Because when the fish aren’t biting, it’s the music that matters.
A surprising amount of time and research has been spent on the web over the last few years trying to determine what are the greatest fishing songs.
Now, there’s two ways to view this. Are we merely talking about music that one plays on the boat while angling about – which could be virtually any song ever recorded – or are we specifically talking about songs about fishing?
For the purposes of this list, we think the song needs to have fishing in its title, and be about fishing. Therefore, Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” (Also a hit by Talking Heads) doesn’t qualify despite its presence on many fishing song lists. Green is talking about going to the river, to “drop me in the water,” but it’s never clear what’s getting dropped in the water: him, a lure or live bait.
Below we offer up our candidates for the list. There are some real gems here, and the actual song behind one of the most famous TV shows of all times (See under: Andy Griffith). Now, one or two of these may not actually be about fishing for fish (See under: G. Love) but it’s still about fishing.
‘Gone Fishin’ – Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong
Sample Lyrics: Gone fishin’. . .see him snoozin’ by a brook/Gone fishin’. . .didn’t even bait his hook/There’s his hound dog by his side fleas are bitin’ at his hide/He won’t scratch ’em he’s to tired he ain’t got no ambition/Gone fishin’. . .learnin’ fishin’ worms to swim/I’m wishin.…
‘Talking Fishing Blues’ – Woody Guthrie
Sample Lyrics: I went down to the fishing hole/And I set down with my fishing pole/Somethin’ grabb’d my hook and it got my bait/And jerked me out in the middle of the lake
‘Fishin Blues’ – Taj Mahal
Sample Lyrics: Many fish bites if ya’ got good bait/Here’s a little tip that I would like to relate/Many fish bites if ya’ got good bait/I’m a goin fishin’, Yes I’m goin’ fishin/And my baby goin’ fishin’ too.
‘John the Fisherman’ – Primus
Sample Lyrics: When he was young you’d not find him doing well in school/His mind would turn unto the waters/Always the focus of adolescent ridicule/He has no time for farmer’s daughters/Alienated from the clique society/A lonely boy finds peace in fishing.
The Fishin’ Hole – Andy Griffith
Sample Lyrics: Well now, take down your fishing pole and meet me at the fishing hole/We may not get a bite all day but don’t you rush away/What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skipping stones/You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade a-setting in the shade.
‘Blue Marlin Blues’ – George Strait
Sample Lyrics: I got the blue marlin blues/First one off the dock, long before dawn/Headed to the blue water, won’t take long/A box full of ballyhoo, rigged just right/Still hurtin’ from that party last night
‘Fisherman Blues’ – The Waterboys
Sample Lyrics: I wish I was a fisherman/Tumblin’ on the seas/Far away from dry land/
And it’s bitter memories/Castin’ out my sweet line/With abandonment and love/
No ceiling bearin’ down on me/Save the starry sky above
‘Bad Day of Fishin’ – Billy Currington
Sample Lyrics: Didnt catch a damn thing / Guess you could say we took a lickin’ / Tonight’s fish fry is gonna taste like chicken/But we did just fine, if I do say so myself / You know, a bad day of fishin’ beats a good day of anything else.
‘Fishing Song’ – G. Love
Sample Lyrics: I’m going fishing ’bout a quarter to nine/I see my lil lady and she looks so fine/
aw my lines so tight/I figure tonight I’m gonna get a lucky bite singing
‘Fishin’ in the Dark’ – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Sample Lyrics: You and me going fishing in the dark/Lying on our backs and counting the stars/Where the cool grass grows/Down by the river in the full moon light/We’ll be fallin’ in love in the middle of the night/Just movin’ slow
A Bad Day Fishing – Slim Dusty
Sample Lyrics: Well the fish ain’t bitin’ but the ‘skeeters are/Little buggers gone hidin’, they don’t wanna get caught/Too nice a day to be dangle on the end of a line/But a bad days fishin’ beats a good days work everytime.
‘I’m Gonna Go Fishin’ – Dr. John
Sample Lyrics: Yeah, I’m gonna go fishing, that’s what I’ll do/Think about nothing, not even you/Catch a real big one, a big speckled trout/Snapping in the water, I’ll pull him on out