Hey guys, welcome to my in-depth guide to fishing in Black Desert Online.
I’m going to start out by walking you through the basics of how to get started and then I’ll dive into some of the more complex mechanics, as well as some of my thoughts on fishing in general.
It’s worth noting that I’ve tried to gather as much information as I can through my own testing and talking to other top fisherman on my server, but there is still a lot we don’t know for sure about certain mechanics.
With that said, to get started, you can just head to a fishing NPC and grab a fishing rod for 500 silver. These NPCs can be found by looking for a small blue fish icon on your map. If you’re interested in doing the questline, just follow the beginning quest line from Olvia into Velia.If you do most of the quests along the way, you should be able to pick up a quest in Velia that will send you to talk to the NPCs at the docks. It seems the main rewards of the quests are bait, which can be a nice boost when you’re just starting out but isn’t necessary. I’ll explain what bait does later in the video when I cover fishing buffs, but from what I can tell, the quests are NOT necessary at all and the quests themselves actually have bugged dialogue which can be annoying to deal with. An example of this is one quest’s dialogue tells you to catch an Angler and the objective even says to capture an Angler, but when you go to turn it in it says it requires a Gunnel. Not all of the quests are bugged in this way, but after a certain point it seems the majority of them are. Another quest said to catch a Swellfish, but didn’t require that for the objective, so I went and caught what I ACTUALLY needed for the quest objective. Then the next quest in the chain required me to sell Swellfish to the nearby trade manager for a profit. I went to sell the fish I caught and it didn’t fulfill the objective. I can only assume that the quest text for that quest was actually correct and DID require Swellfish OR it required some other random fish. At that point I just stopped doing the quests since I was only really getting bait, which again, is nice but not necessary. It might be worth it to do the quests until you get the Apprentice Fisher’s Clothes from one of the quest rewards fairly early in the quest chain. They give +1 fishing ability, which I will discuss later, but again, it’s unnecessary. I have seen mention of a rod called a Triple-Float Rod that is apparently supposed to come from this quest line that is not repairable, but allows you to catch three fish at once. It seems as though it’s not currently available, but I just wanted to make a note of it here.
Okay, you’ve got your fishing rod and you’re ready to begin fishing. In order to start fishing, you simply need to approach any body of water, equip your fishing rod, and press space to begin. Keep in mind, when you have a fishing rod equipped you can not access certain UI features such as the map and the pearl shop(if you really want to, you can type /reloadui and press M while the game appears frozen for a few seconds to access the map). If you want to use your map to dump energy into a node or something, you need to unequip it. When you first press spacebar to cast your line, you can hold it down to spend energy to potentially increase the quality of fish you will catch from that cast. It will only consume your energy if you spend 10 or more, but this is a pretty terrible way to spend energy so I wouldn’t bother with it. Now, after you’ve pressed space you need to wait for a bite. This can take anywhere from about 15 seconds roughly to a minute or even longer in some cases. It’s based on several factors, the major ones being your fishing ability and the resources of the area you are fishing in. Fishing ability is a direct buff to the time it takes to get a bite that can be obtained from outfits, food buffs, rods, guild perks, elixirs, and bait. I’ll talk a bit more about these later in the video, but you’ll want to sustain +5 fishing ability if at all possible. I believe +5 is equal to about 20% increased speed, but don’t quote me on that. The fishing resources of an area can be seen at the top of the screen whenever you have a rod or harpoon equipped. In order from best to worst, they will be abundant, average, not enough, or exhausted. The fishing resources of all areas start at abundant and decrease over time if there are many people fishing in the area. Abundant is generally the best option for speed and catching fish instead of garbage. Resources DO seem to be shared across all channels on a server, so you can’t just switch channels and hope your spot is still abundant somewhere else. Once you get a bite, you can either press spacebar to begin a minigame or you can do nothing and after 2 minutes the fish will automatically be captured. If you let it go without doing anything, it will fish until you have a full inventory OR until your rod breaks. This is called auto fishing or afk fishing and it’s a good way to make money while you’re not at your computer. You can check a box at the top of the screen to discard any useless items obtained while auto fishing, right under where it shows resources. This will discard not only gray quality items but also any white quality fish, so you will only keep green quality or higher.
