Are Bananas Really Bad Luck On Boats? [PICS & TRUE STORIES]
Published by Joseph Simonds under
Last updated on: April 20, 2016
Wait til’ you see all of the wild pictures of these anglers fishing with (and without) bananas on their boats!
And make sure to stick around until the end as there are some wild “Banana” stories from anglers as well.
Bad Luck Banana Fact:
Did you know that there were over 1,000 bananas on the Titanic the day it sank?
According to sources such as “True Banana Facts”, there were at least 1,000 bananas that sank with the Titanic.
And that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise because there were over 3,000 people on board the Titanic, including some of the world’s wealthiest citizens (like Jacob Astor IV – known as the richest person to die on the Titanic) that would demand every type of fruit was on board… including delicious bananas.
But the Titanic is just one incident, right?
I mean, surely, a thousand bananas can’t be responsible for taking down an entire ship?
Or could it?
But before we jump into some of the craziest bad luck banana stories and pictures that have ruined boats, sunk ships, skunked fishing trips, and have been the “blamed culprit” to more bad luck fishing trips than any other fruit, vegetable, or superstition out there combined, let’s make sure you know the history behind bananas being “bad luck” on boat.
In particular, the top 5 reasons why so many people swear that bananas are bad luck on boats.
Top 5 Myths – “Bad Luck Bananas On Boats”
For those of you that haven’t read the in-depth blog on “Bad Luck Bananas On Board Boats” (that has been read and shared many thousands of times), here is a brief list of the Top 5 reasons the banana myth was started:
- Deadly spiders loved banana trees. While spider-ridden bananas were being shipped in boats across the ocean from Africa, the spiders would come out at night, kill sailors, bite sailors, and wreak havoc on any ship.
- “The Smoking Gun” effect. When a ship would come across wreckage in the ocean (from a ship that had sunk), one of the most common things floating would be the heaps of bananas (so they associated bananas with bad luck on ships)
- Bananas emit a unique fermentation stench that kills other fruit around them (this is true), thus killing off many of the sailors food supplies on long trips
- Termites. The myth was that termites would also come out of the heaps of bananas, eat the wooden ships, and the rest is history…
- Fast “Banana boats”. The 5th bad luck banana myth revolves around the fact that the cargo ships containing bananas had to move across the ocean faster than any other ship (makes sense due to the fact that bananas will rot and go bad). And because of this, the sailors that were accustomed to fishing on other ships began to say that “Banana Boats” were bad luck for fishing as they could never catch anything due to the speed.
And of course, there are a handful of other myths such as sailors slipping on banana peels in the boat, etc.
But all of this begs the question, are bananas really bad luck on boats?
From my years of “studying” the effects of bananas on boats, I have realized one thing…
It all depends on who you ask…
So let’s explore all sides of the argument from a few different navigational perspectives…
Bad Luck Bananas: The Superstitious Anglers
First, let’s talk about anglers that swear by the fact that bananas bring bad luck on boats (in particular, fishing boats).
On a personal note, I fit in this category as I have seen first-hand the negative effects that occur on boats when a banana is brought on board (but I will do my best to keep this blog post unbiased).
From the crazy bilge pump incident that almost sunk our flats boat while a banana was on board (you can read that story here), to the time my buddy Porter was stuck for hours up on top of a sand bar the day he let a banana on his boat, I have seen more random things go wrong on a boat when I banana is on board that it is almost unbelievable.
But I’ll let you decide for yourself after seeing these pictures and hearing some other people’s stories…
Let’s talk about fishing guides and bananas to start.
From what I’ve found, the vast majority of fishing guides, charter captain, and charter boats will NOT let you bring a banana on board their boats.
In fact, I have seen waivers that some captains and charter boat groups make you sign before booking the trip saying you will not bring a banana on board.
In some instances, you might even see signs like this at the boat dock or marina.
Or signs like this on Lake Ontario…
But it’s not just charter captains that fear the banana… even weekend warrior anglers believe in the banana myth.
And occasionally your fishing buddies prank you when you are catching more fish than them like this picture from OhioOnThe Fly (Instagram)
That motor is probably as good as gone now after being touched by a banana…
And if you do a Google search for terms such as:
- “Bananas Bad Luck Fishing”
- “Are Bananas Bad Luck On Boats?”
