It may be superstitious, but I believe that bananas are bad luck on a fishing boat. Common explanations of the origin of this superstition include:
- When top-heavy ships of earlier eras would sink, precious little other than the bananas they’d carried would be found floating on the surface, thereby leaving some to conclude conveyance of the fruit itself had led to these naval mishaps.
- Spiders, snakes, and other poisonous vermin living among bananas carried in the hold would, on long haul trips, expand their horizons by infesting other parts of the ship.
- Because the speediest sailing ships were used to get bananas to their destinations before they could spoil, those attempting to fish from them never caught anything while trolling due to excessive speed.
- Fisherman became ill after eating the fruit.
- Other fruits would spoil more quickly when bananas were being shipped along with them, causing folks to deem bananas “bad luck.” (Actually, it wouldn’t have been ill fate that resulted in the spoilage of other foodstuffs, but instead the ethylene gas emitted by bananas as they ripen.)
- Crew member injured by slipping on discarded banana peels.
- Fisherman misses landing the big one due to a case of “the runs” caused by bananas he’d ingested.
- Banana oil rubs off onto the hands of fisherman, thereby “spooking” the fish.
- Early anglers in Hawaii would embark upon lengthy fishing trips in dugout canoes provisioned with (along with other food items) bananas. The farther they went, the fewer the fish, causing some of them to mistake correlation for causation.
I prefer being safe versus sorry, so on fishing charters, please leave the bananas at home.