Complete Fishing Guide

  1. Introduction
  2. How to use this guide
  3. Basics of fishing
  4. Important fishing concepts
    1. Fishing Skill vs Fishing Speed
    2. How to gain fishing speed
    3. Locations fishing resources
    4. Types of fish & fishing quests
    5. AFK fishing
    6. Fish length
    7. Fish freshness & dried fish
  5. Making money from fishing
  6. Common fishing misconceptions and questions
    1. Should I travel X distance to the trader to make more money?
    2. Should I throw away my white/green fish when actively fishing?
    3. Should I tick the ‘Throw away junk’ box when AFK fishing?
    4. Is there a quick way to level my fishing?
    5. Do I need to get + fishing speed to AFK fish?
    6. Should I be using thick/steel rods when I can?
    7. Should I use energy to cast?
    8. Should I invest energy in nodes where I will be fishing?
  7. Advanced Fishing Discussion
    1. Named Rods
    2. Harpoons
    3. Floats

  1. Introduction

Hi, my name is Rubgish, I am guild leader of ImperialFishing, a fishing-focused guild on EU Alustin. As of writing this, I am professional 2 3 fishing skill. By itself, that isn’t the highest fishing skill around, but in writing this guide i’ll be taking advantage of the fishing experience of all the other guild members, many of whom have done far more fishing than me. As a result of this, I hope this guide will be a comprehensive introduction to the art of fishing.

I’m also intending to host this on google docs, and I know this can be slow to load, especially with a large number of pictures. As a result of this, i’m intending to keep the quantity of pictures to a minimum. While this might make the guide seem pretty text-dense and not that appealing to the eye, hopefully the faster load speed will make up for it.

  1. How to use this Guide

I am trying to write this guide in such a way that each section will stand on it’s own, so you can just read the bits that are of interest to you. For you experienced fishers out there, you might still be interested in the ‘Advanced fishing’ section at the end of the document, as I feel it covers topics that aren’t as well covered in many other fishing guides.

  1. Basics of Fishing

Getting started in fishing is extremely easy. Pop on over to Velia, and see Crio down by the docks. He’ll sell you a fishing rod (30 durability, +0 fishing speed, usable at any skill), and you can just equip & cast away to your hearts content.

There isn’t much to say about the fishing minigame itself, just type the required letters within the timeframe. Getting perfect on the first part of the minigame skips the second minigame, but does not improve the quality of fish you catch. The longer the combination of letters, the better the fish you will catch. The table below lists how letter combinations correspond to what you catch. (Note: The rules change slightly if you are at a hotspot or have v. high fishing skill.)

Letter Combination
2 - 3
White Fish (~1500 silver), Green fish on 3 (~2500 silver) or Junk (~10 silver)
4 - 5
Green Fish (~2500 silver), Blue Fish on 5 (~6000 silver), Ancient relic Crystal Shard (~150,000 silver), Silver Key
Blue Fish (~6000 silver)
Yellow Fish (~20,000 silver), Orange Fish (100k+ silver)

Once you have caught a nice inventory full of fish, you’ll want to sell them. Fresh fish are classed as a trade good, and so you will have to find a trade manager to sell them. In order to receive maximum value for your fish, you will need to ensure that you have the nodes between where you fished and where you are selling connected. There are plenty of good guides out there that cover this aspect of the game, so I won’t cover how to do it here, but it’s very important for making money, as you’ll only receive 30% value if you don’t have your nodes connected.

Once you’ve sold your fish, that’s about it for the basics of fishing. Enjoy the silver and go fish some more!

  1. Important Fishing Concepts
    1. Fishing Skill vs Fishing Speed (Profession vs Enhancement)

In Black Desert, there are two character-based stats that impact your fishing. These stats are you fishing skill, listed under your professions, and you fishing ability, listed under Enhancement. These are very unhelpfully named and do completely different things, and as a result lots of people call them all sorts of different things.

In this guide, I will refer to the fishing listed under your professions as ‘Fishing Skill’. This is the one that increases the more fish you catch, from beginner -> apprentice -> skilled -> professional etc. The primary impact of this stat is the type of rods you can use.

I will refer to the fishing listed under Enhancement as your fishing speed. This stat is improved by better rods, fishing clothes, food, guild skills etc. This is capped at +5 and decreases the time it takes for you to get a bite. Therefore it is this stat that is the most important for your non-afk fishing. My (quasi-educated) guess is fishing speed works via a 25% reduction in speed for each point of fishing, compounding for each point. The table below shows what I think times are roughly:

Fishing Speed
Average time for bite (seconds)
1 (75%)
2 (56%)
3 (42%)
4 (32%)
5 (24%)

If anyone has better guesses/actually recorded numbers, please do let me know.

