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The best fishing songs ever recorded

Fishing has inspired some good music through the years. [ED GODFREY/THE OKLAHOMAN]
Fishing has inspired some good music through the years. [ED GODFREY/THE OKLAHOMAN]

A dozen years ago, I wrote a column about my favorite fishing songs. It needs updating.

The other day a friend of mine emailed me a video of Trace Adkins' new fishing song, "Mind on Fishin'," and I really liked it. Then, I did a little research and discovered there have been several fishing songs that have been recorded since my initial top 10 list.

So, I am ripping up my previous top 10 list and writing a new one.

No. 1: "The Five Pound Bass" by Robert Earl Keen

Lyrics: "Up this morning, before the sun, fixed me some coffee and a honey bun. Jumped in my pickup, gave her the gas, I'm going out to catch a 5-pound bass. Down by the lake side, just off the ramp. All them people sleeping in their fishing camp. Some out in the pup tents. Some out on the grass. They all be dreaming 'bout that 5-pound bass."

The lyrics are spot on. "The Five Pound Bass" was my top song 12 years ago, and it stays on top. There hasn't been a better fishing song recorded. Go ahead. Fight me on this.

Listen to the song here.

No. 2: "Big Whiskers" by Otis Gibbs

Lyrics: "The stories about Big Whiskers just seem to grow. They say he sank three boats and one man drowned. He ate 10-pound bass and gobbled ducks down. Grandpa became the butt of every joke."

This song, released in 2012, tells the story of an old fisherman's lifelong obsession over a monster flathead catfish that has eluded him for years. The singer's grandpa became the town character because no one believed his wild fish stories about Big Whiskers. But who gets the last laugh in the end?

Here's the tune.

No. 3: "I'm Gonna Miss Her" by Brad Paisley

Lyrics: "Well, I love her, but I love to fish. I spend all day out on this lake and hell is all I catch. Today, she met me at the door, said I would have to choose. If I hit that fishin' hole today, she'd be packing all her things and she would be gone by noon. Well, I'm gonna miss her, when I get home."

Paisley recorded another fishing song, "Catch All The Fish," since "I'm Gonna Miss Her" was released, but it doesn't compare. The music video with the Dan Patrick ESPN commentary makes it even better.

Here's the song.

No. 4: "Fishin' Blues" by Taj Mahal

Lyrics: "Here's a little tip I would like to relate. Big fish bites if ya got a good bait. I'm a goin' fishin'. Yes, I'm going fishin' and my baby's going fishin' too."

If I had a fishing show on television, this would be my intro music.

Listen to "Fishin' Blues."

No. 5: "The Fishing Hole," theme to The Andy Griffith Show

Lyrics: "Well, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at the fishin' hole. We may not get a bite all day, but you don't rush away. What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones. You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a settin' in the shade."

Sheriff Andy Taylor did a lot of fishing on "The Andy Griffith Show," but it seems he would always be interrupted by either Barney, Gomer or Goober. There was one time when Andy forgot his fishing license and needed money to pay a fine from the game warden. Andy called Goober, who relayed the story to Barney, who got the idea Andy and Helen Crump needed the money for a marriage license, and well, I could go on and on.

Listen to Andy sing the theme.

No. 6: "Talking Fishing Blues" by Woody Guthrie

Lyrics: "I went down to the fishing hole and I set down with my fishing pole. Something grabbed my hook and it got my bait and it jerked me out in the middle of the lake. Some jump, I got sunk. Baptized on credit."

It's a Woody Guthrie song. Enough said.

Listen to Woody.

No. 7: "Gone Fishin'" by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong

Lyrics: "Gone fishin' by a shady, wady pool. I'm wishin' I could be that kind of fool.'

Bing and Satchmo recorded their version in 1951. The song was later recorded by Pat Boone, Gene Autry and the Manhattan Transfer.

Here's the duet.

No. 8: "Mind On Fishin'" by Trace Adkins

Lyrics: "There might be a few people talking bad about me, when they see that I'm a missin'. But I'd rather be on a lake with my mind on God, than in church with my mind on fishin'."

Adkins, who had a Top 10 country hit in 2011 with another fishing song, "Just Fishin," has recently released a new single that examines the fisherman's dilemma of either going to church on Sunday morning or going fishing.

Hear Adkins' latest single.

No. 9: "Fish and Whistle" by John Prine

Lyrics: "Father forgive us for what we must do. You forgive us and we'll forgive you. We'll forgive each other 'til we both turn blue and we'll whistle and go fishing in the heavens."

A sentimental choice, as the great John Prine died this year of COVID-19.

Listen to the late John Prine.

No. 10: "Bad Day of Fishing" by Billy Currington

Lyrics: "Got up at dawn just to be out on the water. Weather man said hot and gettin' hotter. But he didn't say nothin' bout it rainin' like hell. Oh well, a bad day of fishin' beats a good day of anything else."

Here's the song.

Now, you might wonder how I left a song like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' in the Dark" off my top 10 list. Great song, but you know it really wasn't so much about the fishing in the dark.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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