The Quest Completionist's Guide to Fishing
This is a guide on fishing and its associated content. The goal is to get from 0 to 110 while finishing most of the quests that require it. This guide was made possible largely because of A Genuine Fishing Guide by IconicIdea, which forms the basis for this guide. I strong recommend cross-referencing these two guides.
I'd also suggest reading this guide on FFXIclopedia. BG Wiki, great as it is, is very incomplete with regards to fishing data.
A Quick Round of Answers
Q: Should I take up fishing?
A: The simple answer is "probably not". Yes, it's weird to lead a guide about an activity by saying not to do it, but it's true. It's a very simplistic mechanic with a minigame that's equal parts boring and frustrating. About half the fish have no in-game use and the other half don't sell reliably any more. Fishing is mostly a self-contained system with marginal overlap with some crafts.
That said, if you decide to master Cooking, you'll need fishing to have a reliable pipeline for making Sublime Sushi. However, I don't recommend that as your main craft because gil-sellers with multiple-accounts running bots have thoroughly saturated the market to the point of irrelevance.
Q: Why this guide, then?
A: For people that enjoy seeing numbers go up, finishing quest lists, and otherwise finishing content. This is also a great activity for listening to podcasts and music since it's a very basic, minimal activity to keep yourself occupied. Since this involves a whole lot of 10 second delays, it's pretty easy to get in a rhythm of looking back and forth from doing something else. I wrote most of this guide this way.
Q: How long would it take to fully finish this guide?'
A: The 0-110 skill portion takes about 4-6 weeks of daily fishing depending on luck and if you got Pelican Rings. I argue that none of this is worth doing without the rings. During your skill-up, you will get the important Guild Merchant items, finish all Records of Eminence objectives including Thanks for All the Fish, and finish a big chunk of the list from Fisherman's Heart.
You will almost certainly not get Ebisu Fishing Rod and, by extension, Ebisu Fishing Rod +1 during that time. Lik and Gugrusaurus are terrible fish to get skill on and incredibly difficult to fish up without a bunch of prep, so unless you luck out and get both their items from Inside the Belly with freebies and purchased fish, you won't be getting it during the skill-up portion of this guide.
Q: Should I use a fish-bot?
A: No. Not just because you're risking your account for a stupid reason (although Square really doesn't seem to care about cheating so long as it doesn't impact the economy or cause server problems), but because at that point, you're accomplishing nothing but making a number go up while you do something else. You may as well just run Progress Quest for all it does. As that infamous meme goes, "You experienced a hollow victory. Nothing was risked and nothing was gained", et cetera.
I'm in an apparent minority of the playerbase in that I feel it's unethical to use any unauthorized third party tools in multiplayer games at all, even for PVE games like this one. It adds way more complexity than the developers intended, introduces a lot of possibility of file corruption, and requires too much trust in unaccountable people. Don't bother messaging me about this because I won't respond.
Q: What gear should I get?
- PELICAN RINGS: Seriously, don't even bother doing anything until these come up in a Repeat Login Campaign. When they do, get two of them. That will triple your skill-up rate. They have 180 charges and you likely won't use them all unless you do something really wrong.
- Halcyon Rod: You'll be using this rod until level 50.
- Lu Shang's Fishing Rod: You'll be using this rod past level 50. Just buy it: the quest takes way too long and most servers don't have nearly enough Moat or Forest Carp being sold to get it in any reasonable time frame.
- Bait will be mentioned as we go along, but these in particular are not available from NPCs and should be purchased from the Auction House or Bazaars:
- Optional: Fisherman's Gloves, Tunica, Hose, Boots: Gives a total of +4 Fishing skill.
- Optional: Trainee's Spectacles: Gives +1 Fishing skill while you're below level 40.
- Optional: Fisher's Torque: Gives +2 Fishing skill. Like all the crafting torques, this is utter misery to get and is not really worth it.
Q: What should I do with all the fish?
A: Keep the stackable small fish that are worth Guild Points, sell the large fish to an NPC. Exception is if it happens to be today's Guild Points item. Moat Carp and Forest Carp will all go towards The Rivalry/The Competition.
Q: Any other things I should know going in?
A: You've probably read or intuited all this, but here are the basics:
- YOU CAN CANCEL ANY CAST AT ANY POINT FOR NO PENALTY. If you're using a non-reusable lure (e.g. lugworms), all catches consume 1 lure regardless of outcome or cancellation.
