Ever since I was a little kid salty old Captains have vehemently expressed their position that no bananas cross the gunnels of their rig. I have fished with many fellas that will not have banana bread, banana chips, banana granola or even Banana Boat sunscreen on board. I personally know a guide in North Florida who will immediately pitch anything banana related overboard the minute such item is found.
Where did the myth come from? There seems to be a general agreement that banana cargo often carried spiders and other creatures that bit crew members, causing severe pain and even death. So, to get assigned to a boat whether loading, unloading, or carrying the golden yellow fruit, was considered bad luck. There are a few other stories floating around as well. It is even thought that banana flavor is offensive to fish. This has been proven untrue.
As for me, I always kid around about no bananas on the boat, but it is in my head. I’ve had clients pull out that forbidden fruit after we have whacked the fish and show me how silly and superstitious I am (I do, to this day, make sure there is at least one can of sardines and hot vienna sausages in my bag). Honestly the banana thing never affected me much…until now.
While we ran a few trips this week, and the bite has really been pretty good. But one trip took a little curve--a banana curve. Bring on angler “J” (The names have been changed to protect banana boy). The day was windy and cold, but I liked the tides and color of the water. Not to mention we have been on some pretty good reds and a pile of good eating schoolie trout. Well, we pull up to our first stop and bang! A good red slams “J’s” lure and we bring him to the boat for a quick pic. J fires his lure and I turn to grab a drink of hot coffee, when I hear a splash that puts out the sound of human falling into water. As a rule, I always kid folks that if they fall in, be sure to stand up. Well, sure enough man overboard and flailing the water before the imaginary alligators and real red fish can devour his flesh (Where’s the camera now, right?).
Fortunately my better half is home, and only a short distance from a landing and brings us a change of clothes as J now is close to not so imaginary hypothermia. Back to fishing. We whack a few more reds and run back to the trees for some combat trout and red fishing. J fires a nearly perfect cast into some big rotten trees. Nearly perfect. The line loops a high hanging branch. We pull and snatch but nothing. I finally ease up and pull the line, and the whole darn tree falls into the boat. No harm, no foul, except for the huge banana spider that lands on my arm and nearly sends me into the drink. All good. The trout shut down, so off to the next spot. As we idle out of the creek, I open the lunch bag and there they are. Not one, but two bananas. I give him the story and we have a little forced laughter. Silly superstition.
As we put her on plane in a pretty stiff wind, the seat cushion that has been loosened by the falling timber and J’s jacket become airborne. Well, we circle back to find the cushion floating, but the jacket (already wet from the early morning swim) dies a watery death and sinks to the bottom of the river. J comments that it was a cheap jacket anyway. We pull to a nice flooded shell bank and the bite is on! After many trout slimed high fives J reaches into his pocket to check the time as it’s been a great day and he needs to meet his sweetie back at the dock. But no watch. It was in his jacket pocket, which is at rest in the bottom of the Hampton River. At this point J takes the remaining banana and fires a perfect spiral towards the marsh…the banana hits a rare and protected wood stork right in the head and the beautiful bird falls face first into the marsh! (Not really but that was the mental image that ran thru my now baffled brain)
I guess all’s good that ends good. J had a great day and brought home a genuine mess of reds and trout, and we had a big time like we always do. Thanks Jim (oops), it really was a lot of laughs…but I may rethink that whole banana thing…