Whether it’s skill or serendipity, some anglers are just lucky. Long-time tourney regular Leon Edwards always had good vibes. The owner of Lucky 2 has countless monsters on his ledger, including a 1,046-pound “grander” blue, the largest marlin ever caught in Florida. But he’s not alone. We checked in with some other teams to learn what they use to draw that winning bill into the spread.
“The crew’s kids gave us one of their favorite toys to take offshore, usually the figurine of the week.The toys always keep us safe, but I’m not so sure they brought us any special fishing luck,” says “Soda” Noling, the former mate on Conundrum. Stevie, a mate aboard Freak Nasty, a 92 Viking from Ono Island, takes a more adult approach.
“We always take a bottle of Fireball when we’re fishing a tournament,” he says. “Jägermeister will work in a pinch.” When queried about whether the team does shots before lines in, he said, with a wink, that they just drink all day long.
Capt. Blake Singleton and his team have other quirky rituals. Cheese Puffs are always on board and the crew says a prayer before they put lines in the water. For the evening meal the first night out, they dine on cheeseburgers from Shaggy’s Restaurant. The name of their Pass Christian 60 Sculley, by the way, is Cheeseburger.
Neil Gryder, the mate on Black Tip, sprinkles a little holy water off the transom of the 61 Buddy Davis. He also carries a couple special lucky lures, even if he doesn’t plan to use them. When asked for the specific names of the lures, he had a curt reply.
“There’s no way I’m telling what they are. Not a chance,” he said with a laugh.
Katie Gonsoulin, the successful lady angler who competes on her dad’s Viking, Done Deal, says her team has a watchful angel. “We have a T-shirt that belonged to my uncle who passed away not long ago. We keep it on the boat and put it on the fighting chair so his spirit can watch over us,” she explains.
Some superstitious teams are equally cautious about what isn’t on board in an effort to ward off bad luck. Boats like Bloodsport, a 38 Luhrs based in Orange Beach, shun bananas in the long-held belief that they are bad juju. Others, however, don’t mind the elongated fruit at all.
“My boss hates bananas on the boat,” says veteran skipper Billy Borer. “They don’t bother me a bit. I once made a strip bait out of a banana peel and caught a bonito just to disprove the theory they’re bad luck.” Borer has encountered other unusual tournament behavior, however.
“I used to fish with a lady angler who would light incense and walk around the cockpit and engine room, waving smoke and reciting chants. I’m not sure if that ever really made a difference or not. She certainly thought it did. But I believe you make your own luck.”
Tossing coins over the transom, dances in the cockpit, favorite clothes, food or music. All have been used to help conjure up fish. Do they work? You can’t convince true believers otherwise.