- “Why Are Bananas Bad Luck Fishing?”
You will find countless blogs, stories, and even a few crazy videos proclaiming bananas can ruin any and all fishing trips.
Many of you probably saw the video that went viral on Facebook of the charter boat’s crewman that ripped a banana out of his guest’s mouth and threw it overboard right before he gave his customer an earful about how bad luck bananas were while fishing.
Note: They had dolphins chasing them while they were trolling which is not exactly what you want to see in your offshore spread…
So why do fishing captains and other anglers go to these extremes to rid their boat of bananas?
Because many of them have had stories like this from Capt. Brett Haygood
Most captains (like Captain Jay Wither’s below) make their clients dispose of any bananas on the dock before taking off.
Here is an unlucky banana that was left behind upon discovery.
Angler Sam Taylor and Nam Bui went out fishing and purposely took a banana out with them to “test out the banana myth”…
Two broken rods later, they will never have a banana on board again…
Heck, there is even a “No Bananas” prayer that some really superstitious fishing captains believe in saying any time they find a banana on board their boat.
The “No Bananas On Board Repentance Prayer”
Oh great Konpira
please, hear my plea
I am sorry for my mistake
A banana I brought to sea
It was an honest gesture
a noble means of nutrition
I had no ill intent
I brought fruit of my own volition
Please forgive my idiocy
I meant my friends no harm
We just want to go fishing
and go home with a sore arm
We beg of you to release the curse
upon which I have brought
In your honor, I consume these bananas
a sacrifice all for naught…
Pretty wild stuff, huh!
Here is the reaction you will from most guides see you come on their boat eating bananas.
There was even the hilarious episode of Wicked Tuna when Tyler of the “Pinwheel” discovers his competitors hid a huge stuffed banana on this boat to give him bad luck (see pic below)
And guess what?
Tyler’s boat not only didn’t catch any tuna that day, but they even had some random boat complications while the banana was on board!
You can check out the quick clip from Wicked Tuna here.
Here is a pic from “Hooked For Life Fishing Charters” that had a client smuggle a banana on board during a double header charter day.
Talk about how to ruin a nice fishing boat!
The nerve of some people!
There was also a recent episode of “Reel Rivals” (fishing show on the Weather Channel) where one of the other boat’s mates hid a few bananas on his competitor’s boat.
After a full two hours of not getting a single bite, the captain’s girlfriend discovered that someone had hidden bananas in the hatch.
Ironically, as soon as the bananas were thrown overboard, the crew hooked up with a swordfish.
You can see the video footage here.
The members at Salt Strong went as far as to tie a bag of bananas over the back of the boat (using one of their kayaks) just to avoid officially having “Bananas on the Boat” when they were spending a month on Little Gasparilla Island and didn’t want to go an entire month without a banana (the bananas were tied down while the person was on the dock so they never actually made it “on the boat”)
But it doesn’t end there…
Some of the most superstitious anglers won’t even allow the following items on their boat simply because it contains the word banana… or even the image of a banana!
Check out what angler Brendon Vanras did to make sure the bite would turn back on. Image source: Instagram
- Banana Boat Sunscreen
- Anything with a banana on the label
- Banana Hammock Speedos (understandable)
- Banana socks like these
Bad Luck Bananas on Board Socks – you can read the full story of how these brought bad luck fishing here:
- Fruit of the Loom apparel
By the way, Fruit of the Loom Does NOT have a banana in it…
Bad Luck Bananas: The Non-Believers
As you have seen, there are countless anglers, fishing guides, and scarred fishermen that swear bananas cause bad luck on boats…
But there are also those anglers that laugh in the face of bananas on board.
We like to call them “The Non-Believers” of the bad luck banana myth.
Here are just a few of them who dare to go fishing with bananas on board the boat…
Like this angler that not only landed a nice bull redfish while eating a banana, but went as far as to throw the peel in the picture to let everyone know he isn’t scared of the bad luck banana myth…
One of the craziest “No Banana Myth Buster” video was by our friends over at Uncut Angling.
Not only did they take bananas out on their boat while fishing for walleye, but they put hundreds of bananas on board (and still managed to catch a few fish)
Check out this young angler who refused to listen to our friend Capt. Krista when she told him “No Bananas on the Boat”.