If you want to actively fish, you can press spacebar to enter the minigame once you’ve gotten a bite. There’s two parts to it, the first you need to time hitting spacebar once the bar on the screen passes the red zone. If you hit the spacebar at the perfect time and get the bar when it’s all the way to the right you will get a “Perfect” and you will instantly catch the fish and will not need to do the next part of the minigame. Getting a perfect does not increase the quality of the fish, nor does it increase the experience you gain. If you fail to get a perfect, the second part of the minigame will show a random sequence of up to 10 characters you will need to press correctly before the time runs out in order to succeed. The only keys you will ever need to press are W, A, S, and D. Generally you can determine the quality of the fish or the item you’re catching by the length of the key combo you need to enter. Gray and White quality are generally 3 keys or less, green quality is usually 3 to 4 keys, blue quality can be anywhere from 4 to 6 keys, and yellow quality is generally 7 or higher. There may be a few exceptions to these, but generally that’s what you’ll tend to find. The highest key combo I’ve ever encountered is a 9-key combo. I have never seen a 10-key combo, and I’ve never heard of anyone getting one. There IS a quality of fish that is higher than yellow, but I’m not convinced they’re even in the game yet. The color quality is that of a deep orange or red orange. There will be some links below that include some images of all the fish in the game, which I believe are from the Korean version. Unfortunately, they aren’t images of the tooltips. They’re images of the fish as seen when talking to a trade manager. The prices on the fish in these images are not the same as what the fish sell for on the NA and EU versions of the game.
Now that you know how to get started in fishing, you’re probably wondering the best way to make money with it. It’s pretty simple, BUT do not expect to make more money fishing than you would grinding. When you finally get a full inventory of fish, you will need to go to a trade manager NPC in order to sell them. You can not sell them to normal vendors and you can not sell them on the marketplace unless you dry them by processing them, but this significantly reduces their value. It may be worth it to dry white quality fish while you’re out fishing since they will stack when dried and then keep green and above to sell to a trade manager, but this really depends on how far you are from a trade manager. In order to find a trade manager, you can look for an icon on your map that looks like a bag of coins, or if you’re fishing on islands, any island with an icon that has a sort of red circle as a background will have a node manager you can sell them to. You can take them to a trade manager that’s far away and sell them at a higher price because there is a distance bonus involved in the value of a fish(or any trade good), but generally it’s best to fish while being within a minute away from a trade manager and just sell to them. That way you can spend more time fishing and less time travelling. This is also the optimal way to do it if you’re looking to level fishing as fast as possible. When you are selling to a trade manager you MUST have at least one open inventory slot, otherwise it will not let you sell to them. I don’t know why, but just make sure you have an open slot. It really sucks to use your energy trying to bargain with a trade manager only to find out you can’t even sell your fish because you have no open inventory slots. Speaking of bargaining, the minigame isn’t very self explanatory. The objective is to make each side completely level with eachother. The best way I’ve found to do it is to click the red option until it’s very close to being even, then use the other option. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it’s the most consistent method I’ve found just by messing around with it.
Fishing Rods & Floats
The next topic I want to cover is optimization. This is the part where I will talk about rods, floats, and fishing buffs.
Fishing rods are important to consider since there’s many different types. The rods that are currently in the NA and EU versions of the game are the basic rods which you can purchase from fishing NPCs, thick rods, steel rods, golden rods, and then the artisan rods. The artisan rods are repairable and upgradeable via weapon blackstones. They each have a unique effect that increases when upgraded. There are currently four artisan rods in the game and those are the Calpheon Rod, Balenos Rod, Epheria Rod, and Mediah Rod. All of these rods can be crafted in Tool Workshops. The basic rod gives no special bonuses, but the Thick, Steel, and Golden rods each have increased durability and they also increase the general quality of fish you get, or to be more concise you will catch better quality fish more often while using them. These rods also increase your fishing ability. The Thick Rod gives +1, the Steel Rod gives +2, and the Golden Rod gives +3. I’m unsure whether or not the chance to catch better quality fish increases with each one. I haven’t had the opportunity to use a Golden Rod yet, so I can’t really say much on that front, BUT you will want to use any of these as soon as you are able. They are far superior to the basic rod.
