|This article is a personal guide. Information expressed in this guide is one player's opinion and may be more opinion than fact. Strategies and information contained herein may not work for everyone.
No non-minor changes should be made without consulting the author. Changes or questions should be discussed on the talk page.
Fishing for Fun and Profit
By Ctownwoody of Asura
Sons of Valkrum Linkshell
The first is a Databases of areas, lures/baits and rods, to see what combination catches what, or what combination is needed to catch a given fish. The next one is a timer I use to learn when the next prime-fishing-time will occur. The final one should need no real introduction, I think.
1. You can do this with any level job and almost anywhere. There are certain spots that I won’t list that can only be reached by extensive use of silent oils and prism powders or high-level (65+) job, but you can get up to 86 just inside cities and Tier I zones (99 in Nashmau, apparently).
2. You can catch monsters in zones with monsters. The common theme for catchable-monsters is they give a "!!!", are easy to reel in, and will be auto-claimed by you with active aggro. Experts will notice that the stamina will drain by itself as well (called "stamina-fishing"). My guide focuses on small fish, so cancel anything that with "!!!" that you hook and you'll be fine. The first big fish ("!!!" instead of "!") is Gugru Tuna at 41.
3. Equipment matters a lot. Think of this as a very equipment-dependent job. Going fishing with the wrong gear will just get you frustrated by a lack of success. The right rod and the right bait or lure are required and, yes, Fishing Armor does make a difference.
4. Learn how to fish cheaply. The system is easy to learn but hard to master, so get a cheap rod (Willow Fishing Rod from Sandy for example) and cheap bait (Little Worms or Lugworms) and learn how to fish in a city.
5. Woodworking and Alchemy are involved in your rods. Clothcraft and Leathercraft make your gear. Clothcraft, Bonecraft, Cooking and Goldsmithing can make lures or bait. You don’t need any of them, but making your own bait, repairing your own rods, crafting your own gear and building your own lures can be a big (and profitable) help.
6. Fishing is also a great way to farm items for your own crafting. Think of it as a tag-team skill-up. Raise one skill to get the components to raise another skill.
7. Sushi...God bless it. Lots of fish at skills 50+ are required for sushi, every DD’s favorite food. If you don’t have high-level (above 60) Cooking, find a friend or lazy crafter that does and is willing to pay. Or just head to AH and dump supplies there...
8. While you can catch fish way above your skill, you are more likely to gain skill ups within 15 of your current skill. Also, fish more than 15 levels above your current skill are more likely to be harder/impossible to land.
9. The moon matters a lot, especially outdoors. Full and New Moons are prime-time and half-moon is the worst. Indoors, this matters less, but it still affects bite rates.
10. Rusty Leggings and Rusty Subligars are your friends...at times. Leggings sell pretty well for 500 in Bastok or Jeuno and Subligars for 2-4k. You can no longer get rich off of Rusty Fishing like you once could but you can still make good gil from those two. On the other hand, they can take up room in your inventory when you least want them to...
11. Lu Shang’s is your dream rod. Turn in your 10,000 Moat Carp to work towards it; they earn fame, gil and a slice of the ultimate rod all at once.
The most time consuming item in the game, except maybe a Relic Weapon. 10000 Moat Carp will take a long time. At 100 a day, that's more than 3 months. At best, you can catch one every 30 seconds, which, if there weren't fatigue systems in place, would still amount to over 3.5 days of straight fishing at break-neck pace and catching nothing but Moat Carp.
The hardest part about the process is that it gets boring, obviously. I've collected various methods from friends and LS-mates that have gotten the rod. Mostly, they all insist that's it is just a matter of patience, but I'm going to list their suggestions below.
Gonna preface this by saying that these are the rods to use if you don't have Lu Shang's...
These drain stamina slowly but keep fish on the line longer. They are also a little stronger than the Wooden equivalents, and thus are better to use with Lures to protect the Lure. I prefer these for profit fishing for that reason.
They drain stamina quickly, break more easily, and don't keep fish on the line for long. I love the Hume for Moat Carp especially because they will go through their stamina like crazy.
A debate worthy of Cake vs. Pie or Brownie vs. Cookies. Choose as needed.
