Fishing Myth Busters

By Todd Reed

No matter how often you fish, or don’t fish there are many people that have certain beliefs about fishing.  What makes fishing better…what you can’t do when you fish.  There are many myths about fishing that the common public say and truly believe in.  Perhaps Grandpa said these things about fishing, or the guide you hired in Minnesota mentioned it one time.  While there are many different reasons and circumstances that seem to make some days much better than others for fishing, the following “old sayings” or myths about fishing are simply not true.

MYTH #1- If I have heard this once, I have heard it over a hundred times.  “Fish bite better when it is raining” Typically people don’t make it a point to go fishing in the rain, however many people say this myth and have belief in the statement.  I have fished tournaments for over 20 years, so I have been forced to fish in the rain, some days all day long.  First, it isn’t very fun, and NO, the fish don’t always bite better just because it is raining.  There is some scientific proof that rain storms will increase fish activity, especially before the rainstorm begins.  I have seen this many times on the water.  When the wind starts to get a little cooler, and the wind picks up, so does the fishing.  The atmospheric pressure changes when a storm moves through and this drop in pressure will often cause fish to feed quickly before the storm.  So, if it has already began to rain, you might as well stay home and stay dry, trust me the fish don’t bite better when it is raining, that small window of high fish activity has already passed.

MYTH #2- “Be QUIET!”  This is probably the most believed and talked about fishing myth.  In all my days of fishing I have heard it countless times, “Be quiet or you won’t catch any fish.”  Almost every time this is referring to a person’s voice, which makes this myth absolutely untrue.  A simple scientific fact debunks this myth.  The surface tension of water deflects up to 99% of all above water noise.  Think of going underwater in a pool, you don’t hear anything, same for the fish.  This myth was no doubt created many years ago by a mother or father with a child who loved to talk or ask questions.  Note: fish can feel vibrations, so if you are in a boat, especially aluminum, banging around in the boat will send out vibrations into the water and possibly spook the fish.

MYTH #3- “Big baits catch BIG fish” There is some truth to this fishing myth, but not enough to etch it in stone.  Sure if you throw a large crankbait or swimbait or only use 10-inch chubs for bait it will attract larger fish, however a small worm has caught its fair share of huge fish also.  This myth is often overlooked because when anglers do choose large baits to throw, many of the smaller sized fish will simply not consider it a meal, so they won’t bother to chase it down or try to eat something that large.  Albeit larger baits do typically catch larger fish, but only because of the size of bait selected.   Location and presentation ultimately reflect on your fish catches.

MYTH #4- “Bananas”  If you don’t follow professional fishing then you may not have ever heard of this one.  However, there are professional anglers and guides that have made millions of dollars fishing that will not allow bananas on or near their boat.  In the fishing world bananas are known to have bad luck.  If you fish for a living you certainly do not want any bad luck following you around.  Perhaps it is a figure of their imagination, or a flashback to childhood when cartoon characters would always slide on bananas and result in falling into a trash can.  Who knows where exactly this myth came from, but a lot of people believe in it…I am just going to leave it at that, not sure how science can prove or disprove this one.  I enjoy bananas and often have them in the boat for a snack, and believe it or not I have had excellent days of fishing doing this, and come to think of it some bad days too…perhaps there is something to the banana myth???

MYTH #5- “Fish bite best when the wind is from the west.”  This is another very popular saying which has some truth to it.  When the wind is blowing from the west it typically means the weather system is stable.  A stable weather system means that the atmospheric pressure is stable and would allow for fish to be more predictable.  Opposite this saying is “Fish bite least when the wind is from the east” which in terms of weather typically means a rise in atmospheric pressure and fish do not react well to this.  Does this myth suggest that anytime the wind is out of the west you will have a banner day on the water, we all know that is not true.  So saying a wind direction makes the “best” conditions for catching fish a little farfetched.  Again, location, bait selection and presentation will allow you to have good fishing days more often than the direction of the wind.
No matter what species of fish you enjoy catching, how old you may be, you have probably heard of several of these myths.  When it comes to fishing, there are so many other variables that fall into play whether you catch fish or not, I don’t lose any sleep over these 5 fishing myths…