Origins of the banana curse [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Origins of the banana curse

Dble Haul
11-15-2005, 11:19 AM
Can somebody explain to me the origins of why it's considered bad luck to bring a banana on a boat? My curiousity is getting the best of me on this topic.


11-15-2005, 11:39 AM
Years and years ago, bananas were handed out to fishing fleets as food for long sea trips. Many times the bananas had black widow nests in them, and many of the fishermen would get bitten and die. Some boats returned with dead crew, some would never return at all.

Back then nobody knew that the black widows could kill you from a little tiny almost painless bite, and some people never knew they were bitten at all, so it seemed that they were cursed.

Dble Haul
11-15-2005, 11:44 AM
Well now, that makes sense. Thanks for the info. :)

11-15-2005, 01:33 PM
These days it may have more to do with having a slippery banana peel on a slippery boat deck... :) Maybe you can explain this for me Mark. For the life of me, I don't know why banana peels are associated with people slipping and falling. Do they have some supernatural force that causes the ground to get super slick wherever they land?

Dble Haul
11-15-2005, 01:48 PM
The inner surface of the peel is what's slick. If a peel is on the ground with the outer side up and the inner side in contact with the ground, it can be quite a hazard. This of course depends on what type of surface it's laying on, but smooth surfaces are the worst. So when someone steps on that peel, there is virtually no friction and a slip and fall may follow.

How's that for a discussion on a flyfishing board? :tongue:

11-15-2005, 05:30 PM
I'll second the spider thing but I don't know that it was a black widow.

11-16-2005, 08:37 AM
I'll second the spider thing but I don't know that it was a black widow.
I was a little skeptical of that too. I would find it more likely to be a species of banana spider causing it, but that has two problems. First of all, banana spider bites are rarely fatal. Painful and uncomfortable yes, but deadly, very rarely. Secondly, banana spiders are BIG and I doubt anybody would miss them that easily. Sure, you could get bitten by one that's hiding in your bananas, but you'd be sure to feel it, and I'm betting you'd see the spider after it bit you too.

The black widow part of this story has issues though too. Black widow spiders are generally found in dark, sheltered places. They're not normally found in bananas, but they could very well be found on a boat. Maybe the bananas were stored in locations where black widows commonly nested? Another problem is that black widows aren't best known as tropics spiders, preferring more northern latitudes such as the southeast US.

It's also possible that the spiders in question are violin or recluse spiders. They're quite frequently found in and around human habitation, and their bites can be fatal. They're widespread worldwide too, including in banana growing areas.

In the end, the curse of the banana may very well be attributed to only one ship or a very small occurrence involving very few people that turned into a legend. The fiction may be much greater than the fact. :)

11-16-2005, 10:25 AM
Actually the banana saga goes back a few hundred years in Europe. It is said that couples in love got promiscuous in the spring with the warmer weather. Often along a romantic public venue, couples need to find privacy. Often times, long boat were available along most European rivers. Couples would forget about the balance of the boat in their heat of passion, thus flipping the dam thing over. After getting wet in such cold water, the event was now mute, at least for the male.

Hence the term, be careful and donít bring your banana on board. It has to do with fishing, but not the intended kind we do. :hihi:

11-17-2005, 07:52 AM
Where did you hear that origin Ray? I've never heard that one, and there's nothing I can find about it. My version can be found in many places.

11-17-2005, 12:39 PM
Scott.... This information probably predates the information age of computers. Growing up in Poland as a child, we would listen to your parents educate us at home. Maybe thats the reason why you couldn't find any documentation.

Some modern day language slang has been derived from this age ole' century European myth. Iím sure all of us have heard:

Donít rock the boatÖbaby!
What ever floats your boat?
If this boats a rock.íinÖ. donít come a knocking.

Now you know the syntax of where it actually originated.

JimW.....Me think I've got another one hooked.

11-17-2005, 01:20 PM
One just has to believe that a young couple stole onto a merchant's banana boat somewhere in Europe to have a quickie and found the stored bananas to their liking. Little did they know that all that rocking of the banana boat really upset the many dangerous types of spiders that had fled the tropics in search of a better life. Being fearfull that they would be sent back to their home land they had no other options but to fatally wound the lovers with venomus bites. Once the young lovers felt the deep pain of the bite they jumped up to flee but bananas being very very slippery the lovers kept falling down only to be bitten again and again. Hours later when the merchant came down to his boat to do a little fishing before unloading the bananas he found the two dead lovers who were bitten from head to toe by ugly ugly spiders of all different sizes.
This is the whole truth, now you have the rest of the story. :hihi:

11-17-2005, 01:37 PM
:hihi: :chuckle: :eek: :tongue:

11-17-2005, 02:13 PM
There's no coffee out the nose smiley on this board, please use your imagination.

TJ - You've got to watch out for these guide types :wink: Good thread man.

11-17-2005, 03:57 PM
JimW.....Me think I've got another one hooked.

Now where did I put that pesky surgeon's knot tool? :lildevl:

11-18-2005, 01:24 AM
TJ - You've got to watch out for these guide types :wink: Good thread man.
I'm starting to realize that... :cool:

11-18-2005, 07:32 AM
Sorry about that Scott.... My bad! Just couldn't resist the spoof.

The other day I asked my wife....Dear, "How do I set the controls on the washing machine to wash a sweatshirt."

She said, "What does it say on the shirt?"

Honey, " It says, Cape Cod."

11-18-2005, 12:20 PM
There are lots of theories about this supestition. One that makes sense to me is that bananas produce ethylene gas which hastens the ripening process of many fruits and vegitables. Having bananas in the hold of your boat can cause your produce to rot. I have also heard that the boats that were used to ship bananas throughout the Americas "Banana Boats" were not sea worthy and were often overloaded resulting in a large number of ship wrecks.