When Marcela, a waitress here at Crocodile Bay, asked guest Casey Ball if he wanted bananas in his pancakes, he looked at her like she was crazy. Apparently, neither Marcela nor our Food and Beverage management, have heard that bananas, on a boat or in any form, are considered bad luck. This includes products with banana as an ingredient or with the word banana in the name like Banana Boat Sun Products and Banana Republic clothing. Fruit of the Loom labels have come under attack and have been ripped off underwear even though their label has an assortment of fruit but no banana.
The origin of this superstition goes back to the 1700’s when bananas were shipped out of the Caribbean to the north. Depending on who you ask, the reasoning might be that the bananas ripened fast and then caused other food products onboard to spoil. Some say it was that dangerous critters like snakes, spiders, rats, tarantulas, scorpions, and other vermin would catch a ride on the banana bunches, and then wreak havoc on the ship once under way. Another theory is the boats had to travel too fast to catch fish for food because of the short life of a ripening banana. This surely was before trolling methods were perfected.
Hall of Fame MLB Legend Wade Boggs at Crocodile Bay Resort
Superstition is not limited to fishing. My good friend and Hall of Fame baseball great, Wade Boggs, fishes here at least once a year. When he played ball he always ate fried chicken before a game and took batting practice at the exact same time every day before a game. One time an opposing team stopped the clock on the scoreboard and Wade stepped up to the plate a couple minutes late. This upset his psyche so bad he went 0/4 at bat that evening. After that he did not count on the clock on the opposing scoreboard.
People who study what goes on in our brains suggest that how each person reacts to a superstition is how bad it will affect them. What happens for example is when someone suddenly discovers bananas onboard and they panic. Their concentration is on all the bad that is going to happen and not on what they are actually doing….. fishing. According to the more enlightened, this throws your Ying and Yang all out of whack and upsets your good karma.
Jeff Taleff, Casey’s fishing partner, and I think a little differently about the banana on a boat thing. Jeff recalled a fishing trip to the Florida Keys where they discovered a banana on the boat and didn’t catch anything. “I didn’t catch any fish that trip but on that trip I met Angelica.” Angelica later became his wife and today they have 3 beautiful daughters who most assuredly will become great anglers.
In my case, I blew the banana theory right out of the water. Not to say I don’t have my own superstitions. In fact if I travel anywhere near a certain Caribbean island, every rooster goes into hiding. My first job in Costa Rica was running the Rio Colorado Lodge for Archie Fields.
Barbara Fields, the boss’s 11 year old daughter, and I were fishing an area that had lots of machaca, a toothy fish and distant relative to the piranha. I heard they sometimes feed on fruit that falls from trees in the jungle so I put on a piece of banana for bait. When she landed her fish I noticed it was big so we looked it up in the International Game Fish Association record book and discovered her 9 lb 8 oz machaca was indeed a world record. We sent the fish to Gilca tackle store in San Jose who at the time was the only IGFA representative.
A week later, Barbara’s 12 year old brother Roberto, came to the lodge to fish. Same place, same bait, banana. He landed a machaca weighing nearly 12 lbs. When we arrived back at the lodge he immediately got on the phone to tease Barbara and say there was not a place in the record book for her because it now belonged to him. The poor girl was in tears.
I filled out the paper work and sent the fish in a cooler back to San Jose with Roberto to take to Gilcas. Instead, when he got home, he threw the cooler in the kitchen and went out to play with friends. Later their maid looked in the cooler, saw Roberto had brought fish home, pulled a knife out of the drawer and prepared it for the evening meal, negating any chance of making it into the record book. Almost 24 years later, Barbara Fields’ 9 lb. 8 oz. machaca still stands as the official world record caught on a piece of banana.
Casey and Jeff passed 3 days fishing here at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica. Offshore, the experienced Florida anglers had to work hard to muster up one sail, but did better inshore with snapper and roosterfish, taking roosters to 40 lbs.
Brad and Susannah Gemberling had a busy day on the water, landing two sails before coming inshore and bagging a few roosters and then snapper for dinner.
The best bet for action for this report has been inside with nice sized roosterfish and lots of plate-sized to 20 lb snappers. Offshore, we’re waiting for the next wave of marlin and some more tuna action.