The Banana Superstition

no-bananas-on-boardThe saying goes that the more a fan you are of something, the more superstitious you will be regarding it. For examples;

A football fan will have to wear the same clothing, stand or sit in the same spot, hold their hands in the same way, knock on wood 7 times and flick the light 3 times then turn counterclockwise 2 times while hopping on one foot. If not done properly, they have doomed their team to lose.

Gambling fans have to shake the dice only in their left hand while blowing on them 3 times while at the same time rubbing their tummy with their right hand and if they don’t do it, then they are doomed to lose their money.

Race fans know that if they sit in a different seat or wear their hats differently or if they don’t blink their eyes 50 time in one minute then their favorite driver is gonna crash.

Well, for fishermen and women, the superstition is bananas. Granted, there are reasons that anglers believe in this superstition. There are stories dating back as early as the 1700s in the Caribbean sea of misfortune created by bananas. Bananas were gathered and loaded onto large wooden ships for transport to other countries. These ships had to travel fast in order to get the cargo to their destinations without spoiling. As you can imagine a fast moving ship is not conducive to fishing so crew members that were trying to fish caught little to nothing. Blame the banana instead of the speed of the ship for a bad day of fishing.

Often times when another ship came upon a deadly shipwreck the only visible signs that there was any trouble were the floating cases of bananas bobbing in the water. Don’t blame a catastrophic failure by the Captain or crew, don’t blame a storm, don’t blame a pirate attack… no those floating cases of bananas prove that the banana was the culprit for the lives that were lost.

You know what likes to hide in bunches of bananas? Venomous spiders. Spiders found that bananas provided wonderful shelter and once the bananas were loaded onto cargo ships the spiders could venture out and expand their territory into the crew’s living and dining quarters. Back in the 1700’s spider bites were not easily treated at sea and many bites became fatal. Again, easier to blame the bananas.

bad-luck-bananasEven now, bananas are still forbidden on most recreational fishing vessels. Offshore captains often forbid the bringing of bananas on their ships. The superstition of bananas goes so far that even things remotely related to bananas often are banned from fishing charters. Things such as Banana Boat sunscreen and Banana Republic clothing. All thing banana are not welcome aboard.

I for one can’t say whether the superstition is real or not. I can tell you I haven’t noticed any difference. One reason the banana superstition hasn’t bothered me is because of my brother Lorren. When I was about 15 years old, my brother Lorren took me fishing to Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham, NH. We drove from Manchester down Old Route 101 into Raymond where there was a farm stand just before having to turn left to get to the lake. The farm stand had a sign outside indicating a sale on bananas at 10 cents a pound. We stopped and discovered that the farm stands supplier double shipped bananas, hence the sale. My brother Lorren, being the jokester that he was, whipped out $2 and bought 20 lbs. of the yellow tasty fruit.

My brother Lorren made the day fun for me as he taught me new techniques to fish while stuffing his face full of bananas. He made me laugh because even though his mouth was full of bananas he would still try to instruct me on landing fish when I hooked into them and it was hilarious to see him trying to talk and swallow the banana at the same time.  During our day long fishing trip we caught dozens of fish. The sun stayed bright in the sky all day. We had no mechanical failures of the boat. We didn’t break anything and though our gills may have turned a little less fresh after eating all those bananas, we had a fantastic day.

no-bananasLorren was a great fishing companion. Nothing made him happier than to have the person he was fishing with catching fish, even when he himself wasn’t catching anything. He took great pride and pleasure if he could impart fishing knowledge that lead to his companions having a great day of catching fish.

So, if you find that your day of fishing is slow of bites, try looking for anything banana related that you might have with you and get rid of it. Who knows, your luck might just increase… if you believe in superstitions.

Tight lines, the Amateur Angler


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