According to Krista, the bite did get much better after this banana was gone, but she’s just glad the boat didn’t sink!
Or there is Andy from “Fishing with Andy” in Australia below.
He didn’t just take a few bananas out on the boat fishing with him, he literally rubbed bananas all over his rod, reel, line, and lure.
You can watch the full video here (Note: Andy does catch a fish)
Here is a pic of a young angler showing proof it’s possible to land a nice Mahi with a banana on board.
Of course, there is no proof they made it back to shore safely… just saying.
Check this guy out!
you are probably wondering how this angler dressed up in a full-on banana suit on the front of the boat did out on the water that day…
Well, not only did Bahamas Bonefish Guide Burnt Ferguson let his client Erv wear a “Banana Suit” while out fly fishing for bonefish in the Bamahas, but according to their Royal Treatment Fly Fishing blog, the staff at the lodge actually supplied Erv with the hilarious banana suit.
Of course, the big question is what happened out on the water when Erv was wearing the suit?
Check out just one of many bonefish pics below. You can read more at the Royal Treatment Fly Fishing main website.
I think we all can agree that there exists three saltwater fish that will hit your bait regardless if there is a banana on board or not.
But a snook is a different story!
Here is a family on board the Endless Summer Charters that laughs at the banana myth…
There was also the wild video of Andy (from Fishing with Andy) who actually made a fishing rod out of a banana!
And he actually caught a small tarpon with his “Banana Rod”.
Of course, he wasn’t on a boat while he caught it…
You can see the full video here.
Earlier this year, we had an inshore fishing video on our site that went viral from Shallow Water Expeditions.
And in that video, one of the guides (below) is showing the world that he is a Non-Believer in the banana myth.
Note: They did catch a ton of fish with this banana on board, however, there was no evidence to suggest they didn’t run out of gas in the middle of the marsh… just saying.
Angler Andrew letting everyone know that he can still catch a fish with bananas on board.
And although small, it is still a fish…
You can see the full post here.
Here is one captain that moved from the “Superstitious” side all the way to the “I Believe in Bananas on Boats” side that was featured on Sport Fishing Magazine for going against the grind.
The captain with the banana in hand is Miami Captain Jimbo Thomas.
Here is a quote from the Sport Fishing Magazine post:
“Oh yeah,” he acknowledges. “I was one of those guys who practically frisked clients at the dock for bananas or any visual representation of them.”
But after an incident where his boat had an amazing day with bananas on board, he has done a complete 180 and now makes certain that bananas are on board his 42ft boat.
“Believe it or not,” Thomas says, “in the past six months since I’ve become a BIB [a believer in bananas, he explains], I’ve seen catch rates on average nearly double what we had been doing.”
Bad Luck Bananas: The Trailblazers
There is a 3rd and incredibly fast growing segment of anglers known as “The No Bananas On Board Trailblazers”.
These anglers share the following beliefs:
- Bananas can (and will) cause bad luck on boats
- The only thing better than a banana-free boat is declaring to all of the fish and fellow anglers that your boat is free of bananas
- By wearing a “No Bananas on Board” shirt, hat, hoodie, or drinking cup, they not only strike up conversations with fellow anglers wherever they wear the shirt, but the shirt also sends out an invisible beacon to the fish letting the fish know the boat is banana-free.
Here are just a few pics of what happens when an angler throws on a “No Bananas on Board” Microfiber Performance Fishing shirt (or hat)…
Note: You can see all of the color options, special pricing, and other amazing “No Bananas on Board” gear by clicking here now.
Bad Luck Banana Fishing Stories
A “Bad Luck Banana Blog” wouldn’t be complete without some epic boating/fishing stories involving bananas.
Here are just a few that we have found on the web.
“My buddy does quite a bit of fishing in Lake Erie. Never heard of the banana myth and took one. After a long night of slow fishing 10 miles off shore. He started running full speed and about 2 miles into the trip he heard and god awful sound and boat comes the a complete stop. He tore off the lower unit on a rock shoal. He was 50 yards either way he would have missed it.
