Rocks Off never thought we'd say this, but the country eye candy behind "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer," Billy Currington, turned out to be pretty wise. He was smart enough to record the song "Bad Day of Fishin'" anyway, which contains the sage advice "a bad day of fishing beats a good day of anything else."
By that logic, a bad song about fishing beats a good song about anything else. That also turned out to be true. Meanwhile, the guy behind one of the best fishing songs we've heard in a while, Jason Allen's "Goin' Fishin' Today," played Blanco's this past Friday, but he'll be back.
But once Rocks Off cast out a line for worthwhile songs that put a hook in the water, it wasn't long before we were reeling 'em in. We stopped at 15, because you always have to throw a few back.
15. NOFX, "Stranger Than Fishin'": Whatever SoCal punk-rock feud NOFX and Bad Religion had going on about ten or 15 years ago, this song from 2000's Pump Up the Valium can't be a coincidence. Good for a chuckle or two.
14. Kevin Fowler, "Beer, Bait & Ammo": More about the rowdy Texas country singer's angling outfitter of choice than fishing itself, but a man does need dirty books while he's waiting on a bite.
13. Craig Campbell, "Fish": Pardon the horrible pun, but Georgia hot-country newcomer Campbell is probably the last singer to make a splash on the charts with a fishing song when this cut from his debut album reached No. 23 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart last year. However, since Campbell rhymes "fish" with... "enough," we suspect he may be talking about something else entirely.
12. Mike Morazzini, "F-I-S-H-I-N-G": Meet the world's first rapping fisherman. Maybe not, but the Connecticut-based Morazzini has to be the most dedicated to both disciplines, and is no slouch as either a rapper or angler. Proof enough is on his album Angler Talk ("Big Fisherman," "Tyin' Rigs"), and these pictures on his Web site.
11. Darrell Scott, "Pay Lake": Darrell Scott, who wrote the Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone" and Tim McGraw's "Old Town New," is one of Nashville's top behind-the-scenes songwriters (and a favorite of our buddy Lonesome Onry and Mean), but he keeps the ones he really likes for himself. The hale and hearty "Pay Lake," from this past January's Long Ride Home, treats fishing as a contact sport.
10. Ray Stevens, "Too Drunk to Fish": No doubt Jeff Foxworthy's famous "you might be a redneck if..." joke was somehow involved in the country prankster's 1997 song. Still some good advice here: "Never go near the water with a man who's too drunk to fish."
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9. Roger Waters, "4:50 a.m. (Go Fishing)": People who know Waters only as the architect of Pink Floyd The Wall may not know that he one of rock's most serious fisherman, to the point of joking to jambands.com about bringing the production to New Zealand just for the trout. Or maybe he wasn't joking. This song's presence on the album Waters recorded while in the middle of his excruciating extraction from Floyd, 1984's The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking suggests just how therapeutic he finds it.
8. Public Image Limited, "Fishing": This mock-industrial track from 1986's Album has a tenuous connection with anything with scales-related ("crawl back into your dustbin"), but it sure does rock like a motherfucker.
7. The Waterboys: "Fisherman's Blues": The second-best Irish rockers of the '80s, the Waterboys are still kicking but woefully underrated today. The title song from their 1988 album (arguably their best) has some of singer Mike Scott's best poetry: "I wish I was a fisherman, tumblin' on the seas/ Far away from dry land, and its bitter memories."
6. Robert Earl Keen, "Five Pound Bass": Texas country's favorite Aggie always seems to have a shit-eating grin a mile wide every time he plays this lightning-fast bluegrass rave-up. It's so popular we've always suspected Keen's fans might round up a posse if he ever skipped it at a show; luckily there seems to be little danger of that happening.
5. Tab Benoit, "Sac-a-Lait Fishing": Houma, Louisiana native Tab Benoit is one of the best blues guitarists of his generation and turns up in Houston every now and again, so don't miss him the next time that happens. This song from 2007's Power of the Ponchartrain really plays up his Cajun roots.
4. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "Fish In the Dish": If there's anything tastier than a fish you catch yourself, it might be this track from the Brooklyn retro-soul rulers' 2005 album Naturally.
3. Brad Paisley, "I'm Gonna Miss Her": Brad Paisley writes so many fishing songs he should have been born with gills. The sly "I'm Gonna Miss Her," in which a man has to choose between fishing or a woman and does the right thing, is one of the songs that cemented Paisley's stardom, topping the country singles chart and hitting No. 29 on the Hot 100 in 2002. Not about fishing, though: Paisley's "Bigger Fish to Fry."
2. Sheba Potts-Wright, "Private Fishing Hole": Released on her 2006 album Big Hand Man, this is one of those after-midnight adult party records that puts the blue in rhythm and blues: "I don't let just anybody fish in my hole/ You gotta be a real good fisherman/ And have a real good pole." Straight-up nasty.
1. Andy Griffith, "The Fishin' Hole": Yes, there are lyrics. "Now take down your fishin' pole, and meet me at the fishin' hole/ We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away," bolted to prolific '60s TV composer Earle Hagen's earworm of a melody.
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FIVE MORE MINNOWS
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Fishin' In the Dark" Woody Guthrie, "Talking Fishing Blues" Peggy Lee, "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" G. Love, "The Fishing Song" Taj Mahal, "Fishin' Blues"