A Fisherman's Unnecessarily Detailed Guide to Fishing Fish (and wobsters) (2023)

In this thread, I'd like to explain everything I know about fishing using the sea fishing rod. I'm hoping this guide will be helpful to anyone who's completely new to using the item as well as those who've been fishing for a while but don't completely understand the mechanics in-depth.

To start off, I'm going to explain the very basics.

The sea fishing rod has two slots for tackle. The one on top is for a float, and the one on the bottom is for bait.
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Floats determine how far you can cast your rod, and how accurately. Distance is useful in catching fish without moving your boat, and for catching fish more safely, while accuracy is useful for making sure your rod attracts the fish you're looking for, and that it's placed in the best spot for hooking what you'd like to hook. I consider distance to be the more useful stat in many scenarios, though the boss feather quill lures excel in both equally so you don't have to worry about choosing which float to use once you kill the Moose or the Goose or the Malbatross.

Bait determines what fish your hook attracts, from how close a fish has to be to notice itand how likely it is to bite depending on your actions. Most baits also add a small bonus to your casting distance. The effect of bait is halved when it's snowing or raining, unless that bait has a preference to the weather.

There are 3 kinds of re-usable lures:

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Spoons are versatile bait, capable of attracting any fish other than the small veggie-based fishes;Popperfish, Fallounder and Bloomfin Tuna. All spoons are equally as good as each other, but the Sunrise, Dusky and Nightflyer spoons (the first three, pictured in order) only achieve their full effectiveness during their respective times of the day. The bent spork has the same stats as the other three, but it's always as effective as it can be regardless of the time of day.
Spoons have the second lowest chance of getting a fish to bite of all the reusable lures, so you'll likely be using one of the better lures listed below.

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Spinnerbait are overall the strongest bait you can get, but they can only attract large fish (that aren't the Corn Cod). They're very good for fishing deeper into the ocean, as well as fishing Wobsters. Just like with the colored spoons, the Sunrise, Dusky and Nightflyer spinnerbait are most effective at their respective times of the day.

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The Crabby Hermit's lures all have special properties. They can attract any kind of fish with no difference between different kinds, but three of them have conditions that have to be met for them to work:
A Fisherman's Unnecessarily Detailed Guide to Fishing Fish (and wobsters) (5)The stupefying lure will hook fish under any condition, but the chance of hooking any fish is the lowest of all the reusable lures. The stupefying lure's special trait is that it makes fish get tired more quickly, making the stronger fish like the Corn Cod and the Black Catfish significantly easier to catch.
A Fisherman's Unnecessarily Detailed Guide to Fishing Fish (and wobsters) (6)The Snow Day Lure and the Rainy Day Lure are about as good as spinnerbait. Their special trait is that they don't have their effect halved due to weather, meaning that they're as good as spinnerbait is during rain or snow, while spinnerbait are half as good as they usually are.
A Fisherman's Unnecessarily Detailed Guide to Fishing Fish (and wobsters) (7)The heavy weighted lure is sort of strong, but what makes it useful is that it will only attract the heaviest 20% of fish of any species. It's very useful if you're looking for fish to offer the Crabby Hermit or fish to put up in a Fish Scale-O-Matic and impress others.

For most fish, you'll be using one of these baits. Rot, seeds and berries are consumable baits: The fish eats them when it bites. They don't work on many kinds of fish, and for the ones they do work on, the chance of the fish biting are the lowest all available lure. Their only use in fishing, assuming you've already gotten a tackle receptable, is to catch the fish that won't bite spoons: Popperfish, Fallounders and Bloomfin Tunas. The latter two can be given to the Crabby Hermit if they're heavy enough.

Next, I'll explain the process of catching a fish you want:

If you've got the right kind of bait on your hook, all you need to do is cast is near them. Whether the hook lands near them or in a spot that they're swimming towards, you'll know a fish is investigating your hook if it suddenly starts changing its direction for a little bit. Fish will usually bite as long as you have decent bait attached, but they're more likely to bite a moving hook if you're using reusable bait. Just keep your eye on the hook.

When a fish bites, you'll be able to hook it onto your rod using right-click. Once it's hooked, it'll try to swim away. You need to wait during this time. Whenever a fish is trying to swim away, no matter how small it is, you risk snapping your line by reeling in while it's swimming away, and if you snap your line you lose your float and bait.It's best to reel in until your character is barely holding onto their rod. When the fish gets tired, it'll start swimming towards you. Reeling in during this part is important. The tighter your line, the more likely it is for the fish to swim directly towards you. If you don't reel in enough, the fish will unhook itself and get away (though you won't lose your float and reusable bait.)

