Mossel Bay | Garden Route

The Banana Curse and Other Mossel Bay Fishing Superstitions

Unravelling the Mysteries of the Waters

Mossel Bay fishing superstitions feature image of a pirate getting thrown overboard holding a banana
AI generated image of a scruffy pirate thrown overboard, clutching a banana

Fishing, an activity that intertwines skill, patience, and the unpredictability of nature, has cultivated a rich tapestry of superstitions and folklore among anglers for centuries. The Mossel Bay fishing community is certainly not immune to these superstitions.

If you’ve been deep sea fishing for long enough you’re bound to know that it is very bad luck to bring a banana on board. But why? Let’s dive into the intriguing world of fishing beliefs.

The Infamous Banana Curse

At the heart of fishing folklore lies the notorious “Banana Curse.” For centuries, anglers, including our Salt Life Fishing team, have avoided bringing bananas on their boats, firmly believing that this seemingly innocuous fruit invites bad luck. The origins of this superstition are as diverse as the currents of the ocean.

  • Some attribute it to the belief that bananas release ethylene gas, which causes other fruits to ripen and spoil faster. In the close confines of a fishing boat, the rapid spoilage of vital nourishment caused by bananas would have been disastrous in the days before modern food preservation methods.
  • Bananas themselves may spoil quickly and attract insects or rodents, which could damage the fishing equipment or the boat itself.
  • Bananas may have been associated with ships that carried tropical diseases or slave traders in the past.
  • Bananas may be too filling and reduce the appetite of the fishermen, which could affect their performance or morale.
  • Bananas may have a slippery peel, which could cause accidents or injuries on the boat.
  • Others link the superstition to historical events, citing instances where boats carrying bananas met with misfortune. 


Whether these stories are purely coincidental or have a more profound impact on superstition, remains a matter of debate.

Superstitions Beyond Bananas

Bananas might take centre stage in fishing superstitions, but they’re not the only belief that has stood the test of time. These superstitions are deeply ingrained in the fishing community, serving as cautionary practices to ensure a successful catch and safe journey. Here are a few more:


Whistling on a boat is considered bad luck as it’s believed to summon strong winds and storms.

Saying Certain Words

Mentioning certain words like “shark” or “pig” during a fishing trip is believed to bring bad luck or scare away fish. 

Women on Board

This tradition has thankfully faded away in most countries and cultures. Especially considering that we know plenty of women that can give the men a run for their money on a fishing trip. Many years ago, it was considered a harbinger of bad luck having a woman on board. However, these days, thousands of women worldwide are a vital part of the fishing community. The change reflects the evolving nature of fishing traditions and the inclusivity within the angling community.

A couple of our guests showing off their kob catches

Anglers Rituals and Traditions

Beyond superstitions, fishermen also uphold rituals and traditions, passed down through generations, to ensure a successful and safe journey.

Champagne Offerings

Before setting sail, some anglers pour champagne into the water as an offering. This gesture seeks the favour of the sea gods, ensuring a prosperous and safe journey. The effervescence mirrors the anticipation of a successful catch.

Coin Tossing

The act of tossing coins into the water is a symbolic tribute for good luck. Each splash becomes a pact with the aquatic realm, a plea for a bountiful harvest from the depths.

Tales of legendary catches, often shrouded in mystery and exaggeration, form an integral part of fishing folklore. These stories, shared around campfires or passed down from elders, add an element of excitement and wonder to the fishing experience.

AI image of fisherman pouring champagne into the water
AI generated image of fisherman pouring champagne into the water

Sea Monsters and Myths

Various cultures worldwide have myths and legends about sea monsters or colossal fish lurking in the depths. These stories contribute to the allure and sense of adventure associated with fishing, fueling the imagination of anglers as they cast their lines.

Here are a few intriguing sea monster legends.

The Kraken

AI generated image of The Kraken
AI generated image of The Kraken

One of the most famous sea monster myths originates from Scandinavian folklore—the Kraken. Described as a colossal cephalopod or a giant squid, the Kraken was said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. According to legends, it could pull entire ships beneath the waves with its immense tentacles, dragging sailors to their watery demise. Though often dismissed as a mythical creature, modern scientific discoveries of colossal squids in the depths of the ocean have fueled speculation about the potential inspiration behind this myth.

The Loch Ness Monster

While not directly related to fishing, the legend of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland has gained worldwide attention. Believed to inhabit Loch Ness, this mysterious creature, often described as a long-necked aquatic being resembling a plesiosaur, has sparked numerous sightings and investigations. Although largely considered a product of folklore and hoaxes, enthusiasts and researchers continue to explore the depths of Loch Ness in search of this elusive creature.

AI generated image of The Loch Ness Monster
AI generated image of The Loch Ness Monster

The Leviathan

In various mythologies and religious texts, references to the Leviathan, a monstrous sea creature, have emerged. Often depicted as a colossal serpent or a sea dragon, the Leviathan symbolises chaos and the untamed power of the sea. Stories across cultures speak of sailors encountering this behemoth, which could capsise ships with a single flick of its tail. The Leviathan represents the primal fear and respect ancient civilisations held for the unpredictable and vast expanses of the ocean.

Sea Serpents

Throughout history, tales of sea serpents have circulated among sailors. Descriptions vary, but these creatures are generally portrayed as long, snake-like beasts, sometimes with multiple heads or fins resembling those of a dragon. Sightings of sea serpents have been reported across different oceans, often accompanied by dramatic encounters involving attacks on ships or eerie sightings gliding through the waves. Many of these reports have been attributed to misidentifications of known marine animals or the play of light on the water’s surface.

These myths and legends, while often dismissed as mere folklore, speak to the human fascination with the mysteries of the sea. They reflect our ancient attempts to comprehend the vast, unexplored depths and the fearsome creatures that might inhabit them, adding an element of wonder and mystique to the world’s oceans.

Disembarking our blog

Leave your bananas at home on a Mossel Bay fishing trip!

Fishing superstitions and folklore add an intriguing layer of mystique and tradition to an already captivating pursuit. While some may dismiss these beliefs as mere superstitions, they serve as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and camaraderie among anglers. As the fishing community evolves, these superstitions persist, woven into the fabric of an activity that combines skill, patience, and a touch of mystery beneath the waves.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newcomer to the world of fishing, respecting these traditions and superstitions might just add a bit of charm and excitement to your next fishing expedition. But as for bananas? Well, it might be best to leave them off the boat, just in case.

Our deep sea fishing boat #Instagator
Our deep sea fishing boat #Instagator - NO BANANAS ALLOWED ON BOARD