was passed down (I really just borrowed it) from my dad after he deemed it his unlucky hat. Even though it would be risky to take someone else's unlucky hat, the hat has proven lucky for me. I was wearing it when I caught all of the 36 inch northern pike I have caught, I had it on when I caught my first steelhead as well as my first salmon.

Not Paying Attention Paying Off?

One belief that is more specific to my family is, you catch more fish if you are not paying attention to your lure. Or in the case of my dad and brother, if you are not catching fish take a nap and you'll get a strike.

I think this one really has some truth behind it. I have been in the boat multiple times with them on days where none of us are getting fish, and the moment dad has to deal with the motor or my brother lays back their fishing poles bend over and there's a flurry of excitement in the boat. I have even experienced it first hand. There will be times where I have been fishing and working an area with different techniques and lures and will throw everything at it. Then when I am casting and not really focused on the retrieve or am looking away from the rod that is when there will be a hit.

Thank that Fish

This one is one I picked up from my uncle. And I do this with every fish, and if I forget to, I end up with a bad rest of the day. When I was younger my uncle I would hear my uncle say thank you as he released the fish back into the water. I like this, thanking the fish and the universe for taking the lure and putting up a fight. Showing the water/universe/fish gratitude for the catch pays off. On those rare occasions I do not say thanks to the fish I can kiss my chances of catching anymore that day goodbye, disrespecting the water/universe/fish by not showing gratitude can throw off the balance of the trip. Just as you would with somebody that does something nice for you, thank the fish you catch and send out good vibes.

Lucky Lures

Lucky lures may not be a superstition but plenty of people have their favorite lucky lure. It may be a lure that you always catch fish on no matter the day/weather/season it always seems to catch fish. Always try that lucky lure first, if you don't catch anything go to your other lucky lure or try something completely different. I am not super sold on the lucky lure one but I know that some people will tell me I am crazy for not throwing out my lucky lure and will tell me that's why I did not catch anything.

Other Angling Superstitions

There are lots of superstitions out there about whether the fish will be biting and you're going to have a stellar day on the water and no bites and it will be a tough day on the water. After thinking about some of the superstitions I am familiar with I decided to look up some other angling superstitions and I found some pretty interesting ones.

Good Luck

  • Pineapples are good luck

  • Throwing back the first fish of the day

  • Saying Tight lines

  • Having a good attitude

Bananas are Bad Luck

Bananas are said to be bad luck if they are brought on a fishing boat or on a fishing trip. This comes from sailors and fishermen on sailing boats. This comes from banana's ripening faster than other fruits, making the ships carrying them needing to sail faster making it hard to catch fish while the boat moves. Many ships carrying banana's fell victim to storms at sea and sank. Even today today anglers swear against bringing bananas on board as a snack. Some go as far as not even using Banana Boat sunscreen.

Other signs of bad Luck

  • Someone saying Good luck

  • Bringing the fishing pole into the house before leaving

  • A rabbit crossing your path

  • The cows aren't eating

  • If a dragonfly lands on the rod

  • Redheads with you

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