- You are limited to 200 fish per day, resetting at Japanese Midnight. I don't know if items or monsters are included in that. On a guaranteed instant catch with near-100% bite rates (e.g. Moat Carp in West Ronfaure with Insect Ball and level 50+ skill), 200 catches would still take about about 90-100 straight minutes. Realistically, on fish you're trying to get skill on while cancelling other catches, it will take 6-7 hours to actually hit 200.
- Lu Shang's Fishing Rod gives significantly reduced skill gains before level 50. You have to use other rods before then if you want to get anywhere.
- When you hook a catch, you enter a minigame:
- Fish start out with full stamina. You deplete stamina by pressing left or right when the appropriate arrow prompts show up. If you press the wrong direction, it regains a bit of stamina. Arrows are either white or gold. White depletes a little, gold depletes a lot. Ratio is approximately 6:1 white vs. gold.
- Fish also either passively lose stamina relative to how far above its skill cap you are or regenerates stamina based on how far above your skill it is. This mostly becomes pronounced with a 30 level gap, with low level fish practically catching themselves and high level fish regenerating faster than you can press arrows.
- You're given either short or long windows to press a button. The higher a fish is, the shorter your windows are and the more frequent short windows become. Something really far above your skill basically becomes humanly impossible.
- You get skill for, on fish with a higher skill cap than your unmodified skill as listed in Craft Skills, either successfully reeling in a fish or depleting its stamina to zero regardless whether you reel it in. This includes if the line breaks, rod breaks, or it's cancelled with "your skill is not high enough".
- You get skill in 0.1 intervals for fish ~30 or less levels than your current skill and up to 0.2 increments for fish 30+ above your skill. I don't know the exact threshold.
- There are four types of catches:
- "Something caught the hook!" = a small fish that stacks to 12. These give skill. In the absence of other factors, you want these.
- "Something caught the hook!!!" = a large fish that doesn't stack and comes with a randomly generated length and weight for use in Fish Ranking. These give skill.
- "You feel something pulling at your line." = items, Cobalt Jellyfish (7), and Bonefish (31). Items don't give skill, Jellyfish does, I can't confirm if Bonefish does because it is incredibly difficult to fish up before you're past its cap.
- "Something clamps onto your line ferociously!" = a monster that will attack you after you fish it up. These do not give skill.
- In addition to the above, you'll also get one of the following messages on the next line:
- "You have a (good/bad/terrible) feeling about this one!" = The fish is 7 levels or less higher than your skill+gear or you're above its skill cap. The bad/terrible messages seem to only happen if you're below skill cap and indicate a higher chance of your line or rod breaking if you aren't both using a rod that doesn't break to the fish and depleting stamina to zero. You can ignore it if you do both of those.
- "(You're fairly sure you don't/You don't know if you/You're positive you don't) have enough skill to reel this one in." = The fish is 8+ levels above your skill+gear. You can still reel it in until about 30+ above your level, where even if you deplete its stamina, it might cancel out with something along the lines of "your skill is too low to reel this one in". You still have a chance of skill up in this case.
- "Your keen angler's senses tells you that this is the pull of X." = It tells you what you're reeling in and also gives you mostly gold arrows. This mainly happens on catches far below your current skill level. It's possible to increase the odds using Fisher's Rope and Duck Ring, but it's not worth it.
- "This strength... You get the sense that you are on the verge of an epic catch!" = A large fish with a high skill cap. I didn't encounter this message until I started doing Pterygotus (Level 99). It doesn't seem to correlate with the weight and length whatsoever.
- The minigame is completely local on your computer, presumably to avoid issues with latency. Fish-bots operate by lying to the server about you successfully completing the minigame.
The Guide Itself
Before We Start
Some stuff not directly related to fishing:
- Level up to 99 and get as a minimum the Item Level 117 Sparks of Eminence gear.
- Get access to all areas by finishing Missions, finishing the Kazham Airship Pass, etc.
- Get all Survival Guides and Waypoints (both Adoulin and Proto).
- Max out your Fame in places with repeatable quests.
- Get your inventory size to 80, place enough furniture to get Storage to 80, and unlock Mog Locker, Mog Satchel, Mog Case, Mog Sack, and Mog Wardrobe. You don't need to buy Wardrobes 3 and 4 for this by itself.
- Unlock your Mog Garden, do all its quests, and level up all your activities. Use the Pond Dredger, Coastal Fishing Net, and Flotsam daily. Keep all the Dwarf Pugil, Drill Calamary, Gugrusaurus, Lik, Moat Carp, and Forest Carp.
- Do the above two on your other characters, especially Mog Garden. The more opportunities you have at those items, the better.