I’ve always been taught about the myth and have never had them.on my boat, my great uncle did bring a banana on striper charter we were on and we had average fishing and no boat issues. I stay on the safe side and keep bananas off of my boat”
“So the reason I looked this up today is I went fishing today and I brought two bananas for my fiance and I to eat on the 1 hr. Long ride to the landing (special spot) . I ate mine, my fiance at half of hers and brought the other half on the boat. We had already left the dock by the time I found out, so I let it slide. I maintain my 18′ Bay boat meticulously. I just greased the steering the night before.
So we get to our farthest point in the backwaters of Georgetown, SC and my steering Cable just snaps as I am idling through the creek. Instead of fishing I spent the rest of the day wrestling my motor and rigging up a tiller handle made of my Landing net handle and a bunch of zip ties to get 15 miles back to the landing. First time a banana has ever been on my boat. I need some t-shirts!”
~ DJ Conlon
“True story. We had a banner day with our crew of four on striped bass, except for one guy. We all caught our limit but one crew member got skunked! As we were unloading the boat, we noticed he had a banana in his duffel bag. We never really talked about it much after that until 2 years later. Prior to a striper trip on the same boat, I ate a banana on the car trip to the boat…it’s all I had to eat and I violated my own rule that I adhered to for 50 or more years.
We didn’t catch a single striper that day which was highly unusual….we alway caught at least a couple. To try to save the day we took the boat to the inlet Jetty and stemmed the tide while casting near the rocks. As we were fishing a rogue wave hit the boat and pushed us into the jetty and up on the rocks. The hull hit and the props both bent but on the next wave we hit the throttles and went over the jetty to the other side. It was very rough but we were able to limp back to the marina and get the boat hauled. No more Bananas…”
~ Capt. Bill
I owned a small 6 pack fishing charter business for several years and NO bananas is the rule . One story in particular was very interesting . We had five guys fishing in the Atlantic , 4 of the guys were tearing it up . The 5th guy , not even a bite . The 5th guy pulls out a banana and I tell him the perils of having a banana on board , he says hogwash . I told him to eat the banana and throw the peel overboard asap .
He did , and at exactly the time the peel hit the water a 60lb Kingfish hit his line . This has happened more than once , not the Kingfish , but the banana part . I had a crew member that didn’t even allow banana bread or banana oil sun lotion or any other item that may contain banana in it on board.
~ Capt. Steve
LONDON — A seriously injured captain, five passengers, and a crew member were successfully airlifted from a storm-stricken cargo ship off the Irish coast Saturday, a day after a previous attempt was called off amid powerful winds.
A Royal Navy helicopter rescued the captain of the Horncliff, which ran into trouble Friday in heavy seas off the Scilly Islands. British coast guard said weather in the area, about 200 miles south of Ireland, had since eased.
The captain was suffering from serious spinal injuries and was taken to a hospital in Treliske, west England, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said. One of the passengers and the crew member were less seriously hurt.
The Coast Guard said the refrigerated ship was ferrying bananas and other fruit from the Caribbean to the English port of Dover when it was caught in a fierce storm that washed some 90 containers overboard. They said the vessel, which is flying under a Liberian flag, suffered some damage but was in no danger of sinking.
~ Associated Press
All stories (minus the last from the AP) came from the following blog: https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/top-5-myths-no-bananas-board-fishing-boat/
So are bananas bad luck on boats? In particular, are they bad luck while fishing?
As you can probably tell from above, it really all depends on who you ask…
And what we have found is that there are THREE distinct camps in regards to bananas on board boats.
- There is a group of anglers that will swear bananas can sink a boat and won’t let a banana anywhere near their boat…
- There is a group of anglers that purposely brings bananas on boats for good luck…
- And then there are the Trailblazers that wear shirts declaring “No Bananas on Board” just to fend off negative forces and bad luck…
What is for certain is that anglers are some of the most superstitious people out there when it comes to their fishing, and a bad day of fishing is certain to be blamed on something besides just bad luck (or lack of skill).
And with all of the crazy banana stories out there, it’s tough to blame them…
For me, I’m taking the way of the Trailblazers with my “No Bananas on Board” shirt.
Hope you enjoyed this blog, and make sure to head over to the Salt Strong Shop Store and check out all of the amazing “No Bananas on Board” gear here.
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