The Fish Song

If you want to catch a fish,
Then you must go where the fishes swim,
Where the fishes swim.
You can’t sit in the bathtub,
A pole across your knees.
Go where they swim if you want to catch a fish.

If you want to catch a fish,
Then use as bait what they like to eat,
What they like to eat.
You can’t hook them on ice cream
With cherries on the top.
Use bait they like if you want to catch a fish.

If you want to catch a fish,
Then use some line that they cannot break,
That they cannot break.
You cannot use a cheese string
Stretched from your pizza slice.
Use string that’s strong if you want to catch a fish.

If you want to catch a fish,
Then use a net that they can’t slip through,
That they can’t slip through.
You cannot use old stockings
With holes torn in the toes.
Use net that’s right if you want to catch a fish.

If you want to catch a fish,
Then take care that you don’t frighten them,
You don’t frighten them.
You cannot preach loud sermons
Or prance about the boat.
Don’t scare them off if you want to catch a fish.

About This Song:
I wrote this whimsical little song to use as part of the missions emphasis conducted by the Windsor District Baptist Church (northwest of Sydney, Australia) during the 2000 Olympics. It became popular among people there at the church.

Even though the words are humorous and the music playful, the meaning is serious.

Jesus told his disciples to become “fishers of men,” and His followers through the centuries have inherited that responsibility. Sometimes we’ve carried out that task better than other times. I believe the United States would not be in such serious condition now if we’d done a better job of sharing God’s God News with our fellow countrymen.

Looking at the stanzas in sequence, we can’t expect unbelievers to come to church looking for what they need. We have to go to them. Not hard. We live, work, and play among “them.”

We can’t try to attract them with the promise of an easy life–God never promised Christians that–or wealth and power. We are most apt to attract them by our willingness to listen.

And we can’t just start trying to reel them in the first time they show any signs of interest in Christianity. That would be like using line that’s not strong enough.

Trying to get them into the boat–to confess that they’re sinners who want to repent and commit their lives to Jesus–requires care, too.

What sums up many of these points is the idea that we shouldn’t frighten the people we’re witnessing to. We can’t “preach loud sermons” (I think of it as beating them over the head with our Bibles) or “prance about the boat”–berate their current beliefs while trying to show them that Christianity is the only way.

I’m not as good a fisherman as God wants me to be, but this song reminds me of some principles to keep in mind.

What about you? Are you an effective fisherman–or are you one of the fish? How about leaving a comment?

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website,, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,

Links you might be interested in:



About Roger E. Bruner

Seventy-five-year-old Roger E. Bruner is the author and publisher of twenty Christian novels and the writer of more than two hundred Christian songs and choruses, a handful of musical dramas, and a number of shorter works. He sings, plays guitar and bass, and records his original songs in his home studio. He is active in his church's nursing home ministry He also plays bass guitar on the church raise team. Married for seventeen years to Kathleen, he has one grown daughter. Kathleen has two. Roger enjoys reading, moderate exercise, photography and book cover design (he's done all of his own except for Rosa No-Name), playing Snood, making walking sticks, and complaining about the state of the nation while continuing to pray for it.
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