- Optionally: level Alchemy and Woodworking to 70. Level Cooking to at least 11 or so, ideally 35+. You may also need to level Clothcraft to make your own Fisherman's armor depending on your server's population.
With that sorted, unlock Records of Eminence and in the Fishing category, set all available categories as they pop up.
Go to Port Windurst HP #1 and talk to Thubu Parohren on the dock. While you're there, buy as many Insect Balls from the shop as possible for the early stages. You can also buy the other baits and lures, although we won't be using some of them.
Buy a Halcyon Rod from the Auction House. While you're there, buy a Lizard Lure (if you get so lucky), Frog Lure, Shrimp Lure, Robber Rig, and/or Rogue Rig (other lures and bait can be purchased at NPCs or synthed along the way).
Optionally, buy a Fisherman's set and/or finish Father and Son to get Trainee's Spectacles. You can also buy Lu Shang's Fishing Rod whenever you want, but you won't be using it before level 50. You can also get Fisherman's Feast if you want. Don't buy more than one stack at a time because once you start Fishing (Tenacity), you'll get so much more than you'll ever use. Make sure you go to Aht Urhgan Whitegate, get Sanction with food duration, eat it there, and then go to your fishing spot.
Note: We will use Halcyon Rod before 50 and Lu Shang's Fishing Rod after 50. Also, while you can buy test and quest items rather than fish them up yourself, you'll want to fish up one of everything for a few quests down the line.
- Nothing much to this. Mog Garden has no items or monsters and nothing else bites Insect Balls, so you'll either catch nothing or carp. Skill up rates are kind of slow at the start, but you can use this carp for Competition/Rivalry and this is not a speed guide. Level these to 8-10, turn in your test item, and level to 11.
TEST ITEM: Moat Carp
- Talk to Thubu Parohren and trade her a Moat Carp. You can unlock new ranks starting at every level ending with 8 (i.e. 8, 18, 28, etc.) all the way to 98, which unlocks the final cap of 110. You can level up to the nearest multiple of 10 before you have to unlock the next rank to continue leveling.
- Your first wilderness adventure. How exciting. These also give fairly slow skill ups, but you can use these towards Competition/Rivalry and again, not a speed guide. While you're here, go ahead and grind out the 10 enemies fished up objective.
However, if you decide you just want to grind out the skill as soon as possible:
- You'll also catch Shining Trout.
TEST ITEM: Cheval Salmon
Our First Detour
You are now able to get credit for each unique fish type you catch and ask him for fishing statistics. I strongly suggest you make a user page (i.e. User:Whatever/Fishing) and copy over the table from Fisherman's Heart so you can keep track. You need to check off 100 fish types to finish Records of Eminence and start the quest for Ebisu Fishing Rod +1, but it's still fun to go for total completion.
Let's get 10 unique fish and finish a few quests while we're at it. Fish at the port with Sabiki Rig until you get a Yellow Globe and Bastore Sardine. While you're here, go ahead and fish up 10 rusty items to finish that objective.
Go to Selbina and fish up the following:
- Cobalt Jellyfish with anything (will show up as an item).
- Bastore Sardine with Sabiki Rig. Keep one (two if you're going to do Samurai Artifact Armor).
- Greedie with Minnow.
- Quus with Lugworm (may be caught with Sabiki Rig as well).
- Fat Greedie with Lugworm or Sardine Ball.
- Nebimonite with Crayfish Ball.
- Crayfish with Little Worm.
- Moat Carp with Insect Ball (your level 0-11 carp don't count).
- Pipira with Minnow.
That totals 11 fish and will get you a new Fisherman's Belt from Records of Eminence. Now let's get back to skilling up.
- You'll also catch Gold Carp, which are a tough catch but still doable. I recommend wearing Fishing gear if you have it and using your new Fisherman's Belt in the early stages.
- You'll also catch Nosteau Herring. Bites from Black Sole will need to be cancelled. Use a Wind Crystal with the Tiger Cod to get bait.
TEST ITEM: Giant Catfish
After you turn in your test item, talk with Fennella nearby and sign up for the Fishing guild. Every Japanese Midnight, check what the guild item is and reference the relevant page on FFXIclopedia (it has way more fishing details) for the total needed and how to fish them up if you can't buy them.
Keep in mind that it's different for each rank, so don't make my mistake by looking up the current item as one rank, turning in the rank test item, gathering the prior rank's items, and finding out it's a different item. On that front, I'd strongly recommend if you're close to ranking up on a day, check the current guild item and if it sucks, rank up and check again. However, if you trade any of the prior rank's items, it locks to that.