Now, as I said before, the Artisan Rods each have a special effect. The Epheria Rod has 50 durability and its special effect is that it gains +10 max durability for every enhancement level. This makes it best for long-term auto fishing.
The Balenos Rod reduces the time it takes to auto fish by (I believe) 10% and then scales up with 5 durability and +1% to the auto fishing bonus per enhancement level.
The Calpheon Rod is the only Artisan Rod I’ve actually used and that’s because when I first read it I actually misread it and thought it increased the chance to catch rare fish, but it actually says it increases the chance to catch a big fish. So what the hell does that mean? Well, initially I assumed it meant the actual size stat of the fish. When you catch a fish and it tells you what you caught it’ll have a number in parentheses after it. That’s its size. There’s actually leaderboards for the size of each type of fish. If you press escape and click the Fishing Guide, you’ll be able to see them there. So this is what I assumed until I started harpooning. The blue/yellow quality fish you get from harpooning all specifically say on their tooltips whether they are a “Large fish” or a “Rare fish”. So why does that matter? Well, the Mediah Rod says that it increases the chance to catch rare fish. The thing is, currently the only fish in the game that people can catch with rods at the moment that actually specifically states it is a “Rare fish” or a “Large fish” is the Coelacanth. It’s marked as a rare fish. Unless there’s other fish in the game that can be caught with a rod that are labeled “Large” or “Rare”, whether unreleased or simply haven’t been discovered yet, then I have no idea what the Calpheon Rod is supposed to do. The tooltips and the fact that there is a size value for fish make it hard to determine. What I CAN say is that I have used a Calpheon Rod quite a bit and I consistently catch better quality fish when using Steel Rods. Plus I get the benefit of +2 fishing ability. I have seen claims that the Calpheon Rod actually does increase the chance to catch blue and yellow quality fish, but for every person I see that makes that claim, there’s several others that say it doesn’t. Some claim you need to upgrade it a bunch to see a difference, yet I’ve talked to people who have used +4 or higher Calpheon Rods and see no difference. So, my personal advice would be to ignore the Calpheon Rod for now and just use Steel Rods instead.
Once you reach Professional level 1 Fishing, you’ll be able to use your first float. These are repairable offhand items that can be used with rods and they can be upgraded with weapon blackstones. Floats can NOT be used with harpoons. There are currently two floats in the game. The first one you will be able to use is the Ash Tree Float, which says it increases the chance for you to catch a big fish. Just like the Calpheon Rod, my opinion on this is that it’s not worth using, BUT you don’t have to sacrifice a better item for it when you can first use it, so it doesn’t really hurt to pick one up. The second float is usable at Artisan level 1 and it is the Maple Float. Like the Mediah Rod, it says it increases the chance to catch rare fish. Whether this means fish like the Coelacanth, or just higher quality fish in general, this is probably worth picking up as soon as you can use it.
Next, I will discuss the different ways you can buff your fishing ability so you can figure out the best way for you to hit the cap of +5. Aside from rods, there are outfits, food buffs, bait, and guild perks.
The most common outfit you’ll find people using is the Silver Embroidered outfit. There’s one for pretty much any profession, and the reason it’s popular is because it can be crafted and upgraded to +5 for additional bonuses such as bonus experience for whichever skill the outfit is for. At +5, a Silver Embroidered Fisher’s Oufit will give +3 fishing ability, +4 movement speed, and +35% bonus exp for fishing. When upgrading these, they basically act like accessories. They have an incredibly high rate of failure and you need to sacrifice another set of the clothes of the same type in order to attempt an upgrade. When you fail an upgrade, both the set to be upgraded and the set you were sacrificing are permanently destroyed and you will need to work your way back up. There are two other outfits I know of aside from this one, and those are the Apprentice Fisher’s Outfit and a Professional version. The Apprentice clothes AND the Professional clothes both give +1 fishing ability, while the Professional version has an additional bonus of +10% fishing experience. The Apprentice clothes are obtained fairly early in the fishing quest chain that begins in Velia and the Professional clothes are obtained from a reward once you hit Artisan level 1. There is also the fish costume from the pearl shop but I wouldn’t buy it unless you really want the increased speed while swimming. It’s too easy to hit +5 fishing ability without it.
