Fort Mill Times

Going bananas about bananas

Sometimes in the morning, it's good to grab an apple or banana. But not when it's tournament time, I learned the hard way.

One morning I was in the store about 4:30 a.m. getting ready to meet my boater for blastoff. Another boater threw me a banana saying, "Good luck today, my treat. You need the potassium." I thought it was a nice gesture.

I met my boater at the ramp and we started loading our gear. I pulled out the banana and put it on the seat. Next thing I know, he freaked out, asking "What are you trying to do to me?" After I asked what was wrong, he told me, "You don't bring a banana on a man's boat" because it's bad luck and a sure way to loose a fishing tournament.

After a miserable day of fishing, I had to look up what he was talking about. This is what I found in Boater's World magazine:

The origin of this superstition is uncertain, but many believe 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 foods 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 also would 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 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 Web site. Although fairly ambiguously written, it states: "Absolutely positively, no ifs, ands or buts, do not bring bananas on board."

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 and 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.

So the next time you are trying to keep up with your six meals a day, try to exclude a banana for breakfast while fishing the tournament trail.

Maliek Carrington, known as Mr. Maliek, of Steele Creek is an amateur angler who fishes in the Bassmaster Weekend Series. He started Fishing4Reel about five years ago to expose children to fishing by taking them on freshwater and saltwater fishing trips. He can be reached at info@fishing4reel.net.

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