Here is where referencing A Genuine Fishing Guide helps. This is a crappy period of disappointment and slow, laborious skill up. I wasn't all that patient about cancelling casts or being unable to know which one will actually give me skill, so I just went straight for:
- The other guide claims it can break Halcyon, but I think that was probably a fluke on their part.
Once your skill+gear is 30+, you can finish Inside the Belly.
TEST ITEM: Gugru Tuna
- Selbina - Mhaura Ferry with Sinking Minnow. Fish up monsters as well until you get a Sea Crab that drops Bronze Box, then do Making Headlines and Scooped! at your leisure.
Our Biggest Detour Yet
Start paying attention to Fish Ranking for a fish that's 20 or less levels above you. You don't need to win: just enter.
We now need to up our list of unique catches to 60+. Feel free to equip Lu Shang's Fishing Rod for this since most won't give skill anyway.
If you followed this guide exactly, you should have minimum 17 unique fish now. If you had to fish up your test items, that's another 2-3 depending if you got Cheval Salmon before or after finishing Fisherman's Heart. I'll assume you got all those and detail how to get the remaining 40+ catches to progress in this quest. We will mainly aim to do areas where we can fully finish all the fish they have.
- Bibiki Urchin with Robber Rig on the north dock.
- Vongola Clam with Robber Rig.
- Bibikibo with Fly Lure at the south shore.
- Moorish Idol with Worm Lure.
- Shall Shell with Robber Rig.
- Trilobite with Worm Lure on the south shore.
Aydeewa Subterrane at E-8 Map 2 (Chigre Pond)
- Phanauet Newt with Fly Lure at the central landing (G-6).
- Dark Bass with Minnow.
- Muddy Siredon with Frog Lure. While you're at it, go to the south landing (J-10) and do Mithran Delicacies with this fish.
- Shining Trout with Fly Lure at the south landing (J-10).
Eastern Altepa Desert (F-9)
- Copper Frog with Fly Lure.
- Giant Donko with Frog Lure.
- Sandfish with Worm Lure. Keep it and do You Call That a Knife?
- Monke-Onke with Shrimp Lure at (F-9). Hold on to this for later.
- Crescent Fish with Fly Lure.
- Ogre Eel with Shrimp Lure at the sea.
- Gold Lobster with Sinking Minnow.
- Bladefish with Slice of Bluetail.
- Black Prawn with Lugworm at the east shore.
- Contortacle with Minnow.
- Contortopus with Sinking Minnow.
That should be enough, but if you decided to skip a few and are far enough in Seekers of Adoulin:
- Ra'Kaznar Shellfish with Fly Lure just outside the battlefield entrance.
- Translucent Salpa with Insect Ball.
- White Lobster with Shrimp Lure.
- Bonefish with Rogue Rig (shows up as an item).
- Craft the Bluetail into Slice of Bluetail. Once you hit 50, sell off that Halcyon Rod and get ready for a second world tour. For convenience, hold off on your rank test until level 50.
TEST ITEM: Monke-Onke
- If you followed this guide exactly, you have one to turn in already.
A Note on Regional Objectives
For this next long part, everything is about objectives. Even if you haven't reached a particular fish's cap, move on to the next area after you finish the objective.
Set "Reel Endurance" and "Catch Size and Weight". Make sure you keep setting new versions of the former as you complete them because this is by far the longest part. Since it takes 378 minutes of the actual minigame to finish, depending on luck, you may even get level 110 skill before finishing Reel Endurance.
Also, don't feel like you have to rush this. Lu Shang's Fishing Rod +1 is identical to the original, including breakage, except it's Rare/Ex and glows blue. I personally held off on turning it in until I was done with fishing altogether because Final Fantasy XI's glowing effect graphics are irritating and poorly implemented, especially in first person mode. I didn't want to mess with keeping an extra fishing rod for lockstyle.
Anyway, if you haven't gotten a Fisherman's set yet, now's a great time. We're at the point where it's very easy to catch fish ~25 or so above your level.
- You can fast travel there by going to a Unity Concord NPC and choosing teleport > Level 125 > Strix. If this proves tedious, swap to Insect Ball and instant-catch Moat Carp until you hit 75 catches.
- You'll also hit Tricolored Carp, unfortunately. Just power through it. Alternatively, go to West Ronfaure's pond and fish up Moat Carp.
- If you don't get to 58 by the time you finish this, stay until you do.
TEST ITEM: Bhefhel Marlin
- Selbina-Mhaura Ferry with Slice of Bluetail. Set the regional objective and finish the boat ride targeting marlins. Why waste a perfectly good ticket?