Catching a fish is demonstrated here. Pay attention to the "reel in" animation from Wormwood:
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With this knowledge, you can catch any fish you want, though some will be harder than others. Below I'll talk about more advanced information regarding fishing.

First, I'd like to talk about line tension. Line tension has 3 stages: low, good and high. You can tell which stage it's at by your character's animation while catching a fish (in the GIF above, the low-tension animation is used before the fish is hooked, the good-tension animation is used for a moment after the fish bites as well as while it's swimming towards Wormwood, and the high-tension animation is seen while the fish is swimming away). It's important to keep line tension as high as possible. If tension is low, fish will be less likely to swim directly towards you, and when they start to swim away, they'll be able to cover a longer distance. The fish will lose stamina when it's trying to swim away while the tension is high (more on that later).

Next, I'd like to talk about a hook's charm. I mentioned earlier that fish are more likely to bite a moving hook. To understand this better, I'll need to explain the stats of every kind of bait. Every type of baithas a charm value, which determines how likely it is for a fish to bite it when it's still. Each type also has a reel charm bonus, which is much extra charm the hook gets while it's moving. Total charm is halved for most bait during rain and snow.I'll list the stats below:

No bait: 10% charm, 0% reel bonus
Spoons: 20% charm, 30% reel bonus
Spinnerbait: 40% charm, 40% reel bonus
Rainy Day/ Snow Day lures: 30% charm, 50% reel bonus
Heavy Weighted lure: 50% charm, 0% reel bonus
Stupefying Lure: 10% charm, 30% reel bonus
Rot: 10% charm, -30% reel bonus
Seeds: 20% charm, -30% reel bonus
Berries: 30% charm, -30% reel bonus

The total charm of a hook is the sum of its base charm and its reel bonus (this bonus gets smaller as more time passes since the hook was last moved). We can figure out how effective a certain type of bait is by adding the two values together (Spinnerbait, for example, would have a maximum of 80% charm: 40% base + 40% reel bonus). Here's a visualization:

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This info on charm tells us a few things:

- Consumable bait loses all its charm when moving if moved, so it's best to leave it completely stationary once cast.
- Most reusable bait is at least twice as effective while moving.
- The stupefying lure is 4 times as good while moving, so making use of the reel bonus is essential.
- The weather lures are equally effective as spinnerbait while moving (80% total charm.)

The charm of a hook is calculated right as a fish is about to start heading for the lure. As you fish more, you'll notice the pattern of movements they do before they start moving towards it. So to maximize the hook's charm, you need to be reeling in when the fish is right about to head in for a nibble. If the fish doesn't bite on its first nibble, it'llstep back for a bit and start heading towards the hook again, which is when you need to reel in again to maximize the chance of it biting on the next nibble. Here's an example of properly timed reels using the stupefying lure:
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The exact chances of the fish biting on the first nibble is equal to the charm of the hook right when it started heading for it. That means that if everything is done correctly, the chance of a fish biting on a spinnerbait on its first nibble is 80%. The chance of the fish biting on every nibble after that is equal to the chance before + 20% of the charm of the hook when it started going for it again. That means that if everything is done correctly, the chances of a fish biting a hook go 80%, 96%, 112%, etc (adding 16% each time, which is 80% times 20%). If you don't reel in at all, the chances are 40%, 48%, 56%, 64%, etc... We can call this chance the fish's "interest" in the hook. If the interest reaches 85%, then the fish is guaranteed to bite. That means that, if you reel in at the right times, you'll always hook a fish on either its first nibble (80% chance) or second nibble using spinnerbait/weather lures. In the GIF above, you can see the maximum interest intervals of a stupefying lure: 40%, 48%, 56% (and the interestwas increased to 64% right before the fish bit.)

Now I'd like to talk about stamina. Stamina determines for how long a fish will try to run away. When a fish is hooked, it's set to 100%. As mentioned earlier, it decreases while a fish is trying to swim away while the line tension is high. Stamina isn't a timer, it's a stat that determines the length of the timer. The stupefying lure has the special property of greatly increasing stamina drain, bringing it down to 0 in about a single second. This means that time "run away" intervals are set to their minimum duration. Here's a comparison between spinnerbait (top) and the stupefying lure (bottom):

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I believe at this point, I've explained everything I know about the mechanics of catching fish. Now I'd like to mention how I find and best catch the fish I need.

