Just like the rest of the population, anglers have their own rules and superstitions to follow. These superstitions have been passed down from one generation to another. Ancient anglers used to tell people stories of their adventures after being away for so long at sea. Some stories are told because of the usual habits while others are misfortune met at sea.
Even in the modern world, some of these superstitions persist. From the ordinary to the unexplainable superstitions. Here are some of them:
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1. The Trusted Fishing Hat
This one isn’t that superstitious at all. You see, hats are a very good companion in fishing. Hats protect you from the harmful rays of the sun and shield your eyes from the sun’s intense glare. More importantly, it saves your face from painful sunburn. Here another twist, anglers more seldom than not wash their caps, so don’t get surprised if you see stinky, yellow-stained, and sea logged caps. And anglers loved their caps; they have a long and tested experience out in the sea. Some even believe it brings them good luck.
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2. Redheads bring bad luck onboard the ship
Superstitions have it that redheads bring bad luck on a boating trip. This superstition can be traced back to the time when Vikings ruled the seas. We all know that Vikings are mostly redheads, and known as vicious enemies. The only way to avoid bad luck is to talk to redheads before they speak to you. Maybe, to let them know you are friendly?
Another factor adding to this superstition is the success of the TV series “Gilligan’s Island”. Most people believed that the crew’s misfortunate they met at sea was because a redhead flirted with the captain. Believe or not, they still blame Ginger for what happened.
3. The no sailing days
Up to this day, most anglers still refuse to sail out in the water on these days:
• Every first Monday of April – biblically speaking, it was the day Cain slew Abel
• Every second Monday of August – the day when the land of Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped out.
• Thursday - because it is considered as the “Day of Thor”, the God of Thunder and storms.
• Fridays – remembered as the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, thus another bad luck day.
4. Women are bad luck
Ok, anglers may have a point here. WOMEN distract men. Most vessels will sail on the open seas full of crews of men and sail for several months even years. They find women as a distraction on their daily chores on board the ship. They say the sailors’ behavior would anger the sea causing perilous sea conditions as revenge.
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5. Renaming the boat
Naming your boat is a very serious business, it like naming your kid. So why change it? Renaming it may bring bad luck to the vessel and its passengers. If that happens, you must have a de-naming ceremony and christen it again. So before you wrote it down, think about it very carefully as the procedure is considered a waste of time and not just superstitious.
6. Whistling while fishing
As the saying goes, this would “whistle up a storm”, so whistling while onboard the ship is forbidden. Anglers believed that whistling can distract fish, so if you want a catch your “big one”, try not to.
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Ever wonder why all sailors have tattoos? Well, it is not just superstitions but can use to identify a sailor. Tattoos have a long history of seafaring, and Captain James Cook crew’s believed to start the trend when they landed in the Pacific. The most common tattoos are a pig and rooster, which often tattooed onto sailor’s feet. If faced with misfortune, sailors believed that these animals would prevent them from drowning and show them the way home.
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A caul is a membrane that covers the newborn baby is rare to find. No one really knows how this superstition started and for what reason. But, sailors often purchased caul and put them onboard the ship to prevent anyone from drowning.
9. No Goodbyes
Contradictory to what we often see at movies, most anglers do not want to hear goodbyes once they step onto their boats. Some believed that it’s a bad omen to do so, as the sailors may not return home safely and saying your ‘goodbyes’ for good.
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10. Do not bring a banana on the boat
Last on the list, but the ever popular superstition, do not bring a banana on the boat. And, it’s for a good reason, bananas can attract insects and other crawlies you do not want onboard the board. Another explanation lies on the ship destination. Most vessels back in the days used to deliver bananas en route to the famous Bermuda Triangle and some of them got lost in the sea, thus creating a basis for these superstitions.
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