Bait is cheap, can be rationed for limited duration/purpose trips, and can be bought from NPCs easily. It is said to have a better bite rate and the wider variety of bait over lures allows you to better isolate specific fish. Bait also can be used in large stacks that protect you against line-snaps or rod-breaks. Finally, some baits are made from fish can be caught on location and made into bait as needed.
However, when fishing for profit, in areas where you have to cancel large fish and/or monsters, or when the planned trip length is long and repitious, using 1 bait per bite can make supply an issue.
Lures are reusable ad infinitum. They take up minimum space (1 slot per lure), are good at targeting certain classes of fish (as opposed to specific fish) and isolating fish within specific skill-ranges. They are highly profitable to make and sell; indeed, they can be resold when used up, rather than dumped at an NPC.
However, a line-snap or rod-break can lose a 20k lure and leave you stranded after 15 minutes of what you planned as a 3+ hour fishing trip.
Fishing is different from other crafts, not just in that it's a mini-game but because you don't use crystals to gain skill. Instead, you use fishing gear, and while only the rod and lure/bait are strictly required, the other equipment matters too. Below is a listing of the 'other stuff' that you can buy or use Guild Points to get.
Key: Name (Cap), Suggested Rod, Lure/Bait, and Location--Notes. The sub-sections use the Test Items as bookends, rather than the skill-cap for that level of fishing as the Test Items are always one more than the skill-cap.
Cobalt Jellyfish (5), Hume Fishing Rod, Sabiki Rig, Port Bastok or Port Jeuno -—These are nasty buggers because the rod can spend a lot of time in the middle, like items. You need a ton for the Mercury needed at various stages in Alchemy. If you don’t need or want them for Alchemy, though, they are an annoyance to be avoided as you can.
Crayfish (7), Any Rod, Little Worm, almost all fresh-water bodies—-Best starting catch in fishing. Any fresh water body in cities has these little buggers, and usually has some Moat Carp to boot. Peeled Crayfish is a great starter synth for cooking, but not a lot of useful advanced crafts.
Bastore Sardine (10), Hume Fishing Rod, Sabiki Rig, Most salt-water bodies-—The salt-water equivalent of crayfish, but with the Sabiki Rig, you can catch 1-3 at a time. Sliced Sardine is a good bait for out in the field, but these are usually available enough not to worry with advanced crafting.
Moat Carp (11), Hume Fishing Rod, Insect Ball, Knightswell in West Ronfaure-—TEST ITEM, and you need 10,000 (!!) for Lu Shang's Fishing Rod. You will catch a lot of these, even when fishing for other types of carp...and you'll want to catch them as well...Knightswell does well for isolating but typically, you might want to find a body of water with Moat Carp + a fish to gain skill with, and then target both; this works until Fishing 56 (Gold Carp). TEST ITEM
Yellow Globe (17), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Sabiki Rig, Mhaura-—Caught in Port Jeuno's Airship areas or Buburimu Peninsula as well, but I recommend cities so that job level doesn't matter. They make a component to Poison Potion, so either use to make them or sell them. Sell pretty well because of Poison Potion.
Forest Carp (20), Hume Fishing Rod, Insect Paste, Yhoator Jungle--@(E-9), there's an underground pond in a cave with only a single, non-aggressive Worker Crawler to keep you company. Cancel anything with "!!!" and you'll be fine. You can also catch Moat Carp here and both work equally as well for Lu Shang's.
Cheval Salmon (21), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Fly Lure/Trout Ball, East Ronfaure-—Catch these along with Shining Trout just to catch fish for skill. The recipes aren't that great, but you can use the Shining Trout to make more bait. TEST ITEM
Nebimonite (27), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Crayfish Ball/Shrimp Lure, Ship bound for Mhaura—Ferry-fishing normally stinks and I found these annoying to catch with a Hume rod; maybe the Halcyon's extra time will help. Shrimp Lure is problematic as the other things it will catch will break your rod or are too hard to catch below 50. These make Fish Mithkabob and Black Ink, the best mid-level DEF food and one of the most-used Alchemy components.
Tricolored Carp (27), Hume Fishing Rod, Insect Ball, Most places where Moat Carp are found-—These are sold to NPC for around 50 gil each and that's it. If you want to isolate these away from Moat Carp, go to the smaller bridge in North Gustaberg to fish up just these and Gold Carp. Gil-city but you will miss out on making progress towards Lu Shang's...
Tiger Cod (29), Hume Fishing Rod, Sardine Ball, Sauromugue Champaign--Best place to isolate these fish. Relatively easy to catch, decent sales rate and price on Jeuno's AH, and popular bait-fish for big-fish fishermen. If you want to add in Nosteau Herring, head to Qufim Island with the same bait. Using Lugworm here or on Qufim Island will add in Yellow Globe.
Elshimo Frog (30), Hume Fishing Rod, Fly Lure, Yuhtunga Jungle/Yhoator Jungle—Hard to catch and the areas are Yuhtunga and Yhoator Jungles' waterfalls only. But they sell for 1k as quickly as they hit the AH and make a very profitable, if slower selling, NIN tool.
TEST ITEM: Giant Catfish: Go ahead and buy one; they're cheap and no one really uses them for anything.
Dark Bass (33), Hume Fishing Rod, Worm Lure, Bastok Markets—-NPC these. You’ll have skipped Giant Catfish at 31, but those are more trouble than they are worth. With this combo, fish behind the AH in Bastok Markets to tag-team with Black Eel (47), which NPC for over 100 gil each.
Shining Trout (37), Hume Fishing Rod, Fly Lure/Trout Ball, East Ronfaure—-NPC these as well. Betweem Dark Bass and Shall Shell, some guides tell you to stick to salt-water areas. I tend to ignore salt-water in favor of fresh water because the fish are easier to catch and bite better, but some other guides recommend various baits with a Mithran Fishing Rod in South Gustaberg or East Sarutabaruta at these stretch. I do not.
Nosteau Herring (39), Hume Fishing Rod, Sardine Ball, Qufim Island--These are impossible to isolate, from what I have discovered, from Tiger Cod. That's not a bad thing as Cod are good for bait or just selling. Change the bait to Lugworm to include Yellow Globe as an additional profitable target.
Gugru Tuna (41), Mithran Fishing Rod, Minnow, Ship bound for Mhaura--In expanding this Guide beyond the smallest and easiest fish, these got added instead of just being a TEST ITEM to buy on the AH. These are large (giving you a "!!!"), so watch out for catching monsters. Minnow are cheapest at the Ferry's vendor, and let you catch a large number of fish from Tuna at 41 to Noble Lady at 66, so you can just use this combo for a long time; you'll lose small fish with this combo on occassion but will never have a rod-break.
Black Eel (47), Hume Fishing Rod, Worm Lure, Bastok Markets behind the AH—NPC as well. I lost 2 Lure while catching around 300 of these, so it can happen but not too often. Still, this can be slow going, because Dark Bass will be about 60-80% of your catch.
Cone Calamary (48), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Minnow, Ship bound for Mhaura/Batallia Downs/Sauromugue Champaign-All three of these locations are great for getting the Calamary, which are easy to catch (they, like Shall Shell and Cobalt Jellyfish, behave like items) while still getting Bluetail and, on the ferry only, Noble Lady. All three sell very quickly and profitably. Sliced Cod isolates them from Bluetail but since both will give skill-ups at this point, go with both.
Shall Shell (53), Hume Fishing Rod/Mithran Fishing Rod, Rogue Rig/Robber Rig, Valkurm Dunes or Buburimu Peninsula—Gil-city! I suggest Valkurm Dunes because the Outpost is closer to fishing. If you are lvl 30+, no problem with aggro. Rusty Subligars can snap the line (lure cost 20k, remember) on the Halcyon/Hume Rod, but I find that I don't catch fish as well with a Mithran Rod. Your choice.
Bluetail (55), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Minnow, Qufim Island NW Shore-This place isolates out the Calamary and most of the nasty large fish you catch elsewhere on Qufim or other bluetail areas. You can use Sliced Sardine at Batallia Downs or Sauromugue Champaign but after 50 skill-ups slow down even more and you will need dozens and dozens of stacks; this is exactly why you invest in lures.
Gold Carp (56), Hume Fishing Rod, Insect Ball/Shrimp Lure, Windurst Walls—NPC these for 300 gil each! If you haven’t gotten a lot of carp up until now, I suggest Windurst Walls and Insect Paste to collect Moat Carp at the same time without catching Tricolor Carp. If you have gotten Lu Shang’s, Shrimp Lures will isolate them entirely, but you are better off fishing for more profitable fish.
Bhefhel Marlin (61), Mithran Fishing Rod/Composite Fishing Rod, Slice of Bluetail, Ship bound for Mhaura--I debated not adding these but I wanted to get as close to 60 as possible with the first part of the guide. These have been reported to possibly break Hume and Halcyon Rods, which could be good or could be bad, depending on if you want to repair broken rods. This combination of bait will also target Cone Calamary and Silver Shark, either of which gives only "!", not "!!!". The former is catchable and the latter isn't without Lu Shang's or a higher skill than 58 + Albatross Ring. Save the Marlins to give to Zaldon for Pirate's Chart and Brigand's Chart. TEST ITEM for the record.
I won't be breaking this section down into skill-levels since you will be targeting fewer fish and fishing them more intensely but the divide between people with Lu Shang's and people without it becomes the big divide.
Noble Lady (66), Mithran Fishing Rod/Halcyon Rod, Shrimp Lure/Sinking Minnow, Ship bound for Mhaura--Good to sell/use for high-level cooking, used to make Tavnazian Taco or Dorado Sushi. Cancel all bites with "!!!" as they are large fish that break lines. With the Shrimp Lure, you will also catch Nebs as a bonus, but Sinking Minnow will isolate the target fish better. With a Mithran Fishing Rod, you won't have a line snap, but can have a "Too Small" message; alternatively, a Halcyon Rod could have a line snap on Noble Lady but won't lose fish to "Too Small". This is where the lack of Lu Shang's starts to make a discernable impact on your lure/location selection.
Ca Cuong (69?), Hume Fishing Rod, Little Worm, Grauberg (S)--I've seen reports tentatively labeling these as a 69 Fishing catch. As a rule, I always prefer fresh water catches to salt water ones for skill (I find fresh-water fish easier to reel in). As the information is relatively too new (less than 2 years is relatively new), I am not sure how to isolate them, etc. However, the key ingredient in some very nice Reward items, and as a BST, I'm biased.
Silver Shark (76), Halcyon Fishing Rod, Meatball, Sauromugue Champaign/Batallia Downs--Consider these a bridge-synth if you can catch them. Even with an Albatross Ring and Fishing 55 or my LS-mate with Albatross and Pelican Rings and Fishing 59, they are impossible to land (please note the use of impossible as opposed to nigh-impossible). Consider yourself warned.
Gavial Fish (81), Mithran Fishing Rod, Meatball, North Gustaberg Cascade/Gusgen Mines at the bottom—-I suggest this because you will break Hume Fishing Rod (Woodworking 74 to repair them) and can break Mithran Fishing Rod (Woodworking 83). Broken Mithran Rod sells at a profit because of a quest in Kazham and because they are used in leveling Woodworking, but not with any real speed. The best location is North Gustaberg-Cascade, meaning the base of the actual waterfall itself, aiming at the waterfall. The bottom of Gusgen Mine is an option for those with a higher level (30+ to get to the Cascade, 55+ for Gusgen.)
Bastore Bream/Mercanbaligi (86), Mithran Fishing Rod, Sliced Sardine, Port Windurst/Nashmau--Not quite as bad as Gavial Fish on your rod and almost the same as Noble Lady for recipes and sales. Port Windurst is great because there are no jellyfish to compete with Bream, just rusty buckets and Pamtam Kelp (used in rice balls). Only try these after 76 because they are pretty hard to land, without Lu Shang's. Nashmau is also safe for the same reason but offers Ahtapot, which cap at 91 but they have a chance of breaking your rod.
Black Sole/Dil (96), Mithran Fishing Rod, Sliced Cod, Qufim Island Southwest shore/Talacca Cove—-Same deal for rods, recipes and sales as Bastore Bream. These are incredibly hard to catch at any level without Lu Shang's, so again, only once you hit the cap for Bastore Bream. Also, if for some reason, you can't fish in Qufim due to Goblin Bounty Hunters, Talacca Cove is a monster-free area in Aht Urhgan but requires Sneak and Invisible to reach.
Armored Pisces (100), Mithran Fishing Rod and Meatball—-About the only option here. Oldton Movalpolos too, so a HIGH job level is required. You can catch Blind Fish as well, but neither is listed as a problem for a Mithra Rod, strangely. I think it's just a lack of information in the player-made databases...
The ultimate fishing rod for those with lots of time to fish but with enough of a social life not to try for the Ebisu Fishing Rod...
Noble Lady (66), Sinking Minnow and Ship bound for Mhaura--Good to sell/use for high-level (90+) cooking. You can try for legendary Ryugu Titan (they and Gugru Tuna are the "!!!"s) with this combo but it's nigh-impossible with Fishing Rings at this point. I'd just Cancel the "!!!"s. Typical yield is 2-4 per ferry trip, with my best being 7.
Grimmonite/Ahtapot (90), Shrimp Lure, Sea Serpent Grotto/Nashmau--Both these locations will target the Bastore Bream/Mercanbaligi fish, plus Nebimonite in SSG. All of these are incredibly popular and profitable. Just be careful about catching mobs in SSG, they can range up to level 65.
Emperor Fish/Morinabaligi (91), Trout Ball, Beaucedine Glacier/Wajaom Woodlands or Bhaflau Thickets--This combo in Beaucedine's freshwater ponds will isolate the fish, but you'll need a job in the 60s to be safe from the roving mobs (and probably to deal with any mobs accidentally caught). You won't have to deal with aggro in the Aht Urgan areas, but you won't be able to isolate the fish and the mobs that you might accidentally catch will be worse.
Gigant Squid (91), Sliced Cod, Qufim Island Northwest side--A prime sushi-fish and used in Black Ink (Shihei) and sells pretty well at the nearby Jeuno AH. This combination also gets Black Sole, the next fish on the list.
Black Sole/Dil (96), Sinking Minnow, Qufim Island/Talacca Cove—-Same deal for rods, recipes and sales as Bastore Bream. Using Sliced Cod in Qufim lets you catch Gigant Squid as well, another top seller. This was the fish that Lu Shang's was made for; you'll have 0.000% luck landing these without one. Talacca Cove doesn't let you isolate the Dil as well but it's alternative spot.
Pterygotus (99), Lugworm, Nashmau--Cap at 99, relatively easy to catch, plentiful in Nashmau, which is 100% safe from mobs, NPCs for almost 800 gil each...I can't really think of anything bad about them...but that may be because of lack of information.
Legendary Fish (100), Varies, Varies—The world is your oyster as far as fishing is concerned. You just have to avoid aggro and fishing up mobs. Davoi + Fly Lure for the Takitaro, Kuftal Tunnel / Quicksand Caves + Sinking Minnow for the Cave Cherax, The Boyahda Tree + Fly Lure for the Giant Chirai, and Ship bound for Mhaura + Meatball for the Ryugu Titan and Titanictus can all yield legendary fish, with only the last combo offering any chance of a broken rod.
The quickest, no-brainer way of hitting 56. You will need to spend a lot of time getting Moat Carp for Lu Shang's later. However, this will earn gil along the way...
1-11—Hume Rod + Little Worm/Insect Paste, Windurst Walls (Crayfish/Moat Carp)
11-21—Hume Rod + Fly Lure/Trout Ball, East Ronfaure (Cheval Salmon/Shining Trout)
21-27—Hume Rod + Insect Paste, North Gustaberg river (Tricolor Carp/Gold Carp)
27-33—Hume Rod + Worm Lure, Bastok Market-Reservoir (Dark Bass/Black Eel)
33-53—Mithra Rod + Rogue Rig, Valkrum Dunes/Buburimu Peninsula (Shall Shell)
53-56—Hume Rod + Shrimp Lure, Windurst Walls (Gold Carp)
See also: Fishing 1-100 While Questing For Lu Shang's by Diabolos-Brian for a much simpler, more direct guide for getting your Lu Shang's.