Kayak Fishing Superstitions

Kayak Fishing Superstitions | Do They Float Your Boat?

I was sitting in Kentucky Lake’s Ginger Bay eating a banana when I learned I was not supposed to eat a banana in a boat. 

I was also catching bass on topwater during a snowstorm on the same trip… so I’m not sure I really believe in that superstition, or any for that matter.  

Since that trip, I’ve learned that there are many superstitions surrounding boats. Before my research, I had no idea that telling someone good luck was bad luck. Try telling Kristine Fisher it is bad luck to have a woman onboard the next time she is beating everyone else. 

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Jean Wilson even has a custom banana mount for her ride!

And how do you explain to every red-haired person that they are doomed before they launch? Anyone whistling on board is extremely annoying and distracting, but bad luck? Dolphins good, sharks bad — well, that that seems like more of a statement on the reality of the food chain. And I love a red sky in the morning or at night – it is just kind of cool.

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: My ‘Behaviors’

I like to call them my behaviors. There are a couple that I follow for each tournament. 

Having my duck on the boat – it was given to me by my wife, so it is a part of her with me always. 

Before each launch, I say “here we go” out loud as I push off from the ramp.  

It was the way I set up my gear that allows me to follow steps while launching: step in the boat with your right foot. It just naturally forces it, so I got lucky. (Oh wait, can I say lucky without being unlucky … maybe if I am on the couch and not the kayak?)  

I named my boat for fun, so I am not “tempting the seas” in an unnamed vessel. And, as much as I love what I named my first Hobie (BoHobien Rhapsody), I have refused to rename it. (Or use that name again … so maybe I am superstitious?) But the reason I don’t launch on Fridays has nothing to do with it being a bad idea… it has to do with bad career choices that have left me working much later in life than I meant — and I can’t always get off on Friday.  

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: My ‘Wasted Cast’

I was a bit surprised to find out how many of you make a “wasted” cast away from your intended target before you officially consider yourself fishing the event. It seems that this is a highly copied behavior along the kayak trails. Not sure if there is a superstition involved, but there seems to be a very strong tradition among many anglers.

Marlin Cassady explained this a bit.  

“I always do a short cast for my first cast. Seems like every time I catch a fish on the first cast, the rest of the day is slow. So, I short-cast and reel it in fast.”

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: The ‘Ignored Leaderboard’

I never look at the leaderboard during the day. Not sure of everyone else’s reasoning, but for me it was the added pressure of knowing.  

Brian Aliff agreed.  

“I never look at the leader board or check my placement. Not sure it’s a superstition but I don’t want to know, it adds an element of pressure, and the stress makes me make mistakes I could otherwise avoid. I can deal with bananas if they’re in chip form.”

Not looking at the leaderboard can be hard with so much social media and texts. All of your friends want to encourage you, but some of us don’t want to hear it! I had to tell my wife not to even call, because I can hear how I am doing in her voice.

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: Some Other Superstitions

Matt Spencer

“I pour a little of my coffee onto the floor of my kayak and let it drain out so the fish can wake up and have a nice trail of coffee scent.”

Chris Condor

“Don’t have my first ‘on-the-water dip’ until after the first fish. Or whenever I start fiending with withdrawals, whichever comes first.”

George Nemeth

I have a dedicated spot for one particular rod that never changes. Where the rest go don’t really matter and they’re roughly in the same areas day after day but the finesse jig rod is in the same place every time.

My main superstition is I always pay the ramp launch fee and have a current fishing license. It seems not everyone is as superstitious as I am on that subject but that’s my biggest one. Karmically speaking, I can’t afford any bad juju and not paying my couple bucks seems like a great excuse for the universe to spit the hook on me. (NOTE:  This is actually on the top ten list if you google “superstitions”… pay your debts!)

Nathan Hartley

Sometimes I will go out on an empty stomach as if I’m trying to live off the land or something. Funny enough though I’m strictly catch and release. So it’s just psychological I guess.

Then there is Ryan Marshall who has to kiss every fish. Having met him, not sure that is so lucky for the fish.

And Ron Himmelhaver has a fish dance.

“Super secret, mystical dance that was passed down to me by my father.”

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: As For Mine

I’m not superstitious. I don’t walk under ladders because stuff may fall. I don’t break mirrors because I am fairly certain it increases your chances of being cut. 

And spilt salt should be cleaned up. But if you throw it over your shoulder, couldn’t that just increase the chances of folks walking behind you slipping on it?  

But … is there something to all of this?  

I don’t know. I did learn that looking like a pirate is a good thing, so maybe that night in my late teens when I got drunk and pierced my earlobe with a corsage pin was good. My parents definitely did not share the belief that I had done a good thing – but then they were not seafaring (ok, kayak bassin’) folks. 

And I did catch myself looking for a cat to sit beside my duck on Amazon for the next season after reading all of this.

Just like the fact that I shouldn’t have been throwing a Rapala Skitterpop in a snowstorm (but I was catching fish), I cannot un-know anything I learned!  

So, this is the outfit I am considering for 2020.

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What are your kayak fishing superstitions?


This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Mike Cheatham

ABOUT Mike

May 2016, sat in my first kayak. October 2016, skunked in my first tournament. Spring of 2017, placed 11th in the KBF Open and have chased the addiction since. Fishing is the one place my mind gets quiet, the place I have always found peace. To do it competitively with a great bunch of folks is just a bonus. To have an opportunity to combine my love for fishing with writing...I feel like I have finally found a place in this world! I do have the support of a wonderful woman who understands my need to be on the water; she supports my dreams fully....life is truly good.

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