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Real Pro Superstitions

Real Pro Superstitions
Darrell Davis

(The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)


Superstition: a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.

What does the word superstition have to do with bass fishing? You might be amazed to find out that the two actually have a connection. Many tournament anglers, even on the Walmart FLW Tour, take it very seriously.

I recently took some time to interview a few anglers on the topic of superstitions and was surprised to find out how serious each angler is about his own superstition.

Clothing came up several times. For instance, Charlie Weyer says he has to wear his tournament jersey when he is fishing. He considers it good luck while on the water, and if he doesn’t have it, his entire day is thrown off. Casey Carpenter from Power-Pole says he has to wear the same pants and shoes. My buddy, Gene, a longtime Wheeler Lake resident, has to wear a certain watch. If he forgets it he will turn back around and go get it, though he’s gotten smart and keeps it in the truck now. I have a green shirt superstition. If I am not wearing a green shirt during practice or a tournament I’m not going to catch any big ones.

There are some interesting stigmas regarding a day’s first cast – mostly the belief that catching a bass on the first cast is bad luck. Something to do with “first casts” was mentioned by about 90 percent of anglers I talked to. Peter T’s first cast is never in the direction that he wants to actually try to catch fish. If he does so, he says his day is ruined, and it will never feel right. David Dudley has a similar belief but about bait changes. “If you make any kind of bait change and catch one on the first cast you have to cut it off,” he says. “Otherwise you might as well just take the boat in and dock it.”

Jeff Sprague had a really great season on the FLW Tour in 2016, so some might say that if he doesn’t keep his entrance song, “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips, he is corrupting his chances going forward. However, Sprague’s superstitions are all in the boat. For starters, don’t touch his dip net. It is one of his biggest superstitions, and we don’t want to know what happens if you do. He also follows suit with not catching a fish on the first cast, and never leave the ruler on the floor (I subscribe to that one too).

Some superstitious beliefs have been passed from generation to generation. Dion Hibdon has several that he and his children, father and grandfather share, but one that stood out to me is about hats. Dion says it is bad luck to put your hat on the bed. If a hat has touched the bed and he thinks he might accidentally wear it, he will cut the brim so he can’t.

Occasionally anglers will find something in the water – a unique rock, duck decoy, etc. If the place where they found an unusual item becomes a good spot they end up taking that item and keeping it in the boat. Yes, there are a lot of odd things being toted around for good luck. College angler Andrew Tate says he has been part of the duck decoy hooey. It feels weird being in the boat fishing if he doesn’t have it.

For some anglers, superstitions dictate their routine. Clayton Batts says that during a tournament, if he catches them really good, he repeats everything he did that day the next day. He will wear the same shirt, eat at the same place, park the same way and even fish the same way. Kind of like Groundhog Day!

Bill McDonald goes for beauty when it comes to his superstitions. He cleans up his fingernails and toenails before he leaves for a tournament and never touches them until he returns home. “It’s bad juju to cut your nails during a tournament,” he says.

We can sit here and talk about old “wives’ tales,” but make no mistake that to a bass angler they are real. Each individual may or may not have his own set of unfounded beliefs, so when you get in one’s boat remember that, unjustified or not, the consequences are real. If you choose a banana for a snack it could be gone.

Tags: darrell-davis  blog 

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