I have to admit, I've never tried eel.

I have to admit, I've never tried eel.
But if I did, it would need to be a “blue” eel. Yellowish colored eels are poisonous – or so says an old Ozark superstition, courtesy of Mr. Vance Randolph.
And if I did catch an eel and fry it up I had better eat it right away or within a few hours it would revert back to raw flesh. That one is also from Mr. Randolph (1892-1980), the old Ozark folklorist who spent decades quietly compiling the sayings, superstitions, stories, songs, beliefs, habits, and lifestyles of the people of the Ozarks.
Randolph began his embedded research in the early decades of the 20th century, so much of what he collected was from people whose Ozark roots go back well into the 1800s.
Incidentally, if you're actually curious about eel, the Missouri Department of Conservation notes that they aren't that common in our state anymore, and are rarely seen at all in Southwest Missouri. Back in Randolph's younger years they were very populous, but that was before dams impeded their movements nationwide, and they can hardly find their way to Missouri streams anymore. Too bad if you like eel, though most folks probably don't, or maybe, like me, they have just never tried it. In Europe, smoked eel is a delicacy.
Mr. Randolph jotted down a few other rather superstitious beliefs he was told by “old-timers” and “young-ins” alike as it relates to fish and fishing and water creatures in the Ozarks. Like spoonbill catfish can't swim downstream. And catfish are crazy for paw-paws. And mussels are poisonous.
Here are some more of the same, all to be found in Randolph's book “Ozark Magic and Folklore.” Most aren't to be taken seriously. Vance Randolph, a skeptic, knew that, even if the folks he got them from didn't.
Never step over a fishing pole or line, or there will be no more fish caught that day.
An east wind is the worst wind to fish in.
If a dragonfly lands on your bobber, it means bad luck for fishing.
If a black beetle lands on your bobber, it means good luck for fishing.
Bass won't bite if there is any lightning in sight.
A single horsehair placed in the water will turn into a snake.
Cottonmouths will swallow their young upon the approach of danger.
Redhorse and white suckers will not spawn until they see Dogwoods blooming.
Fish bite best during the dark of the moon.
Fish exposed to moonlight will quickly spoil.
Once a snapping turtle bites a man it won't let go until thunder is heard.
When you see many fish sticking their noses above the surface of the water, there will be rain soon.
And, most importantly...
Always leave one fish behind after making a large catch. It will bring good luck next time.

Wes Franklin writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.