An Explanation of Fishing
Unlike other crafts, fishing requires somewhat more interaction in order to achieve the (usually) desired results.
To start fishing, one needs to equip a fishing rod, and a bait or lure. When a character is positioned close enough to water where fishing is possible, the Fish command will become available. It will appear under Trade, replacing Check when targeting oneself. The /fish text-command can also be used, which means it can be entered into a macro as well.
 The Act
After the line has been cast, it will take around 15 to 20 seconds (varies somewhat depending upon equipment, phase of the moon, time of day, key items, etc.), something may or may not be hooked, provided the area has fish, and that the bait/lure being used is able to attract them. When something catches the hook, a bar indicating the stamina/HP of the fish, item, or monster will appear somewhat above the middle of the screen. Arrows indicating the direction to pull will also appear, being either gold or silver in colour.
Using either the left/right movement keys/buttons or the mouse (when using the mouse, the system works by pressing and holding the left mouse button, and dragging the cursor anywhere on the left/right half of the game area), players need only pull once towards the direction indicated by the arrows; pulling towards the opposite direction (or while the rod is in the middle position) will result into the prey regaining stamina. The direction and arrows remain unaltered by the positioning of the view.
Once the bar has been completely depleted, the catch may be reeled in by using the Enter key or the confirm button. Trying to reel in a catch before its stamina is completely, or at least mostly depleted, will usually result into a snapped line and/or loss of the catch. It is possible to reel in catches with some stamina left, but it may have an effect on the chances of the line breaking, or the catch being lost due to the lack of skill. At any point, the player may give up and reel in the line by pressing the Esc key or the cancel button. Pressing either of the left or right mouse buttons, the Enter key, or the confirm button before anything catches the line will have the cancel effect as well.
The time is limited for reeling in a catch. This time varies primarily on the type of rod being used, and in some rarer cases, the bait and prey. When one receives the message: “You don't know how much longer you can keep this one on the line...”, it's usually an indication of approximately 7 more seconds remaining before the catch is lost.
 Know Your Prey
Combining the rod movement, angler's discernment/fishing instinct, and knowledge of the area as well as the bait/lure will allow fishers to determine what has been caught and whether they want to actually reel it in, or give up. When the level of the fish is not low enough to have its stamina depleted more or less instantly, the manner in which the rod moves from side to another, aside from the messages displayed and the rate of stamina depletion, is the best way to identify a catch.
While swiftly altering from left to right may be a sign of a big or high level fish, there are some small and low level ones that can prove to be more difficult than many higher level ones. On the other hand, items, small and low level fish such as Cobalt Jellyfish, and big, high level fish such as Cave Cherax all tend to leave the rod hanging in the middle for longer periods of time before shifting to the left or right. Regardless, when one knows their prey, peering at the rod movement and taking notes of the stamina depletion will often be enough for one to know what is in the other end of the line. It may also be of no use at places where the prey can't be singled out reliably, there are several low level fish around, and the angler has a high level of skill.
Angler's need not rely only to the movement of their rod and/or stamina of the prey, for the fishing instinct messages often provide results even faster:
- Small fish: Something caught the hook!
- Big fish: Something caught the hook!!!
- Monster: Something clamps onto your line ferociously!
- Item or a cobalt jellyfish: You feel something pulling at your line.
It would for example be easy to tell that it is the desired catch if the conditions for only one single big fish are being met. Occasionally the message will tell exactly what it is that caught the hook. This will also be indicated by a light bulb animation/effect above the character.
When the level of the prey is more or less above one's fishing skill, one of the following messages may be displayed:
- You don't know if you have enough skill to reel this one in.
- You're positive you don't have enough skill to reel this one in.
Neither of the above mean that the catch will be lost, or noticeably more difficult to reel in, provided that the prey is normally within the abilities of the angler in question.
When the prey is above a certain level (possibly 100), and the angler's skill is close enough to that level (possibly at most 7 levels below), the following message may be displayed:
- This strength... You get the sense that you are on the verge of an epic catch!
