|FISHING MOJO And the curse of Murphy’s Law
By Duncan Steyn
‘mojo’ (uk) noun : An ability or quality that causes one to excel or have good luck.
ANYONE who’s ever been involved in the honourable sport of shadowing fish with a fly-rod has almost certainly experienced their share of fishing mojo — both good and bad. Many articles have been written on this subject and I’m sure experts shake their heads at the way it’s seldom taken seriously. They’re going to especially love this story ..
IF ANYTHING CAN GO WRONG IT WILL
Approaching the edge of the stream, you catch your first glimpse of a solid 18 incher feeding just under the surface. No doubt a small emerger pattern will do the trick. The previous ten minutes were spent stealing closer with the stealth of an undercover otter. Even though the water is as clear as a whistle, you haven’t been seen or heard. Without losing sight of your fish of the season, you tie on the size 16 fly and prepare to present the perfect cast. Ping goes the 6X tippet in the tree that wasn’t behind you a minute earlier and as you stumble on the loose stones that were, until quite recently, as solid as the foundations of the Drakensberg, you watch your fish disappear and realise that you are indeed fluent in Russian.
Murphy’s law originated in 1949 at Edwards Airforce Base in California and was named for Captain Edward A Murphy who, while testing rocket-powered sleds and facing endless problems, came up with the phrase “If anything can go wrong it will.” Even though the laws are credited to Capt Murphy, there are examples of his influence from much earlier. In Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler first published in 1653 we read, “I have had but bad luck today, for I fish for barbel…”
Most fishermen I know have a particular ritual they perform whenever they go fishing; whether they are aware of it or not, the lucky hat is worn along with a lucky shirt, rod, wading socks, special red underwear etc... We all know it’s very bad luck to clean the cork of your favourite fly-rod; as if a mixture of fish slime and Gerk’s Gink can somehow make you an even deadlier hunter of fish. I know this, I understand this, but I will still never clean a grip… very bad mojo.
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