Bringing a banana aboard a fishing boat won’t win you any friends among anglers-but it might score you a wedgie.
This article was taken from Boating World Magazine
The mere mention of a banana muffin on board was enough to send legendary south Florida fishing guide “Bouncer” Smith scrambling toward the cooler that held the offending item. With his face flushed and a vein bulging from his forehead, he hurled the hapless muffin overboard, much to the objection of its rightful owner. Was this the act of an isolated bananaphobe? Well you can forget about black cats crossing your path or broken mirrors, because to many fishermen around the world, there is nothing unluckier than a banana on board a boat.
Having been cultivated in the Indus Valley as far back as 2000 B.C. , the banana’s nickname is “the fruit of the wise” Somewhat ironic when you consider that it is technically classified as an herb (although clearly a member of the “hand-fruit” genus) and is a favorite food of monkeys, whose major leisure activities include hurling bodily waste products and offending sexually uptight visitors at the zoo.
The origin of this superstition is uncertain, but many believe that it began in olden times, when bananas were transported by rickety, overcrowded, top-heavy boats plying the tropics (now known as cruise ships). These boats would frequently sink, leaving behind a residue of floating yellow commas, thus leading witnesses to deduce that hauling bananas was unlucky. A more scientific explanation is that since bananas give off ethylene gas when they ripen, it causes other perishable foodstuffs to spoil more quickly. This expended-gas theory could be why it’s also considered unlucky to have a politician on board. Yet another theory suggests that crates of bananas would also contain unwanted pests, such as spiders, snakes, flies, mice and Beanie Babies.
Although the banana superstition is worldwide, nowhere is it taken more seriously than in Hawaii. Some believe the Aloha State’s anti-banana sentiment has its roots in legend when the god Pele (apparently before his soccer career) brought his brother to the islands to be the deity in charge of sport fishing. Rumor has it that he was deficient in, how shall we say, the male hydraulics department, giving him a severe case of banana envy. A clue to how Hawaiians feel about the subject can be found on the Kona Fishing Charter website. Although fairly ambiguously written, it states “Absolutely positively, no ifs, ands ,or buts, do not bring bananas on board”. Let’s just say if questioned by a Large Samoan deckhand folding a filet knife, it might be better NOT to reveal the fact that you had a Bananas Foster for breakfast.
In Florida, charter boat crews have extended the prohibition beyond bananas and related food products to include objects that merely have the word banana on it, such as Banana Boat sunscreen, or items from Banana Republic, During fishing tournaments, anti-banana feelings run high. Not leaving any stone unturned, each person on board is quizzed as to what brand of underwear they are wearing. Should some clueless individual mention they are wearing Fruit of the Loom, a rather unpleasant operation is performed on them. First, they are seized by a couple of stout deckhands and given a punitive “wedgie” to prepare the surgical field. A razor-sharp filet knife is then used to excise the label, which curiously doesn’t even have a banana on it. Experts recommend not struggling during this procedure, particularly if after a hard night of carousing the underwear is on backwards.
Some bold individuals spit in the eye of this superstition such as the Banana Lure Co., which features trolling lures that look like half a Chiquita. Attempts to inquire about how business is going have gone unanswered…..