Skip to Content>>



5 Fishy Fishing Superstitions

From forbidding certain fruit, to banning people with red hair, anglers can be a superstitious bunch!

While superstitions are, by nature, fishy, we decided to examine a few of the more popular ones to determine if you need to exercise more caution while planning your next fishing trip.

Never Bring Bananas

From disappearing ships to deadly insects to poisonous gas, bananas on boats supposedly cause bad juju, but is there any truth to this?

Apparently, it’s possible to asphyxiate from high concentrations of methane. However, bananas only produce approximately 0.2 to 0.3 nanograms of methane gas per gram of banana weight, which translates to about .0002 parts per million in the air. To be deadly to humans, methane concentrations in the air must reach 500,000 parts per million. So, to bring harm to a ship full of sailors, you’d need much, much more than a few bunches.

Bananas can harbor insects, so the idea that some kind of poisonous pest could be a stowaway on your boat isn’t totally far-fetched. As for disappearing boats, it could be that boats carrying bananas from the Caribbean could have passed through the infamous Bermuda Triangle en route to market, but that opens another can of superstitious worms, so we’ll leave it at that.

Some take this banana superstition really seriously, going as far as to shun Banana Boat sunscreen and even things that hint at bananas, like Fruit of the Loom underwear. It’s amusing, but there’s no proof that bananas are going to ruin your fishing experience.

Never fish in sunny weather

Why do fishermen give such credence to this superstition?

This superstition isn’t so fishy after all. When it’s cloudy or the sun is lower in the sky, fisherman can get a leg up. Fish aren’t able to see you as easily in overcast conditions or indirect sunlight. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. It is possible to catch fish at any time, but this is more a case of finding the optimum time to put your hook in the water.

Stop that whistling

We’ve heard that whistling and singing can call in a storm like nobody’s business, but what’s at the bottom of this racket?

Most anglers will tell you that whistling is the kiss of death on fishing trips. While there may not be much truth to the idea that whistling itself can call up a squall, it is true that making a bunch of racket can scare off the fish. So, cut it out, be still, and wait for a bite. You can whistle the theme to The Andy Griffith Show on your way home.

Always wear your lucky fishing hat

The lucky fishing hat is a true legend, but does this tradition have roots in reality?

A hat is always a good idea when you’re going fishing. Hats keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your head from harmful UV rays. But what about grandpa’s stinky, dirty fishing hat that he swears by? If it helps you concentrate on fishing, keeps the sun out of your face and makes you feel good, wear it. If you’re overthinking your hat situation, you’re probably overthinking a lot more than ball caps and, chances are, you won’t catch much.

Don’t go fishing without Carhartt

We’ve been hearing men say they won’t fish without wearing their Carhartts ever since 1889, but where’s the proof?

One fellow in Maine said he went fishing without his Carhartts once and his boat sprang a leak. He tried to turn back and the motor went out. He had to scoop the water out with a cup and use a little trolling motor to get all the way back to the boat ramp. He was embarrassed, and he didn’t even catch anything. Would it have gone differently if he’d made one simple choice?

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but if all that stands between you and a prize-winning largemouth bass is a ball cap or a pair of jeans, there’s no reason not to go with the best. So, before you grab a sack of bananas and head out on a sunny day whistlin’ a tune, be sure to stock up on all the fishing gear you need so you can outfish them all!

Chat with an Expert