Fish provide sustenance, sport, entertainment, and knowledge to us in many different ways. While we don’t hold them up as a pinnacle of wisdom, they still manage to outsmart fishermen. Today, let’s talk all about these wonderful creatures and how they make our society tick! Our gallery brims with over a dozen fish tattoos—from koi fish, saltwater fish, trout, salmon, and even fly fishing tattoo designs! The incredibly rich symbolism of this animal kingdom remains visible in our everyday life, and fish tattoos bring it all to the fore.
Fish Tattoos Meaning
Normally, anything affiliated with the ocean is associated with femininity and wisdom. Fish are a bit of an oddball. When we say someone has the memory of a goldfish, it’s not a complement about their intelligence. On the other hand, and despite being gender-neutral as far as symbols go, fish represent fertility. They also represent happiness, good luck, wealth, adaptability, long life, unity, determination, and freedom.
In Buddhism, a pair of golden fish makes up a sacred symbol of the Buddha. In Greek mythology, a pair of fish represented the gods of love—Aphrodite and Eros—as well as transformation, and they even have their own constellation: Pisces. In Christianity, the fish is a symbol for the phrase ‘fishers of men,’ and Christians can use it to identify each other. Oddly enough, the Celts revered salmon for their apparent wisdom, but they are alone in this.
Koi Fish Tattoos Meaning
Koi fish tattoos carry their own meaning. The color and direction of the fish greatly changes the meaning of the tattoo. The traditional koi fish color meaning states that a black koi fish represents fatherhood and the triumph over an obstacle. Red represents passion and motherhood, along with bravery and power. Red and pink koi fish represent daughters. Yellow represents wealth and prosperity as well as good luck, while blue typically represents a son. A pair of black and white koi fish represents yin and yang, or the balance of life. Sometimes you will see a dragon-headed koi fish, and this traditional Japanese tattoo alludes to the tale of how koi fish become dragons.
Saltwater Fish Tattoos
Before we get into sport fishing tattoos, let’s talk about some beautiful ocean fish tattoos. Fish fill our world’s coral reefs to the brim, occupying any space available. Clown fish seek refuge in venomous anemones, angel fish zip through the large formations, and lion fish prowl around. This colorful world translates well into a watercolor tattoo—or even just a detailed scenery.
Further out from the reefs, swordfish, tuna, and sharks represent some amazing saltwater fish tattoo subjects. Quite frankly, the number of amazing tattoo subjects in the ocean goes on further than we even know. New species get discovered constantly! On one hand, that means that the ‘perfect’ fish for your tattoo might get discovered next year. On the other, you can always add more fish to create your own personal school!
Sport Fishing Tattoos
Largemouth bass tattoos impress anyone familiar with sport fishing and make for a permanent trophy. A salmon tattoo says a bit more than ‘I fish a lot,’ by also telling the story of the fish. Sometimes called trout instead of salmon, these adamant fish go on huge journeys against the flow of the river to spawn, and then return to the ocean again. Of course, we can’t forget the single greatest symbol of a fisherman: the rod! Incorporating a fishing rod into a fish tattoo challenges any artist, so always look at your artist’s portfolio before getting a tattoo.
Preferably, you want an artist with experience tattooing complicated sceneries with multiple subjects. Of course, your artist might get a little creative and find their own way to put the fishing rod in. Fly fishing tattoo designs don’t differ much from regular fishing tattoos, especially if a fish bites the lure, but if you want to make the distinction prominent, tell your artist beforehand!
Simple Fish Tattoos
Sometimes, you don’t need a complicated scenery to tell your story. Small fish tattoos on your arm tell everyone that you love the animal, even if you don’t scuba dive or fish. Perhaps you even dislike fishing, since it hurts the poor things! Fish tribal tattoos can fit anywhere , and a simple Pisces sign tattoo identifies you as a Pisces without going overboard.
If you’re interested in learning more about fish tattoos, you can check out our articles on koi fish tattoos and Pisces tattoos. InkDoneRight has hundreds of gallery features, tattoo history articles, tattoo how-tos, the care and keeping of tattoos, and more! Feel free to join our Twitter to keep up with the tattoo world!