- Gavial Fish may also be available in North Gustaberg, but it's a pain in the ass to get to and involves staring at a noisy waterfall, so let's stick with the calm of the sea.
- This part kind of sucks because a quarter of the time is spent waiting for the boat to depart, so if you want to target a bunch of easy fish with Sinking Minnow and grind it out, go ahead. Cancel the rare Gugrusaurus bite.
- Keep one for later. You should hit 68 by now, but if not, stay until you do.
TEST ITEM: Bladefish
- If you're so lucky to have a Lizard Lure, use it. You will save so much money and/or hassle.
- A bit of a trek, but worth it.
- You'll also hit low level Ogre Eels, so cancel any cast where the stamina depletes immediately.
- You'll hit Bastore Bream (Level 86) as well. Unfortunately, there isn't a way to hit only one of those two fish. You will hook a lot of Nebimonite, so if something instant-catches, cancel it.
- Back for revenge. These are part of Sublime Sushi, so they sell pretty fast all things considered. You'll almost certainly hit 78 before now, but if not, the test item is a small walk away.
TEST ITEM: Three-eyed Fish
- Go to a far corner to avoid Goblin Bounty Hunters getting up in your face too often.
- The bite rate is terrible out here, so it may be better to take a wash and just go for Bluetail with Minnow instead. Also, the furthest east part of the shore seems to be bugged and not give any regular bites period. This is based on going 40 straight minutes with nothing, moving about ten meters west, and getting five in a row.
- I can almost guarantee that you'll hit level 96 before you finish with all of these, but if not, keep at it until you do.
TEST ITEM: Gigant Squid
On the Topic of Ebisu Fishing Rod
I hope you've kept on top of Guild Points. While you'll get enough from objectives to at least get Angler's almanac, you'll also want Serpent Rumors so you can start Indomitable Spirit and begin trading in Lik and Gugrusaurus.
While it might be possible to get Ebisu now, this guide is going to continue on without specifically trying to get it. You will waste more time on breakages and failed casts going for it now rather than waiting for level 110. However, if you absolutely must get it and your freebie Gugrusaurus and Lik didn't do it, you need to get the following items to stand a chance:
- Fisherman's or Angler's Gloves, Fisherman's or Angler's Hose, Fisherman's Smock, Tlahtlamah Glasses, Waders, Fisher's Torque
- Mooching (115,000 Guild Points) in order to use:
- Alternatively, get and use the following
We're going to hold off on the last two regions for now. Don't worry, they're coming.
- After wandering the wilderness for so long, you've finally come back to civilization. You can see and make yells to do more edifying things instead of fishing.
TEST ITEM: Tiger Shark
- Before you can catch this, you need to get Anglers' Almanac from Fennella for 20,000 Guild Points. Once you have that, catch one on the Selbina - Mhaura Ferry using Slice of Carp. You may as well also bring Meatballs and break your rod on a Gugrusaurus.
- These are pretty difficult and require your full attention. I suggest just taking this to 104 or so one or both of the following give skill ups the entire way through.
Now we're back to the regional objectives. You can do these in either order just fine, with pros and cons for each. I prefer the first one.
- The pros of doing this first: Bite rate is good, none of the region's other fish are worthwhile, you can get skill while also getting chances at Dwarf Pugil from Inside the Belly, and they have relatively low stamina compared to other 110+ fish.
- Cons: Can possibly break your rod, although it didn't happen to me. I hope you got your Woodworking to 70+. When you're repairing your rod, make sure no aggro is nearby (it's mostly clear, but a scorpion sometimes wanders nearby) and you have /blockaid on while not in a party. You can't lose a broken Lu Shang's rod by synth failure, but anything that interrupts your synth causes you to lose the rod.
- Pros: These can't break your rod.
- Cons: Bite rate is terrible, you have to stand under a noisy flashing waterfall, Vollbow doesn't have a good filler fish. You're better off fishing Moat Carp downstairs instead to meet the objective.
If you still need Reel Endurance (you almost certainly will), you can fish Moat Carp and wait 28 seconds on each one before reeling it in. However, if you're going for Ebisu and its +1, you need not do such trivial grinding just to get a blue glowing inferior rod a bit sooner.
Congratulations on level 110. Your FFXIAH server rank may have gone up a little, you'll have finished a whole lot of quests, got some titles, made marginal amounts of money, and have a blue number in your craft skills.
I want to once again thank IconicIdea for their great guide and FFXIclopedia for its detailed entries of fish and how to reel them in.