Fishermen Have No Bananas Today; Superstition, No Matter How Fruity, Is Common Belief among Anglers

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON SCHNEIDER, The Times-Union

They have $150,000 boats with $20,000 engines.

They use six different reels and radar that can pinpoint a small school of baitfish 200 feet under water.

But it's all for naught if there happens to be a banana on board, at least according to those doing the fishing at the BellSouth Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament.

"There are no bananas on my boat," said Russell Stewart, who landed a 45.45-pound kingfish on Thursday. "I don't care if it's Banana Boat suntan lotion or banana-nut muffins, it's going overboard."

Stewart's not alone in his dislike for bananas.

It's a commonly held superstition among fishermen that having bananas on board is bad luck, but it is not the only superstition that fishermen cling to.

How coffee is drunk, what hat or shirt is worn and even certain ways of tying shoelaces can all play a role in having a successful day out on the water if you are a believer.

"Superstition plays a big role in this whole thing," GJKT participant Shane Morris said. "It's all really luck. Everything is luck, but if any superstition you think can help you, it helps."

On Thursday, Morris trotted out a new hat for the first day of the tournament and since he was the one who landed a 24.75-pound kingfish, his hat became the lucky charm on his boat, Out of Line.

At least Morris and his fishing partners have a reason to name Morris' hat the "lucky hat." Most people who follow the bananas-are-bad-luck belief don't even know why bananas are considered an ominous fruit.

"I've heard it since I was kid so I don't do it," Stewart said. "I don't know why we can't have them, it's just that was what I've been told and it seems that's what everyone's been told, so that's just the way it is."

Not everyone is a believer. …