Lake Ontario boat captain superstitions run deep – identical to downriggers do. On this case, profitable depths should point out a repeating digit, or the cautious fish definitely will not chew.

The probabilities you may be bit by the extremely venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider whereas fishing for smallmouth bass aboard Capt. Matt Heath’s boat within the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence River are just about one in a trillion gazillion. Perhaps better.

Heath (and for the report, us too) are supremely assured you may escape the fangs of one of many world’s deadliest spiders whereas on his 27-foot Sport-Craft. However Heath does tempt destiny along with his routine of casually bringing a banana on his boat and all.

Bananas, you see, have been seen as a totem of unhealthy luck for boat captains for a whole bunch of years. The superstition seemingly harkens to a long-ago period when cargo ships sailed from South America with bananas as freight and the occasional lethal Brazilian Wandering Spider as a stowaway. Whatever the truth these spiders have reportedly killed a grand whole of 15 folks worldwide since 1903, the idea that bananas on boats are harbingers of unhealthy luck stays.

“The banana superstition might be probably the most well-known,” Heath stated, “however I am not a believer in that in any respect. I’ve a banana for breakfast on my boat each morning.”

That, nevertheless, doesn’t suggest Heath will not be superstitious. He and his son—who mates for him through the summer season—each imagine if they do not have their fishing pliers correctly secured to their belts earlier than a constitution begins, a foul day of fishing is bound to comply with.

“There will probably be days when he leans over and whispers to me ‘Dad! Get your pliers on!” he stated. “With out them, it at all times appears sluggish.”

Different Lake Ontario constitution captains imagine firmly within the banana lore. Some even forbid them on their boats. “Why push your luck?” asks Capt. Jeff Draper.

As a complete, the constitution captains fishing the large lake and its surrounding rivers and streams are a reasonably superstitious group of anglers who usually take nice lengths to curry favor with Girl Luck. This is a have a look at a number of the relatively unconventional approaches constitution captains take to make a day on the water a convincing success.


Captain Rob Westcott of Legacy Sportfishing goes to nice lengths to ensure all of his tools is in good working order aboard his Penn Yan 295 Prowler. Spoons are organized meticulously. Rods are secured and aligned in rod holders. Reside bait rigs are wrapped fastidiously and stowed in drawers. Every thing has its place.

Apart from the quantity zero.

It is a non-starter for Westcott, who won’t enable any of his line counter reels or downrigger settings to finish within the quantity zero. Heck, if he sees a depth studying ending in zero on his fishfinder, he’ll direct the boat to deeper or shallower water.

“We at all times use some oddball numbers,” stated Westcott. “Someday, it is likely to be 133 or 155 or 66 or 88 or 77.”

line counter no zero superstition
Capt. Rob Westcott, of Legacy Sportfishing, has a rule in his boat about line counter reels and down riggers not being set to any quantity ending in zero. Different numbers are advantageous, even repetitive sequences. “We by no means play with zeroes,” he stated.

Repetitive numbers are advantageous. Simply not the dreaded goose egg. The presets on one in all Westcott’s Cannon downriggers replicate that. The 4 depth settings are 66, 77, 88, and 99 toes. He would not recall the genesis of his anti-zero marketing campaign however sees nothing unsuitable along with his dedication to the system he is devised.

“I do not declare to be superstitious, however it’s what I do,” he stated. “I have been doing it ever because it began working. We by no means play with zeroes.”

On the off probability {that a} downrigger will get set at 60 toes down, as an example, relaxation assured it was a mistake and Westcott will probably be fast to rectify it.

“It undoubtedly will get modified instantly,” he stated. “I am going to go over and alter it to 59 or 66.”

Westcott says it is one of many first guidelines he explains to whomever his first mate is on any given day.

“We simply do not use these numbers,” he stated.


Fishing on the western fringe of Lake Ontario and within the decrease Niagara River, Capt. Jeff Draper loves to speak about absolutely anything whereas on the water. However there are a few subjects which are at all times off-limits.

“Folks will ask me how the boat is operating and I by no means, ever need to speak about how the boat is operating,” Draper stated, citing a time way back when a consumer requested what appears to be an innocuous query and shortly after his motor conked out.

In the identical vein, he stays steadfastly cagey with purchasers when offering particulars concerning the fishing.

“It’s normal, just about anticipated, that you’ll be requested how the fishing is,” he stated, “and I at all times attempt to discover a technique to probably not reply it. When you inform them how nice it’s, you then’re sure to not have an excellent day. I by no means say ‘Oh, we’re catching them nice,’ as a result of each time you try this, it units you up for failure.”


Combining Draper’s “Off-Matter” coverage with Westcott’s numerical aversions is Capt. Brian Garrett who operates Tall Tails Sportfishing out of Oswego Harbor.

“We fish for trout and salmon, and these are fish that individuals often need to take house,” Garrett stated, that means that one of many frequent objectives for his journeys is placing fish within the livewell. Whereas anglers are sometimes targeted on catching their restrict, Garrett refuses to allow them to know the way shut they’re to filling it.

“Clearly, the mates and I understand how many fish are within the field, however we by no means give the full out loud. We by no means need to get hung up on a quantity. We do not ever say we’d like another fish or two extra fish to get to the restrict, that is unhealthy juju.”


Apparently, Heath and Garrett share the idea that catching a fish early portends a slower day forward.

“I do not actually prefer it after we’re establishing rods and we get the primary one down and immediately it goes off,” Garrett stated. “That may be unhealthy.”

downriggers at depths without zeros
In relation to superstitions on the water, some Lake Ontario Constitution Captains get fairly particular, like ensuring the water depth they’re focusing on would not finish with the quantity zero.

Heath fishes numerous drop pictures and he usually takes a couple of minutes early in a visit to show inexperienced anglers one of the best drop-shot approach. However that may be a recipe for catastrophe, he stated.

“I by no means need to be exhibiting any person the way to fish and catch a fish in entrance of them, proper off the bat,” he stated. “That is a foul omen.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *