An Explanation of Fishing
First, equip a fishing rod and bait in your ranged and ammo slots. Then, find a body of water, place yourself at the edge, and type /fish, or choose Fish from the menu. It is also possible to set a macro by simply typing /fish into an empty macro slot.
Unlike other crafts, fishing requires a certain degree of interaction in order to achieve results. Wait a few seconds for a bite. When a bite comes, the fish's stamina bar will appear over your head. Arrows will appear at your left and right. Hit the directional keys or move the controller's toggle within the time limit of the arrows appearance to lower the fish's stamina (its HP bar), stop pressing anything when the fish's stamina hits zero (The fish will not thrash if you aren't pressing anything), and press enter (or confirm) to reel it in. If you continue to press a directional key after the fish's stamina hits zero (the stamina bar will go dark), there is a chance that it could regain a sliver of health and break your line upon attempting to reel it in
Catching things via fishing puts a strain on your character which is commonly known as "fishing fatigue". It does not affect any other aspect of your character other than your fishing performance. Fatigue resets itself back to normal when the day changes, at Japanese midnight (Earth time). Different catches carry different amounts of fatigue along with them (small fish usually carry minimal fatigue, whereas large fish or heavy items such as Coral Fragments can fatigue you much faster). As fatigue rises, bite rates may drop and it can become more difficult to catch certain fish (fish stamina bars will not decrease as quickly). When fatigue reaches its maximum (after successfully reeling in around 200 fish and/or items), you will no longer get any bites, effectively limiting the total amount of fishing you can do every day.
If the character being used has logged on-line for the first time less than 2 weeks ago, or/and the 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 Earth day, resetting at Japanese midnight as usual. The level 20 limit is imposed regardless of the level of other jobs the character might have. 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 (provided a higher level job is used the next time).
- Bait or lures can be used as fishing tackle. One piece of bait is expended each time you get a bite on the line, regardless of the results (with one exception; see below). Lures can be used indefinitely, but they will disappear from your inventory if you get a line snap or a rod break. The type of rod used also determines how well it can withstand potential lost catches, line snaps, or rod breaks; along with fishing skill. The type of bait used determines what kinds of things will bite on the line.
- The behavior of the rod is a huge clue in determining what you have hooked on the line. If the rod is aggressively and swiftly shifting from left to right, it may be the sign of a big or high level fish. On the other hand, if the rod hangs in the middle for long periods of time before shifting left or right, it may be a sign you have hooked something like a Cobalt Jellyfish. Careful observation of the rod's behavior, combined with knowledge of the bait you're using and what it can attract in the area you are fishing in, can help you save time by identifying the fish on your line without even having to actually catch it.
- Fishing skill ultimately determines the depletion and recovery rates of the stamina bar. A higher fishing skill also reduces the chances that the rod will break, a line will snap, or the catch is lost due to skill, after the stamina bar is diminished. If a fish's skill cap is significantly higher than the player's fishing skill level, it will slowly recover stamina while it's on the hook, without any player input. On the flip side, if the fish's skill cap is significantly lower than the player's fishing skill, it will take minimal effort to drain the stamina bar. Unlike other crafts, fishing skill level has far less impact on your actual ability to catch the fish. It is entirely possible to hook and catch fish 50 levels above you, or even more. It will just be increasingly difficult to obtain a fish, the more distant it is from a player's fishing skill level.
- You only have a limited amount of time to attempt to land your catch. This time varies primarily on the type of rod being used, and in some rarer cases, the bait and potential catch on your line. When you receive the warning "You don't know how much longer you can keep this one on the line..." you have exactly 7 seconds remaining to attempt to land the catch, or it will be automatically lost.
- Time is a serious factor when attempting to catch Gugrusaurus or Lik, the two primary fish needed for the quest Indomitable Spirit. These fish are very strong and are designed to not allow you enough time to weaken and catch them under normal circumstances. In order to catch them you must take other measures that normally aren't required for other fish, such as finding and using the special baits Drill Calamary and Dwarf Pugil along with purchasing the key item Mooching, or finding and using the special Penguin Ring and Albatross Ring.
- When the target's stamina is reduced properly before attempting to catch, the catch rate is usually 100%. However, if the fish is too strong for the rod being used, there is a chance for lost catches, or even line/rod breaks, any of which will result in failure to catch the target. A rod break will cause you to lose your lure or bait and leaves your rod in a broken, unusable state until it is repaired, usually via Woodworking or Alchemy. A line break will only cause the loss of your lure or bait. A lost catch will only cause the loss of bait; lures are retained. It is also possible to get lost catches if you are trying to catch small fish using a rod specifically designed for big fish, such as a Composite Fishing Rod. Even if the catch is not successful, as long as you made an attempt for it and weakened the fish's stamina properly before reeling in, you will still be eligible for skillups (assuming the would-be catch was a high enough level to give you any skillups).
- Most types of unstackable fish will have a tag in its item description, similar to signed items made by HQ crystals, indicating the fish's size in ilms (Im) and weight in ponzes (Pz). These statistics are utilized in Fish Ranking contests. They do not affect the item's performance during synthesis, when eaten as food, or used in any other such manner.
- You may cancel your fishing attempt at any time. You will lose any bait you are using, but not lures, and you will not break your rod.
- When you get a bite and the message contains three !'s instead of one ("Something caught the hook!!!") along with a positive message ("You have a good feeling about this one.", "You don't know if you have enough skill to reel this one in.", "You're fairly sure you don't have enough skill to reel this one in."), it usually indicates you have a monster; monsters are accompanied by their own instantly recognizable background music. More negative messages ("You are positive you don't have enough skill to reel this one in.","You have a bad feeling about this one." and "You have a terrible feeling about this one.") indicate large fish, usually a fish considered big for the area you are fishing in, and it is accompanied by different background music. If the fish is capable of breaking your line/rod, or you do not want the unstackable fish, or you know it is not an unstackable fish (and therefore a monster) and you do not wish to fight the monster, it would be a good time to hit Esc. Monsters cannot be caught in towns or other safe areas where it is not normally possible to fight.
- New fishing messages as of May 10,2011:
- Messages displayed upon getting a bite will indicate the size and type of your potential catch as follows:
Small fish: "Something caught the hook!"
Large fish: "Something caught the hook!!!"
Non-fish targets: "You feel something pulling at your line."
Monsters: "Something clamps onto your line ferociously!"
- Critical bites. Players with fishing skill surpassing the rank of their target will occasionally register a critical bite, and be rewarded with advance knowledge as to the identity of their prey ("Something caught the hook! Your keen angler's senses tell you that this is the pull of a black sole!") When this occurs, the fish will recover significantly less stamina when the left/right directional buttons are pressed incorrectly.
- It is possible to catch "items", things that are generally classified as neither fish nor monsters, such as Rusty Buckets or logs used in Woodworking. If you hook one of these using bait and successfully catch the item, the bait is retained. Any other result (such as canceling the cast with Esc key) results in losing your bait.
- It is important to note that you will lose bait whether you cancel or fish up a monster when caught.
- Moghancement: Fishing increases your chance of pulling up items, whereas Moghancement: Fishing Skill actually increases your fishing skill.
- The Pelican Ring, obtainable from the Selbina Fish Ranking Competition has an enchantment which temporarily increases the rate at which fishing skill is gained.
- The Baby Eft "Cheer effect" obtained from Monster Rearing will increase fishing skill gained by 1% when set.
- Items and monsters do not possess a fishing skill cap, and therefore cannot yield skillups upon being caught.