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Team Ripl
Team Ripl


For some odd reason, the bite was off that day. All the conditions were right, and the charter group fishing off Maui should have seen action by now but something strange was amiss. With the lull in the action, one of the anglers pulled a banana out of their backpack and began leisurely peeling it. Suddenly, a crazed look seized the first mate as he streaked across the cockpit, snatched the banana out of his hand and flung it into the ocean like it was a live hand grenade while screaming,

“Are you crazy! You never bring bananas aboard a boat! No wonder we haven’t caught anything!”

Seeing the filet knife in the mate’s hand he was using to cut bait, the angler prudently refrained from confessing he had eaten a banana muffin that morning.

Bananas have a bad rap on the water

One would think in the 21st century, the fear of curved yellow fruit would have long faded, but the phobia is still alive and well, especially among superstitious saltwater anglers. If you go to a coastal area that has a charter boat row, invariably, you’ll see signs that warn anglers not to bring along bananas…and they are not kidding!

Not only does this prohibition extend to bananas, but also to anything with bananas in them and even items with the word banana in their name like Banana Boat sunscreen and Banana Republic clothing. Curiously, many crew members will also eschew Fruit of the Loom underwear even though there’s nary a banana in the logo.


So what’s up with that?

No one knows the origin of this boomerang-fruit fear but some theorize that because they float, bananas have been seen bobbing on the surface where vessels have gone down, leading some observers to draw the nefarious conclusion that the fruit itself had caused the tragedy.

But there are actually some valid reasons to eschew Musa Paradisiaca. 

Those provisioning boats who have included bananas in their larder have discovered the hard way they cause nearby fruit and vegetables to quickly go bad thanks to the excessive amount of ethylene gas they produce. There’s also the horrifying fact hairy spiders the size of your hand like to take up residence within large bunches.  

Sounds like a bunch of b—

Yes, but nonetheless, some intrepid anglers purposely bring along bananas to prove they are good enough at their craft to overcome the well-established jinx these potassium-laden fruit commas can bring — much to the horror of true believers.

During fishing competitions, rival teams have been known to stage nighttime raids to hide plantain cousins on fellow competitors’ boats in hard-to-find locations like exhaust vents or the back of electronics boxes. The bonus is any ‘nana that isn’t found the next day will be discovered weeks later when a smell, not unlike a rotten egg stored in a teenage boy’s gym locker begins wafting about.



In this age of reason, most people know this irrational banana superstition is untrue so there’s nothing to worry about. But when we are talking about fishing, the usual rules seldom apply. On second thought, you’d better not chance it. Instead, take an apple.



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