 Of Skill and Man
Fishing skill ultimately determines the depletion and recovery rates of the stamina bar, as well as the rate at which the golden opportunities occur (the golden arrows), which highly increase the stamina depletion while decreasing its recovery from incorrect input. A higher fishing skill also reduces the chances of a rod breaking, a line snapping, or that the catch is lost due to other factors. If the level of the catch is significantly higher than the character's fishing skill, it will recover stamina without any player input, and it is more difficult to have it depleted. On the flip side, if the fish is significantly lower level than the character's fishing skill, its stamina will be quickly reduced, even without player input.
Similar to crafting, fishing skill can only be improved by reeling in fish that are of higher level than one's skill is. Furthermore, again similar to crafting, failed attempts may yield positive results amongst them in the form of the skill improving. It is possible for the skill to advance when having one's line snapped or losing the catch otherwise. This is true at least if most of the stamina of the fish was depleted.
Differing from other crafts, fishing skill level has less impact in one's ability to catch a fish. It is, for example, entirely possible to catch a level 30 fish with a fishing skill level of 0.
Reeling in a certain amount of fish will make characters fatigued (after successfully reeling in around 200 fish and/or items), rendering them unable to catch any more fish and/or items until the next Japanese midnight (UTC/GMT+9). It does not affect characters in any other way. Different catches may yield a different amount of this effect, small fish possibly carrying minimal fatigue, whereas big fish or heavy items such as Coral Fragments may have a larger impact. The amount of time one needs to wait before being able to use the fish-command again will also become higher, but differing from above, this is reset upon changing area.
If the character being used has logged on-line for the first time less than 2 weeks ago, or/and their job level is lower than 20, the maximum number of fish and/or items that can be reeled in is lowered to 10 for the passing day (Earth time), resetting at Japanese midnight as usual. Provided a character has at least one job at level 20 or higher, they will become fatigued at the normal rate regardless of their current job level. After 2 weeks has passed, the limit on new characters is lifted, while the limit from fishing below level 20 is lifted after 24 hours.
 Crash Course
- Any bait (non-lure) will be lost each time something catches the line, except for when it's an item, provided it is successfully reeled in. Monsters will always consume such bait.
- Lures are lost only in the event the line or rod breaks, not for example when losing a catch due to lack of skill or due to a too large rod.
- Monsters cannot be caught in towns nor in other safe areas where it is not normally possible to engage in combat.
- Items are neither fish nor monsters. They include, but are not limited to items such as Rusty Buckets or logs used in Woodworking. As mentioned above, reeling in items will enable one to not lose their bait, unlike giving up and reeling in the line.
- The type of rod used, along with fishing skill, determines the chances of losing a catch, line snapping, and rod breaking.
- The area and bait/lure used determines what can be caught in general.
- Some examples of special fish that allow less time than usual for reeling them in are Matsya, Gugrusaurus, and Lik. Matsya gives only about 10 seconds total without special effects from items such as the Albatross Ring or Mooching. Mooching, which is helpful only when used in combination with Drill Calamary or Dwarf Pugil, also gives more time for reeling in Gugrusaurus or/and Lik, although for them this special bait is not necessary. A Penguin Ring for example can also be helpful.
- Many fish that can not be stacked have their size in Ilms (Im) and weight in Ponzes (Pz) included in their description. These statistics are utilized in Fish Ranking contests. They do not affect their properties regarding synthesis, when eaten as food, or when used in any other such manner.
- The Pelican Ring, obtainable from the Selbina Fish Ranking Competition has an enchantment which temporarily increases the rate at which fishing skill is gained.
- Moghancement: Fishing increases the chances of pulling up items, whereas Moghancement: Fishing Skill increases the fishing skill.
- Items and monsters can not be used to improve one's fishing skill level.
- Provided the fish is of high level enough, and a proper attempt at catching it has been made, it is possible to gain fishing skill even if the catch is lost due to the lack of skill, or having the line snapped.