Next up, there is bait. Bait provides a short-term buff to fishing ability. The buff lasts 5 minutes, so it’s not suited for auto fishing. As I said in the questline portion of my guide, bait is nice when you’re first starting out because you’re struggling to reach the cap on fishing ability, but as you become a bit more established within the game, you’ll find it’s easy to hit the cap without bait. For instance, once you join a guild that has a fishing perk, you’ll just always have a free buff to your fishing ability active. I believe the buff caps at +3, too, so like I said, it can be really easy to not have to depend on bait to hit +5.
Lastly, we have food buffs. These last anywhere from 30 minutes to 110 minutes and can provide you with a temporary way to increase your fishing ability. The main three I’d like to mention are Fruit Wine, Beehive Cookie, and the Balenos Special. Fruit Wine provides you with +1 fishing ability for 60 minutes, is easy to get, and is fairly affordable. Beehive Cookies cost a bit more, but give you +1 fishing ability and +50 max carry weight for 90 minutes. The Balenos Special provides +2 fishing ability, +2 movement speed, and +2 gathering speed for 90 minutes. There are variations of these and other types of food that can boost fishing as well, but these are the most commonly used and readily available.
The last topic I will cover here is harpooning. I’ve done quite a bit of harpooning and I’ll say this: If your objective is to make money or level fishing, don’t go harpooning. If you want to try it out and/or want to see what you can get, then go for it, but just know it’s no where near as profitable as fishing, unless you manage to get extremely lucky and snag a couple Sperm Whales.
In order to harpoon, you will need either a Thin or Thick Harpoon which can be crafted in Ilyia or bought on the marketplace. You will need to be on a Fishing Boat and you will need to be “in deep water”. Generally I’ve found that if I’m too close to land it just won’t ever let me get a bite and I’ll have to move further out, but this isn’t always the case, so it’s not really a case of having to be X distance away from land. I’ve been in spots where my minimap was only showing water and still unable to get a bite for 5+ minutes. Once you’ve found a spot where you get bites, you’ll find the minigame is different than normal fishing and takes much longer to complete. Once you hit spacebar to begin, you’ll have to use your mouse to follow a fish around on your screen then press spacebar to hit it with a harpoon once you’re close enough. It ALWAYS takes 10 hits to deplete the fish’s health bar and you have 15 attempts. The radius in which you can land a hit is very generous, though, so it’s not difficult to accomplish. The lower the health gets, the slower the fish will go, and the easier it will be to hit. There is no indicator for the quality of the fish you’re about to catch like how normal fishing will hint at what you’re catching with the length of the key combo you have to enter. That said, like 90%+ of what you catch will be green fish that can be caught through normal fishing. If you get lucky, you’ll catch a blue+ quality fish that is unique to harpooning. It seems that if you catch a blue or higher quality fish, it will always be a harpoon-unique fish. These are all generally worth a lot more than their fishing rod equivalents, but they’re much more rare. Everything I’ve caught that was blue quality or higher was worth at least ~40k or more, but more were between 40k and 50k. The only real exception is the Sperm Whale which has a tooltip value of 175k, which is more than the Coelacanth. If there are hot spots for harpooning, then this could potentially be much more lucrative than normal fishing if you know where to look, but normal harpooning doesn’t seem to be worth it. I will include some images of harpoon-specific fish I’ve caught below.
I hope this helps people out, and if there’s anything I didn’t cover or forgot to include, feel free to ask about it. I’ll try to answer if I can, and if not, maybe someone else can help!
All(?) the fish in Black Desert Online!
Fish I’ve caught from harpooning