Fishing on Friday the 13th?
There are a lot of superstitions that involve fishing success. Some fishermen only wear a certain shirt or shorts. Others swear by a particular lure or bait or location or time of day or tide. There are almanacs and solunar tables that others swear by. Some anglers insist on certain foods to avoid or keep handy as a way of tilting the odds in their favor. Most of these beliefs probably have some basis in experience if only on a single occasion. Here are a few we encounter frequently.
Bananas: A lot of guides and boating anglers regard a banana as bad luck and don’t want one anywhere near their boat. A client that brings a banana aboard will soon see his snack disappear in the wake, if the captain finds one is aboard. I know of only one guide in the Keys that has a contrary view and welcomes bananas on his boat. Forty five years ago, in our early morning haste to grab a lunch and get to the boat, we made the mistake of buying plantains not bananas. We both think they must have some banana DNA because we trolled out of Marathon all day and only boated two little tunny. We should have just bought Dramamine for the day as the
5-7 foot seas ensured no one had an appetite.
Whistling: We have no idea where this started but in several articles we have read there is a prohibition on whistling. It may have started with sailing ships where commands were issued with a boson’s whistle and a musical whistle might have been misunderstood. Between sundried lips and dehydration, whistling is often a challenge on the water for us. Singing was OK.
Favorite Lures: If you wait long enough, the old lures in the back of your tackle box with the rusted hooks will be reinvented and offered for sale as the newest, best lure in the store. We think the lure that worked well last year will still work 5 years down the road. Folks have been designing and redesigning lures for centuries. A little tweak here and a different material may make it prettier but in terms of fish catching action, it may be challenged to equal the results of the older lure. The most important factor in choosing a lure beyond the “match the hatch” basics is your belief in the lure you are using. Success is probably due to the amount of time you spend with that favorite lure in the water.
Catch and Release: A lot of fishermen believe that if you release your first fish, the “big kahuna” will look favorably upon you and reward you with more fish. If you decide to keep your first fish of the day, make it a good one as it might be the only one you catch. This belief may have some logic to it since if you do release your first catch, it causes you to slow down and reflect on the reason you are out on the water anyway. If all you want is dinner, it is cheaper, faster and easier to buy a fish at the store. Catch and release emphasizes the recreational aspect of fishing over the collection of protein. Our friend and guide extraordinaire, Rick Grassett, always reminds folks to “limit your kill, don’t kill your limit.”
So, what about Friday 13th fishing? As far as we know, fish can’t read a calendar. Other factors are more important than the date and day. If you work with the tides and find moving water it helps. If a front is coming through and the barometer is dropping, that may be good also. If you “match the hatch” and use a lure that mimics the size and shape of the natural bait available, that is just good sense. If you fish early or late where the light is diminished, that might help also. The real trick is to be out there with a lure in the water on any day. You can’t get lucky if you don’t go fishing.
As for us, Friday, April 13th 2018 was a very lucky day. Our newest grandson arrived healthy and kicking in Carbondale, Colorado. We were thrilled. The next day, Saturday, we launched at Oyster Creek and fished the oyster flats north of the creek. The wind was daunting, and the waves were all over the kayaks, but Kim managed a 27½ inch redfish on a paddle tail jig in a foot of water. So now we are sure Saturday the 14th is also our lucky day.
Every day is a lucky day to be fishing in southwest Florida.