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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story, the Buzz Book, the board book, the Step into reading book, the pop-up book or the Jigsaw book.

“I want to fish."
"Engines don't go fishing."
"Silly stick-in-the-muds!”
―Thomas and James

Thomas Goes Fishing is the twelfth episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Tank Engine Thomas Again.


"Engines don't go fishing."

Along his branch line, Thomas often looks forward to the sight of the river, and the people that fish there. He often wants to stay and watch, but his driver will not let him, wondering what the Fat Controller would say if they fell behind schedule. Whenever Thomas meets another engine, he shares with them his longing to fish, but they all say that "Engines don't go fishing," which he does not take seriously.

One day, Thomas arrives at the junction to find the water column is out of order, to his annoyance. Thomas is thirsty, so his crew decides to fetch water from the river instead. The crew finds an old bucket and rope and they hurry to the bridge. Once there, they lower the bucket down to the river. Unfortunately, the bucket has five holes and the water leaks out fast, so they have to hurry and pour it into Thomas' tank before it drains out. They repeat this several times until at last Thomas' thirst is quenched.

Before long, Thomas develops a sudden pain in his boiler. Steam rushes from his safety valve, and Thomas is alarmed that he may burst. The crew dampens the fire and they struggle on to Ffarquhar. Annie and Clarabel are uncoupled and Thomas, still aching, limps onto a siding while the guard phones an inspector and the Fat Controller. Workmen put signs saying "DANGER KEEP AWAY" all around Thomas. The Fat Controller and the inspector arrive and console Thomas over the situation. The driver explains what happened, and the inspector determines that the feed pipe is blocked.

When the inspector looks inside Thomas' tank, he notices something then climbs down and asks the Fat Controller to take a look in the tank as well. The Fat Controller is shocked at what he sees; they both agree that it was fish and deduce that they were collected in the process of filling the tank. Thomas is aghast at the fact there are fish swimming in his tank. The Fat Controller jokes that Thomas got to go fishing after all, but as fish do not suit him they must be removed at once. The crewmen carefully fish them out with instructions from the Fat Controller and afterwards they have a meal of fish and chips. The Fat Controller hopes that Thomas has learned his lesson, to which Thomas replies that he now understands why engines do not go fishing; it is too uncomfortable and he reverses towards Annie and Clarabel.




  • This story is Wilbert and Christopher Awdry's favourite.
  • Stock footage from the previous episode and Thomas and the Trucks as well as a deleted scene from Thomas' Train is used.
  • The events were referenced in the fourth series episode, Fish.
  • This is the first episode of a few things:
    • The first episode to have the same title in both the UK and US.
    • The first episode to not be dubbed in Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
    • The first episode to introduce Thomas' horrified/anguished face.
    • The first episode where an engine suffers from pain as well as the first episode to feature a serious dreadful experience for an engine.
  • The episode can be seen in the Japanese game, Magical Adventure.
  • In 2010, Thomas' aghast face, also known as the infamous "O" face, when the Fat Controller asks the inspector if he saw fish, along with the musical note that went with the shot, became an internet meme.
  • This was the last episode to air on Thursdays on 22nd December 1988 and also the final episode to air in 1988 before airing the other remaining episodes on Mondays from 9th January to 22nd May 1989.
  • This episode was never released on VHS and DVD in South Korea.
  • During the second half of the episode, when Thomas is uncoupled from his coaches and struggles onto the siding, a remixed sadder version of his theme song plays. This is basically his theme song combined with the Breakdown train theme to give a depressing vibe in respect of the serious situation that the episode shows.


  • Some of the gold paint on James' dome is faded.
  • In one scene, Annie and Clarabel are facing the wrong way.
  • The old bucket is said to have five holes, but a close-up shot of the bucket shows an extra one. Also, no water is seen leaking in the next two shots.
  • When the bucket is lifted from the river, the water is shown to be brown and muddy. However, when the water is poured into Thomas' tank, the water appears to be clean.
  • When Thomas begins to feel a pain in his boiler, he passes by the spot he ends up stopping in.
  • Thick pencil marks are visible on the "DANGER KEEP AWAY" signs.
  • The audio clip of the Fat Controller saying "Mmm" was placed on the M&E track instead of the dialogue track, as can be heard on some prints of the original "Volume 1" Guild Home Video release. As a result, the George Carlin narration and all international versions have this audio clip in the background.
  • When the men are first seen with the "DANGER" signs, the red lining around Thomas' number is peeling away.
  • The narrator says they put the signs in front and behind Thomas, but in one shot of Thomas, a sign that is supposed to be behind him is on the left side (viewers' right) of him.
  • When the Fat Controller and the inspector are looking in Thomas' tank, the light pole behind Thomas is missing.
  • In the restored version, studio equipment can be seen when Thomas says "Bother! I'm thirsty!" and when the inspector looks inside Thomas' tank.
  • When Thomas puffs on to the siding, steam continues to vent from the tracks even after he leaves, but in the next shot, it all disappears. Later, when the inspector clambers up to check Thomas' tanks, Thomas abruptly stops hissing steam, but when the inspector comes down, he is hissing steam again and once the Fat Controller climbs up, the steam vanishes. Then, when the Fat Controller asks Thomas' driver how the fish got there, the steam reappears. Throughout all of this, the hissing sound continues even when Thomas is not letting off steam.
  • When Thomas is at Elsbridge, the siding usually seen at the water column is not there, except in the close-up of the out of order sign. When it is seen, it ends in the grass.
  • There is a tiny hole in Thomas' smokebox when the Inspector looks into his tank.
  • When the bucket is pulled in and out of the water, the string attached to it leading into Thomas' cab is visible.
  • When Thomas got a boiler pain, he is wearing Percy's tired face mask in four shots.
  • In the Welsh dub, only one of the "DANGER KEEP AWAY" signs is translated into Welsh, while the others remain printed in English.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 托马斯去钓鱼
Croatian Tomica Ide u Ribolov
Czech Tomáš na Rybách
Danish Thomas på en Fisketur
Dutch Thomas Gaat Vissen
Finnish Tuomas Veturi Kalassa
French Thomas Va à la Pêche
German Thomas geht angeln
Greek Ο Τόμας Πηγαίνει για Ψάρεμα
Hebrew תומס הולך לדוג
Hungarian Thomas Halászni Megy
Icelandic Tommi fara veiða
Italian I Trenini Non Vanno a Pescare!
Japanese トーマスとさかなつり
Korean 물고기 소동
Norwegian Thomas på Fisketur
Polish Tomek Jedzie na Ryby
Romanian Thomas Se Duce la Pescuit
Romansh Tumasch va a pestgar
Russian Паровозы не ловят рыбу
Serbian Tomas na Pecanju
Slovak Thomas Ide na Rybačku
Slovenian Tomaž Gre na Ribolov
Swedish Thomas på Fisketur
Turkish Thomas Balık Tutmaya Gidiyor
Welsh Tomos yn Pysgota

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Troublesome Trucks and 8 Other Stories



  • James Learns a Lesson and Other Stories (Ringo Starr's dub)
  • Thomas Gets Tricked and Other Stories (George Carlin's dub 1995 release)
  • The Early Years (UK dub)

DVD Packs


DVD Boxsets








  • Thomas the Tank Engine 2 (Scandinavian VHS/DVD)







DVD Packs







  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4



Video Games