Don’t say ‘pig’ on boat…and 4 other odd lobster fishing superstitions.

Lobster Fisherman Oil Skins

A lobster fisherman’s oil skins, waiting for another day of work. Photo Courtesy of Billy Kitchen.

Fishermen are known for their superstitions and lobster fishermen are no different from the rest. Maine lobster fishing superstitions differ from harbor to harbor but when I researched them for my book I found five common themes.

1. Some lobster fishermen won’t paint their boats blue, believing that a blue boat brings bad luck.

2. Other lobster fishermen won’t go aboard a boat if one of the hatches is open, as an open hatch is considered bad luck as well. In some harbors, fishermen consider an overturned hatch, vs an open hatch, to be a harbinger of bad luck.

3. Pigs and lobster boats don’t mix. Some fishermen refuse to say the word ‘pig’ on a boat, believing it will bring bad luck. It is tricky for fishermen to adhere to this superstition in my home town as one of the major landmarks in Cutler Harbor is called Pig Turd Point!  In other harbors, fishermen won’t bring any pig-based item, such as a ham sandwich, onto a lobster boat.

4.  Lobster fishermen like to stick to the same routines when they start their days, doing the same things in the same order when they board their boat. Doing tasks out-of-order is feared to trigger bad luck.

5. Many lobster fishermen also refuse to start a major project on a Friday, including starting a fishing season. If the weather is poor except for on Fridays for several weeks in the spring, most fishermen would rather lose those weeks of fishing then set off their first load of traps on an unlucky Friday. My father hates delaying the start of his fishing season so he has developed a clever workaround which allows him to adhere to this lobster fishing superstition without letting the weather hold him back.

Do you have any lobster fishing superstitions to add to this list?  I would love to hear from all you lobstering families!

Christina Lemieux

About Christina Lemieux

Christina Lemieux Oragano grew up in Cutler, Maine, where her family have been in the lobster industry for four generations. She worked as a stern'man' on her father's boat for ten summers before graduating from college and beginning a career in advertising. While her job has taken her from Maine to San Francisco, New York and then to London, she has remained committed and connected to the Maine lobster industry. Her blogging, book writing, and experimentation with lobster recipes are testimony to her devotion to America's favorite crustacean.