Fishing Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Fishing, and boating in general, is a lifestyle  governed by a wide assortment of rules, myths and old wives’ tales. When is a good day to sail? What bait will work best? What to NEVER bring onto a boat? Each any every one of these questions are answered by some old story handed down from mate to greenhorn for generations. But which are true, which are fantasy and which are fiction built upon some bit of reality?

  1. Women are bad luck- wonder how many times a man had to leave port on an extended trip before this rule was made? Just kidding! But this rule does have a bit of truth to it. No, bring a woman onboard you boat will not automatically cause bad luck, but bringing a woman onboard a boat full of otherwise lonely and secluded sailors does have a tendency to cause some discord. This one is TRUE.
  2. Always throw your first fish back- the theory is throwing your first fish back will cause good luck, keeping it will mean you not catch any more fish that day. Obviously, this is built on an ancient attempt to please the Gods, not actually numbers of fish caught. Thus, I have to call this one FALSE.
  3. Big bait equals big fish – the theory is that only big fish will take big bait, so the bigger the bait the better your catch. Sound theory, not quite there in practice. Yes, big fish tend to prefer big bait – more food found verse the energy to do so. However, I have seen some might big fish take tiny baits while at the same time seen little minnows take a bait as big as they were. As a general rules big bait will usually catch big fish, but not always. Best bet is to match your bait to whatever the fish are feeding on locally. I’ll compromise and call this TRUTH, but reserve the right to remind you “not always”.
  4. No whistling – whistling is thought to be a sure means of stirring up doom onboard any boat. Some say it calls the wind, or angers the see gods – truth is it sounds too much like the whistles used by the boatswain’s mate to send instructions to the crew. If these message, which did everything from call the crew to dinner to warn of approaching danger, were misheard or not heard at all dangerous things truly could happen. But the act of whistling was not bad luck, just bad form. Therefore, this is FICTION, based on REALITY.
  5. Redheads are bad luck – redheads get all the blame. First they are ill tempered not they are bad luck. No one seems to know where this rule originated but I would bet it had something to do with a foe of the Irish. Truth be told there is absolutely not rational exploration for this bias except to say early sailors probably did not see too many redheads to know the difference.

Good Luck – if you can find any! Good Fishing!

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