Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bananas and Karma: The Truth Behind the Myth

Bananas are considered bad luck on a fishing boat by many captains. There is a basis for this belief. It may be a myth, but it can influence your catch.

The bad luck theory of bananas is derived from the misfortune of stevedores unloading banana boats from Central America. The cargo most often contained biting spiders that not only were painful, but occasionally deadly. Stevedores considered it bad luck to be assigned to unloading a banana boat. This is the truth behind the myth.

The effect that this superstition has on anglers is real. As you know from reading the first installment in this fishing clinic, Karma is very important. The thought of bad luck causes an imbalance in the captain and/or crew’s Ying and Yang. The imbalance results in a poor catch. Bananas are bad luck only for those who believe they are bad luck. However, one superstitious crewmember can affect the entire boat’s Karma.

Many boats product fine catches with bananas onboard. Typically these boats are yellow and have names like Chiquita. By over playing the banana myth, Karma on these boats is maintained even with superstitious crewmembers onboard.

The belief that the smell or oil in bananas causes the bad luck is totally false. This theory has been proven incorrect. Captains have used banana skins for lures and caught fish on them.

The impact that the banana myth has had on fishermen highlights the important lesson in The Zen Of Fishing. Maintaining proper balance while fishing requires an uncluttered mind. Superstition clutters the mind, creating imbalance. Clear your mental slate before fishing.

Counter to the bad luck superstition, good luck thoughts can also create imbalance. A favorite lure can often become a good luck charm. Losing that lure creates bad luck. An angler knowing the Zen of fishing will avoid good or bad luck superstitions.

Too many thoughts make being one with the fish more difficult. Remember the primitive brain is the key to harmony. Simplify your thoughts to simplify oneness.

In this respect fishing is much like golf. If you look off the tee towards the out of bounds markers, the chance of hitting the ball out of bounds increases. A good golfer knows to focus on the target, address the ball, clear your mind and hit the ball. Never over think while you are fishing or playing golf.

If you are having difficulty obtaining oneness due to a cluttered mind, remember that a cold beer can provide temporary balance. Do not over use beer! The goal is becoming in touch your inner fish without artificial means.

Now that we have examined the impact of superstition on Zen of fishing, we will turn our attention to the art of fishing. The simple elegance of merging art and Zen is one of the finest lessons any fisherman can experience.

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