I take the theoretical position, following Douglas (1966), Leach (1976) and some others, that some animals, because of their anomalous position are better to think with than others. Also, I suggest that symbolic expressions should be studied in context over time. Anthropologists have overemphasised a synchronic and static analysis of symbolic systems. In reality, representations obey ‘two kinds of determinisms’ (Levi-Strauss,1985). The respond to the constraints of the present, the social relations of the people who produce them, but somehow they also reflect the traditions of the past.
Gisli Palsson, The Idea of Fish
The Reel of Fortune Turns But Slowly
I got my first hit indicating that concepts surrounding fishiness, can be placed in a wider context. An altered version of, ‘a poor fisherman gets a poor fish’, the cultural and social context is however significantly altered, it’s from a very early account detailing the art of fishing as a lone activity for gentlemen and strongly related to the development of skill. In this case its compared directly to the art of speaking (lucky me).
Expanding my search further, I find the idea of luck and chance entering the vocabulary and based on a nights reading, seem clustered around the 19th century.
Very limited data, but it is immediately suggesting an alteration and development of terms over- time.
I think I may also expand to see if I can find some fishing examples in the marble hall of great white dead men. As the fishing genius (should such a creature exist) seems to become strongly associated with luck and chance in popular culture.