I’ll never forget it. As a kid, I was heading out for a day of bluegill fishing with my grandpa when we stopped at the store to stock up on drinks and snacks for the day. As we approached the truck, still sitting at the gas pump, I haphazardly stepped over the trailer hitch to make my way back to the passenger side. At that moment, I caught the glaze of my grandfather’s eyes, not realizing what I had done. The day was presumably ruined. As it turns out, stepping over the trailer hitch once the boat is already hooked up is bad mojo! Nevertheless, we still had a great day on the water, but that was my introduction to the superstitions that surround the world of fishing. And, from that day forward, I am still hesitant to step over the tongue of the trailer before I hit the water!
We’ve all been there and I’m sure that we all have our own superstitions. From bananas in the boat to special, tournament day underwear. And BY ALL MEANS, do not catch a fish on your first cast! We all know these little nuggets of lore are more than likely nonsense, but who are we to take that risk, right?! Fishing is tough as it is, so why make it even harder on ourselves?
This was also the case later in life with my lucky hat. I had bought it new at, none other than, Sportsman’s Outfitters when I had just begun really getting into bass fishing. That first year or two I had some incredible days on the water! My first bass on a “real” lake, numerous 4-5 pounders, and even a 10 pounder that is still my personal best to date. As I looked over the photo proof of those memories, I noticed that the common thread in all of them was that special hat. From thence forth, that hat was with me on every trip. It has been chewed up by dogs, hooked with crankbaits, lost in the boat, and has even seen the bottom of Lake Eufaula only to be fished out and worn again. Even further, when that hat had seen its last day and was no longer functional nor sanitary, I had it replaced with one that was identical. The replacement wasn’t the same, so I haven’t worn it since. Did the hat really make the difference? Probably not, but I sure wasn’t going to test it and see!
So, true or not, fishing superstitions are often more than made up folklore tales that we pass around as fact. They have served as confidence boosters for many. They have undergirded stories that are passed down to friends and family. And, to me, they’ve played a part in the many memories I have made throughout my years of chasing these little creatures that we love so much.