“It is bad luck to stop for any reason on the way to or from a fishing trip”

My informant first heard this superstition as a young boy when he would go on fishing trips with his grandfather.  Together, they would make sure to prepare the night before and eat a full breakfast so there would be no reason to stop in the morning.  He had just assumed that his grandfather was impatient and didn’t want to miss out on fishing because of a break or a snack.  One day, as they were fishing, my informant asked why his grandfather wouldn’t allow any stops.  His grandfather replied that he and the rest of his family believed that stopping for any reason on the way to or from fishing was bad luck. If one were to stop on the way to the boat, they’d be in danger of not catching many fish.  Also, if they stopped on the way home, they would risk quality of their catch and that the fish would not taste good when cooked later.

His grandfather continued to explain that this superstition has existed within his family and other families for many generations, and that it can be traced back to the story of the anea-holo of Hawaiian folktale.  The anea-holo is a type of mullet and is mostly native to the island of Oahu.  As the story goes, when the family of Ihuopalaai’s sister ran out of fish to eat, she sent her husband to talk to him and ask for fish.  It was also requested that her husband not bring back dried fish, because it would go bad before his return.  After her husband declined bundles of dried fish, Ihuopalaai told him to return home on the Kona side of the island and not to sit, stay, nor sleep on the way until he reached home. The husband started home as requested, and Ihuopalaai asked the fish god, Ku-ula, to send anea-holo for his sister.  While the husband was returning home, he noticed a large school of fish in the sea.  He grew tired and disobeyed Ihuopalaai, and as he rested, the fish rested, too.  As the fish rested, other people noticed the school and began catching them.  The husband had not realized this was the supply sent for his family.  Finally, the husband reached home again and told his wife of the fish.  They fished together and were able to catch more than enough to feed their family, but they could have caught more had the husband had done exactly as Ihuopalaai requested.

This story is the basis for this superstition.  While the family was able to catch the amount of fish they desired, they could have caught more had it not been for the husband’s rests on the way home.  So for this reason, it is considered bad luck to stop on the way too or from a fishing trip, because you risk losing some of your catch or worse.

According to my informant, he has never asked anyone outside his family about the superstition, but he expects that many other families have similar superstitions, because of the story.  He also believes that it’s still used because it’s logical to be rested, full, and prepared before you leave to go fishing, so you can get started as soon as possible, and get home in time to cook what was caught.