Do not bring bananas on board a fishing boat

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Show me a fisherman or a woman who isn’t superstitious and I’ll show you someone you should never buy a used car from. We all have certain things we do before or during a fishing trip that we may or may not admit to, but if we don’t do them we feel uncomfortable, and if the trip becomes less successful we will blame the lack of these things for our failure.

Let’s put superstition number 1 aside. Bananas!

Just about every saltwater angler I know will ever allow a banana on their boat. Now, no one is born knowing this, so it’s possible that an innocent person could bring a banana on board undetected.

That’s exactly what happened to me in Virginia Beach, not once, but twice. The first time was when we were shooting a segment of my TV show, “Outdoors Virginia.” If you are familiar with “Outdoors Delmarva”, we used the exact same format. I played Captain Willey and a member of the sports team played Andrew Tawes.

In this show, we had two newscasters on board and we were supposed to cross the Chesapeake Bay and fish around the concrete ships off Cape Charles for lake trout (weak). One of the presenters was a very nice gentleman who liked to fish, and the other was a very nice and, of course, beautiful young woman who also liked to fish.

We started our drift and the damsel quickly got to trout as soon as her lure touched bottom. The gentleman, not so much. This continued for several drifts, and as it was very hot, the young woman took off her jacket to reveal a very small swimsuit underneath.

So far, the men on the camera boat have been doing their job without much interest. Once the jacket was off, they developed a lot of interest and started maneuvering the boat to get closer to us. This did not go unnoticed by the young woman, and she told them to back off as they were scaring the fish.

Meanwhile, our gentleman fisherman was not well. He hadn’t caught a single fish yet.

As I said, it was quite warm and he asked me to get him a bottle of water from his cooler. When I opened the cooler, what did I find? You guessed it, a banana! I came out of the cabin with a bottle of water in one hand and the banana in the other.

“What is that?” I screamed.

“A banana,” was his surprised reply.

I then went into a detailed discussion of why bananas bring bad luck on boats and bring bad fishing to those who board them. Then I threw the offending fruit into the Chesapeake Bay. Since we were shooting a TV show, my cameraman, Mike Bilbo, had me rehearse the draw several times.

Once the banana was gone, the gentleman started catching fish. And it is the truth.

The second time was also in Virginia Beach aboard a 24ft Grady6 White that I drove every Saturday and Sunday doing live radio coverage of the bay and ocean. This time I had the outside writer from the Newport News newspaper on board.

We were fishing over a wreck in the ocean, and everyone was catching black bass at a good clip – all but the log guy. He couldn’t catch anything. As everyone on board was involved in the writing in some way or another, we all felt sorry for the poor fellow. Words of sympathy came from our lips until our good friend began to bless us at least three or maybe four generations.

This continued until the newspaper guy opened his lunch bag. Again – bananas. Not one, but at least three. I could not believe it. How could he ignore the curse of the banana? He claimed to have heard of it, but did not believe in such things. Nonetheless, we tore the yellow spell out of him and threw them overboard. Believe it or not, but as the bananas were flying, a little cobia appeared and started banging them with its snout. Everyone on board, except our journalist, broke down. Even he started to believe when the bass suddenly started finding its bait.

As for me, my routine is to use the same aftershave, wrap peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, buy French Apple Tastypies, Wawa coffee, and wear the same belt for 30 years. I eventually had to replace the belt because it kept slipping, and by the time I put on my fishing pliers and took two steps, my pants had fallen around my knees. Nobody wants to see that.

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