I'd like to start with the most essential fish to survival at sea: the deep bass. You can find deep bass in the medium-depth water (internally called the swell, so I'm going with that.) You can find them mainly in large stationary shoals. These shoals have a map icon:
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I usually look for areas that have at least two of them kind of close to each other, for example:


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You can find a LOT of deep bass in these shoals. The shoals are great because one, they're stationary so you can always go there when you need food. Two, they have deep bass, which is the easiest kind of fish to catch quickly. You can amass large amounts of deep bass in your tin fishin' bins if you use your rod correctly. But there's one drawback to these shoals: The Malbatross doesn't like when you fish in them. I've developed a strategy to keep myself safe from the Malbatross, since just being near it risks it flying into and smashing your masts. When I get to a shoal and I'm not sure where the Malbatross is, I put my boat to a full stop some distance away from the shoal's map icon, I turn my sails away from it and I raise my anchor (without moving my boat.) I start fishing from afar after that. That way, if the bird shows up, I can quickly raise (or drop) my masts to quickly get out before I get my precious masts smashed. Once you know where the bird is, you can expect it to stay there for sometime around 3 days since you last saw it. You can safely fish during this time, but you must not forget the last time you saw it. If you forget, it's best to fish the safe way until you see it again. If you decide to kill it (which is what I often do), you can expect it to be gone for 5-15 days.

And now, I'd like to talk about the seasonal fishes.

All four seasonal fishes are good for trading with the Crabby Hermit. If you give her one that's in the top 30% of its weight group, she'll give you a tackle sketch (and might start selling you more stuff.) The weights required for the four seasonal fish are listed below:


Fallounder - 39.77
Ice Bream - 246.76
Bloomfin Tuna - 60.44
Scorching Sunfish - 52.09

Use a Pocket Scale to measure the fish you catch and determine if they're heavy enough for her.

Three of these four fishes spawn in the swell, which is the same area the shoals spawn in. So when I'm looking for the seasonal fishes, my strategy is usually to go from shoal to shoal, gathering large amounts of deep bass while I keep an eye out for these fishes. They're sort of rare, so I often find myself spending a lot of time in the ocean looking for them. The only one of them that doesn't spawn in the swell is the Bloomfin Tuna, which spawns in coastal waters during the spring. To catch these, I just hang out on land near the shore, building a base or gathering resources, and keep an eye out for them.

Keeping a handful of Ice Breams and Scorching Sunfish for the summer and winter is a good idea, since holding them in your inventory keeps you from overheating or freezing. The scorching sunfish in particular saves on a lot of fire fuel during the winter.

Lastly, Wobsters.

You can find wobster dens seemingly anywhere near the shore. The wobsters come out at dusk and nighttime, and go back into their dens during the daytime. To fish them, I usually use spinnerbait or weather lures, and what I'll do is cast my rod a bit ahead of them. That way, when I reel in, the hook moves towards them, giving me the reel charm bonus and getting the hook closer to them.

Wobsters can only be used in the crockpot alive. But that doesn't make them bad. You can store them in tin fishin' bins. And in the crockpot, they are equivalent to one raw fish or large fish. That means that they can be used as a substitute for regular meat, provided you only use one (two will probably end up making Surf 'n' Turf instead, which has a low hunger stat.) There are some good recipes you can do with wobsters:
- 1 Wobster, 1 Monster Meat, 1 Meat, 1 Bull Kelp = Meaty Stew (150 hunger)
- 1 Wobster, 1 Monster Meat, 2 Honey = Honey Ham (75 hunger, 30 health and doesn't need regular meat)
- 1 Wobster, 1 Ice, 2 Honey/Twigs/Ice= Lobster Bisque (60 health)
- 2 Wobsters, 2 Monster Meat = Surf 'n' Turf (60 health and 33 sanity)
(note that these recipes can also be done with raw fish. if you really want to get hunger out of your raw fish, dry it for regular jerky and cook whatever you'd like)
Wobsters feel very worth catching for their use in the crockpot. Even as Wurt, I often catch some every time I pass by the dens near our base to put them in the Tin Fishin' Bins for my friends to use.

And with that, I believe I've wrote down everything I can recall concerning fishing. I've been obsessively doing it since Hook, Line & Inker and I think it can be a lot of fun to get into, especially once you get good enough at catching tons of deep bass quickly. Please let me know if I missed anything, or if you have any strategies or tips I didn't list in this post.

As for how I made those GIFs above, I made a mod to visualize the info I was saying, both to make GIFs for this thread and to confirm the information I was listing was accurate. I'll upload the mod here in case anyone would like to try it out for themselves: just note that it only works when hosting WITHOUT caves.
Malbatross Float Tracker.zip

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