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Bonefish Camp

Here's the spot if you are looking for that salty piece of land. Fly lists, trip reports and tidbits of good travel information can be found here in Bonefish Camp.

Come, Mister tally man, tally me Bananas

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It has been long held that boats and bananas are not a very good combination when it comes to luck. Anglers have especially picked up on this superstition and many skippers prohibit even sunscreen named for this tropical fruit aboard their vessels. Legend has it that banana boats plying the waters of the Caribbean and other waters around the world would be plagued by many maladies caused by the presence of bananas in the ship’s hold. Venomous creatures having stowed away amongst the fruit  wandered the decks once the ship was at sea causing crew and passengers to swear off these seemingly harmless snacks.

I’ve been blessed to lead a mostly banana free life. Having declared myself allergic to this silly looking creation at a young age, and in doing so I have avoided any of the bad luck issues caused by bananas. A banana allergy is not as popular or trendy as the gluten variety, it nevertheless serves me well.

While in Mexico chasing Tarpon last year it was brought to my attention that someone had been hiding bananas in the gear bag of a fellow angler, and the culprit was relentless in his efforts to unhinge his target. A formal inquiry was avoided as the trip came to a close without the identity of the protagonist being revealed, yet the scars remained on the psyche of the banana victim.

Fast forward one year and I had gathered another crew to head off on an adventure to South Andros Island, Bahamas. Three members of this group had been with me in Mexico, one being the hapless victim while another being under suspicion of being the Mad Banana Tagger.

Now it should be told that Erv is not your average victim. A retired lawyer, angler, semi-pro Mexican wrestler and part-time animal impersonator, he can hold his own in a battle of wits. He is comfortable in his own skin and firm in his beliefs that luck has little to do with the path we walk on this earth. Yet even he is not one to tempt fate by sailing off with a banana.

To avoid scandal and the chance that Erv would once again fall afoul of the insidious banana bandit I had him teamed with me to share a boat in an effort to keep an eye on him. It did help that the supply boat was long overdue and there were no bananas on the island.

The trip started well as Erv and I managed some good results on the flats even under poor conditions. The Bonefish were plentiful and the weather, although miserably wet, did not dampen our spirits. We enjoyed our time on the water without any concerns of bananas or bad luck. Two days into the trip the weather turned beautiful and sunshine blessed us as the winds dropped to a gentle breeze. Life was good.

Back at the lodge Erv had struck up a friendship with the kitchen staff and treated them to an original poem after the evening meal. The gals seem truly touched by his efforts and young Jasmine asked if he would honor them by wearing a Bahamian good luck charm if they brought it to him in the morning. He promised to do so and went off to bed in anticipation of what the morning would bring.

As daylight filtered across the flat in front of the lodge we gathered for our morning meal before heading off to fish. Erv sat with his breakfast of pancakes and eggs untouched, awaiting the charm that would bring him untold success on the water. What would it be?

Like an angel appearing from nowhere, Jasmine stood next to Erv at the table with his new good luck charm. Erv turned to see what she held. In a instant his face lost it’s expression of wonder replacing it with one of shear terror. In her arms she cradled a full size Chiquita Banana suit. One size fits all. Dutifully, Erv put it on.

With Bonefish guide Burnt Ferguson on the poling platform, the giant banana took his place on the bow as the boat pointed into the sun. Only seconds passed before Burnt called out a school of fish at the 1 o’clock position. A single cast and the Banana Man was fast into a screaming hot Bonefish. I bailed out of the boat with my camera to record this historic moment and watched as Erv and Burnt brought the fish to hand then released it. Erv popped back on the bow and soon found himself attached to another fish. I continued to photograph the action, then slid back into the boat to congratulate him on his busting of the banana curse.

It was my turn on the bow now as Erv sat and relived the Bonefish battles pondering the silliness of his Bananaphobia. He could hardly wait to tell Jasmine and Kathy of his accomplishment with their banana talisman. Burnt commented as he pushed the boat that CNN would love this story or maybe the BBC. Erv wondered out loud where the girls could have possibly found a banana suit on an island in the Bahamas. The guide and giant banana started singing Harry Belafonte’s "Day O," calling for the tally man to tally their bananas.

I scanned the water ahead and prepared to cast at a fish moving to the left from the mangroves. Speaking to no one in particular, but loud enough for all to hear I smiled and said, “Best 35 bucks I’ve ever spent.”




Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till de morning come
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan' go home

A beautiful bunch o' ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day...
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day O from David Gilchrist - 4G Productions on Vimeo.


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