No Bananas Explained

No Bananas! Captain Marko with a giant goliath grouper
Capt. James Marco with a giant Goliath grouper caught in southwest Florida.

No Bananas! I’ve always told my clients to never bring my worst enemy on the water… the banana. It may sound crazy, but this amazing fruit has caused more hassle than anything else on my boat. Call it superstition, call it bad luck, but I hate them on my boat. I won’t even eat one before I go on the boat.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the banana myth. Here are a couple explanations of how the fear of bananas on boats got started.

I’ll start with the spider myth. Back in the 1700s, when shiploads of bananas were being brought over from Africa, they were loaded with small spiders. Spiders become most active at night.

So, imagine sailors are carrying the banana cargo in their hold. When they go to bed for the evening, they get bitten by poisonous African spiders. No one can figure out why the crew is dying.  When they finally arrive in their destination port with a big chunk of their crew dead, you can see just how easy a rumor could spread that bananas were bad luck on board.

Second, back in the 1700s, all boats were made of wood. It was said that some banana-rich areas of Africa and the Caribbean had some of the most destructive wood-eating termites in the world.

So, you can imagine that sometimes these termites would cling to the banana trees as they were dragged across the land to the docks where they were loaded on the ship. When the termites realized they were in a wooden ship, it was madness. Needless to say, the termites went to town on the wooden ship, causing tons of damage and in some cases eating holes in the hull that were not repairable.

Third, is my experience. When clients have brought this vicious fruit on board, I’ve had several rods and reels damaged. I once ran aground on an oyster bed that I’ve driven around my whole life. I once had a client Goliath Grouper fishing, waiting for a bite, when all of sudden his buddy whips out a banana.  I immediately yanked it from his hand and tossed it off my boat. Within seconds after tossing the banana off the vessel, we hooked up and landed a 300-pound Goliath.

So, that’s why I HATE BANANAS, but only on my boat or any time I go fishing. You can take your risk with the banana myth, but I’m going to play it safe. If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that bananas and boats don’t mix.

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