Fish This!
Fishing myths exposed, shocking truths revealed


The skill of angling has been handed down through the ages. Fathers passing their knowledge and skills to their sons, continuing a tradition that would ensure survival. In the modern age, survival has turned to sport and the present-day fisherman faces a wealth of information on angling tactics, strategy and methods. Myths abound and can confuse. It is the purpose of this article to take but a few of these “myths” and investigate their validity.
Myth #1: Fish are stupid.
THE TRUTH: Intelligence is relative. While a fish cannot build houses or solve simple math equations, the fisherman himself will spend most of his time and money in pursuit of The Big Catch.
Examine the fisherman when contemplating the proper lure or bait to use.
While most fish are content with a five-cent piece of cut bait, the fisherman will drop $5 to $6 on a pink and green speckled plug, only to cast it directly into a tree branch on the first try. Cursing ensues.
Always remember... If the fish are stupid, and you catch no fish, then what does that make you?
Myth #2: If you spray your bait or lure with WD40 it will increase your chances of catching fish.
This one has some apparent scientific basis behind it. Anglers will tell you that the oils on your hand spread to the bait when you touch it. The fish, with their keen sense of smell, can identify human involvement. The idea is that the WD40, with its blend of natural and synthetic chemicals, disguises the human smell and fools the fish into striking.
WD40 is a cocktail of petroleum distillates not often occurring naturally in the wild, unless Capt. Hazlewood of Exxon Valdez fame has been sailing in your neck of the woods.
So, does it work? (See Myth #1)
Myth #3: You’ve got to hold your mouth right.
This myth warrants some investigation. The idea that fish may be more or less inclined to take the bait based on the position of one’s mouth is intriguing.
I phoned Dr. Tom Shirley of the Juneau Center of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, an expert on fish behavior and asked him whether or not fish response and mouth position are related.
“I cannot think of any acoustic or olfactory signals that would alert fish or fishers to each other’s intentions,” was his response.
What does that mean? (see Myth #1)
Myth #4: The minute you set your rod down (for example to light a cigarette or open a can of pop) the fish will strike.
This is more a mystery than a myth. Some would say it’s Murphy’s Law, along the same lines as losing one sock in the clothes dryer or forgetting to purchase a lottery ticket the same day your number gets pulled.
Does it happen? Any fisherman will tell you that it does and who am I to argue. It certainly seems true.
Some have employed reverse psychology. Drinking more pop or smoking more cigarettes to push the odds in their favor. Beware though, smoking more cigarettes will only increase the odds of getting lung cancer. While you may get more bites, you may find yourself out of breath as you reel in the fish.
One other note. Use extreme caution when setting down your rod to use the boat rail facilities. The majority of fishermen who fall off the boat and drown are found with their zippers down.
Even if you’re getting a bite, sometimes it’s better to concentrate on the job at hand. (refer to Myth #1)
Myth #5: If you take your wife fishing, she will catch more and bigger fish than you.
This is no myth. This is an undisputed fact. And you may as well admit it, because she is going to tell everyone she knows.
I know how hard this can be. I mean, how can SHE catch the biggest fish?
One fisherman laments: “While she was just sitting there waiting for a bite, I was trying all kinds of different lures. I sprayed them all with WD40 and held my mouth in the proper fish position. The minute I set my rod down to grab a pop, the rod starts jerking and she catches the biggest fish I’ve ever seen.
“Fish are stupid!”

Wrestlers host home meet: high noon on Saturday
The Skagway High School wrestling team should be at full strength this weekend for its only home match of the season. Because of the late ferry Friday night, all matches have been moved to Saturday, said second-year coach Josh Coughran.
The Skagway team has three returning lettermen: seniors Clayton Harris and Chris Shockley, and sophomore Kyle Ellis. They will be joined by sophomores Garrett Henry and Rory Belisle, and freshmen Crystal Ketterman, Jeremy Kilburn, Cory Belisle, and Kyle Mulvihill.
“We have a lot of freshmen who’ll have to take their lumps,” Coughran said. “But we’re excited about the season.”
The season really starts this weekend for most on the squad. Six of the nine wrestlers didn’t have enough practices to travel to last weekend’s meet at Mt. Edgecumbe, because they were on the cross-country team that won the region and traveled to State.
Of the three who were able to go, just one, Harris, was able to post a Skagway win, on a pin. Ellis, who had a good season last year, wound up in a tough division but should bounce back once he’s in better shape, his coach said. The big highlight of the weekend was seeing Ketterman get the first takedown of her high school career, Coughran said.
Saturday’s meet starts at high noon and will be an all-day affair for the teams from Skagway, Juneau and Hoonah. During breaks in the high school action, the “little kids” will take the mats for exhibition matches.
Coughran has been holding an intramural camp for younger wrestlers after high school practices, and like the high schoolers, they’re ready to show their skills.
“It should be pretty exciting,” Coughran said.
The SHS girls volleyball team is also seeing its first action this weekend at Ketchikan. – JB

• Results Skagway Invitational Wrestling meet

In the story on Skagway’s Southeast 1A-2A-3A cross-country title on Sept. 28, it was mentioned that Russell Bush was the first individual Southeast champion for Skagway. Actually that honor first went to Richard Hunz, who never lost a race in his cross-country career in the mid-1970s, racing against all schools in the region. Then Jake Sims was the first 1A-2A-3A region champ for Skagway in 1998. The article also said it was the first team championship since 1987. The sports historians pegged us on that one too: the 1992 Panthers won region and took fifth at State. The News regrets these errors. Brady promises to quit relying on his memory banks!