I am a salty old dog and I don’t like change. I paddled the same kayak for 15 years. I looked at new kayaks and envied their owners, but the only thing a new boat lacks is the one thing my old boat has in abundance: good luck. But when I take the plunge on a new ride, how can I break that new kayak curse?

How to Beat the New Kayak Curse

My old boat was great, but the classic craft comes from the generation of kayaks that had to be to shade tree engineered into a fishing machine. She’s rigged for the way I fish. Unfortunately, the low-profile seat is designed for paddling efficiency not fishing comfort. After a couple hours, my left leg goes numb and my ass starts to ache.

Despite the old boat’s shortcomings it has produced many fish over the years. Whenever the conditions turn sour I know Ol’ Bessie will get me home. Still, I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander. I envied the modern fishing marvels with elevated seats, extensive gear tracks, flat decks, broad hulls, smart rigging and easy operation.

illustration of an angler and a skunk thinking about his old boat catching more fish
Thinking about taking the plunge on a new ride, or missing your old one? | Illustration: Lorenzo del Bianco

Fishermen are superstitious and the new kayak curse is worse than new lures or rods. Basically, anything new is suspect to blame when the fish won’t bite, the wind won’t quit or the sun won’t shine. Juju comes from every trip, every fish, every close call, every sunrise and sunset. A new boat could threaten my success for weeks, months, maybe years!

Ridding Your Boat of the Skunk Stench

Still, the temptation was too great. I broke down and bought a brand new super-sled. From bow hatch to stern well, from the gunnel tracks to channeled hull, my new boat is built for fishing. I even had a plan to outsmart the jinx.

Before the start of tournament season, I dedicated hours to ridding my boat of the skunk. I didn’t wash it. I didn’t baby it. I didn’t refer to the boat as “new.” I called it my “current” kayak. I searched “How to break a curse” on Google and learned incantations and chants. I spent hours on the water, trying to burn the bad sign before the start of largemouth tournament season.

My first tournament was in early April. I expected a warm spring day, but it was snowing and bitterly cold. I was nervous about the new kayak curse until I hooked my first fish.

“What jinx?” I laughed at my superstition until I saw a small crappie on my line. Then I caught a yellow perch followed by a pickerel. I even caught a catfish on a jerkbait. No one catches a catfish on a jerkbait. The only bass I caught was an inch short of the minimum.

kayak angler casts while silhouetted in dawn light
You may envy the owner of a fancy new boat, but the only thing it lacks is the most important: good luck. | Feature photo: Harrison Haines/Pexels

Will a Lucky Lure Break the Curse?

Determined to deep-six the skunk, I convinced my frozen fingers to tie on the secret bait. My first cast, I got the big bite. The fish pulled like a freight train and fought like a bulldog; it had to be the trophy bass that would win the prize and kill the skunk. I pictured the selfie, composed the Facebook post, all while laughing over my silly jinx. Then I saw teeth, followed by an armored head and yellow spots. Pickerel! Ugh. The only lucky thing was the snaggle-toothed beast didn’t bite off my secret lure.

I ended the day cold, wet but happy. My new kayak may be cursed, but it sure is comfortable.

This article was first published in the Fall 2016 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

You may envy the owner of a fancy new boat, but the only thing it lacks is the most important: good luck. | Feature photo: Harrison Haines/Pexels



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