According to fishermen all around the world, the answer is yes! Kissing a fish has traditionally been known within the angling community as a symbol of good luck. Very often, you’ll see fishermen landing a peck on their fishes before placing them into the bucket and continuing with the sport. Occasionally, they may even kiss the first catch of the day and release that very fish. But why would they kiss a fish and how did kissing a fish become a symbol of good luck?
What’s the history behind kissing a fish?
There is a superstition among avid fishermen that you should kiss a fish that you’ve caught for good luck while some assume it’s an act of respect for the animal. Nobody truly knows how this tradition had started, but many anglers worldwide quickly caught on to this tradition and began kissing their catches for a bit of fun and games during their fishing trips out. Word has it that the tradition started even before the 1980s and has continued to spread since then.
Why do people kiss a fish before putting it in the bucket?
So, if this were all just an old superstition, why would any fishermen still pucker up and stomach the tradition of kissing a fish? We’ve found 6 top reasons behind why anglers are still kissing the fishes they’re catching today.
- It’s for good luck: Of course, the age-old belief behind kissing a fish is still that it brings the angler luck – just like we would kiss our loved ones for good luck. While nobody truly knows how this tradition of kissing a fish began, it doesn’t seem to be a habit that will be stopped in the fishing community anytime soon.
- It’s a sign of respect to the fish: Beyond just good luck however, the act of kissing a fish is also considered as a mark of respect to the fish. As fishes don’t communicate the way humans do, fishermen believe that kissing the fish helps convey their message of thanks to the animal before placing them in the bucket. Occasionally, you may even catch an angler speaking to the fish after kissing it to further emphasize their respect to the animal.
- It’s to say sorry: While fishing is still an exciting sport for most anglers, some hobbyists may feel sorry for the fishes. Thus, these fishermen see kissing the fishes as a way to convey their apologies to the fishes for the pain they have caused. This makes the fishermen feel just a little better before they move on with their hobby.
- It’s to help the fish heal faster: Ever stopped to wonder if you’re injuring the fishes with the hook of your fishing rod? Well, some fishermen believe that when you kiss a fish, you’ll help speed up the healing process of the fish’s wound so it would feel better soon.
- It’s going to attract more fishes: This may sound odd but some anglers believe that if you kiss the first fish you catch the for the day and release it after, you’d be able to attract more fishes later in the day. It’s an old wife’s tale of how the first fish would return to the waters to tell the other school of fishes how well you’ve treated it and the rest would follow just as the law of attraction does.
- It makes for a good photo: And finally, kissing a fish makes for the perfect photo opportunity especially in the age of social media! Most fishermen see this as a way to spice up their pictures, and kissing a fish is just a fun way to show off their catch to their friends and family. If you’re looking to parade the size of your catch, kissing the fish would also be a good gauge of a human to fish comparison which is why some fishermen are still engaging with this tradition.
Is it safe to kiss a fish?
You probably know all the reasons to kiss a fish now, but have you wondered if it’s safe to kiss the fish as traditions go? Unfortunately, it’s not a recommended practice and that’s solely for hygiene reasons. As fishes are known to be host to a variety of microscopic parasites, you’ll run the risk of getting a viral infection when kissing it. This is further amplified by the fact that water conditions at certain fishing locations may be contaminated with toxic waste and other non-environmentally friendly matter, causing the fishes to be exposed to various dirt and bacteria.
Thankfully, these infections and bacteria are not always fatal, but you may suffer from an upset stomach and severe diarrhea for several days – similar to times when you may have had raw food that isn’t prepared properly. Either way, you should immediately visit the doctors if you’re experiencing any discomfort after kissing a fish from your catch.
Did you know…
In the year 2017, a British man encountered breathing problems after he tried to kiss a fish for good luck. The man, Sam Quilliam had been fishing with his friends by the pier when he caught a small sole and wanted to honor the age-old tradition of kissing a fish for good luck. Unfortunately, the fish had slipped from his hands after wiggling about and fell right into his mouth and down his throat. The fish was then stuck in his windpipe and the man suffered from breathing difficulties. Luckily for him, the paramedics managed to quickly fish the sole out of his throat and he was sent to the hospital after. Maybe it was good luck after all that he had kissed that fish for tradition’s sake!
Now that you know how kissing a fish all started and what it symbolizes, would you try to kiss a fish on your next fishing trip out? If your answer is yes to kissing a fish for good luck, we’d recommend only going in for a quick peck and remember to wipe your mouth with a clean tissue or cloth after.