  1. How to gain Fishing Speed

Fishing speed can be gained in the following additive ways:
  • Guild skill (+1/2/3)
  • Rod
    • Thick rod +1 (req. Apprentice 10)
    • Steel rod +2 (req. Skilled 5)
    • Golden rod +3 (req. Artisan 1)
  • Fishing outfit
    • Varying from +1 for basic, up to +3 for a +5 Silver Embroidered Fisher’s Clothes
  • Food +1 (various foods, beehive cookies ideally for 90 minute duration)
    • Balenos Special for +2 (~55k extra over beehive cookies, probably minimal value gain for using to get +5)
  • Paste bait
    • +2 for standard
    • +3 for high-quality.

To start out, you are going to struggle to reach +5 speed, as you will only have a basic rod and whatever food you happen to have. I recommend that to begin with, you either make or buy yourself some exotic herbal wine (can be made at any cooking skill), and combine that with whatever paste bait you have at hand.

As a new fisher, talk to Abelin in velia, who will send you to Crio. This starts a quest chain that gets you to equip a fishing rod, catch a mudskipper, dry it, catch some seaweed and finally catch a mackerel, with the final reward being an Apprentice Fisher’s Uniform, which will give you +1 fishing speed (req. Apprentice 10 fishing to wear).

Once you can wear this, you can also use a thick fishing rod, and hopefully you’ve found that you love fishing so much you’ve joined a guild with at least +1 fishing speed. You’ll probably want to craft the thick rods yourself, as they are often bought very quickly when placed on the market. However, once you can make a few bottles of exotic wine and a few thick rods at a time, you will be sorted for a decent fishing speed.

Apprentice Fisher’s Uniform = +1
Guild Bonus = +1
Exotic Herbal wine = +1
Thick rod = +1

This gives a handy +4 even at the early stages of fishing. If your guild has +2 fishing speed, you’re already sorted for +5 and you haven’t even moved on to the best fishing rods yet! My personal setup is +2 from guild, +1 from outfit, +2 from steel rod, meaning I don’t even have to worry about making/carrying food.

  1. Locations Fishing Resources

Every location you fish at has an amount of available resources that changes as more people fish at that location. It starts at abundant, and if many people fish at that location, it’ll drop down to average, not enough, and finally exhausted. This has no impact on the quality of fish you catch at a location, only on the time it takes to hook a fish. In an abundant location with +5 fishing speed, you will hook a fish every 20 seconds or so. If that same location drops down to exhausted, then it’ll take more like 90 seconds to hook a fish. If you’re in an exhausted location with no + fishing speed… you’ll be there a while.

To maximise your efficiency, always try to fish in an abundant location with the highest fishing speed you can reasonably achieve.

  1. Types of Fish & Fishing Quests

Every location you fish at will contain different types of fish, this probably isn’t going to be very important to you unless you specifically need a certain fish for a quest. Fishing quests are currently pretty badly bugged, such that the fish you are told to catch is not actually the fish that the quest wants. If it’s a turn in quest, talk to the NPC after you accept the quest, and that will tell you the actual fish required.

If it’s a ‘catch X number of this fish’ quest, chances are you’re just going to have to fish in the suggested spot til you catch the required fish. As some of the fish wanted are pretty rare, and some of the spots (especially around velia) are exhausted, this can take a while. I have yet to find a fishing quest where the suggested location is incapable of catching the required fish (even if the name is wrong), so you should be able to do all the quests without having to go exploring.

  1. AFK Fishing

To AFK fish, simply cast your line and then leave the game to it. Once you get a bite, a 3-minute countdown begins, at the end of which the game will automatically grab you the fish and re-cast the line. This allows you to go to work/sleep and come back to a full inventory (assuming you leave your computer on).

This 3-minute timer is not impacted by fishing speed, so when AFK fishing, your fishing speed doesn’t make a huge impact. Generally you will be limited by your inventory size and the durability of the rod you are AFK fishing with. You’ll want the most inventory space and highest durability rod you can find. There are ways to speed up AFK fishing, via a specific named fishing rod (see 7.1 - Named rods).

  1. Fish Length
Fish length has no impact on the value of the fish. The only confirmed impact of fish length, is that the maximum you have caught is stored and can be compared against other players in the fish guide (esc->fish guide).

There has been speculation that a greater length of fish increases XP gain, but this is unconfirmed. If it is the case, the impact must be fairly small otherwise it would have been much easier to notice. Therefore I recommend not really worrying about fish length unless you want to win the biggest e-penis competition.

  1. Fish Freshness & Dried Fish

Fish, like any trade good, has a price guarantee. For fish, this can be considered a ‘freshness’ value. The fish is worth more the more recently you caught it. You have about a 3-hour window after you’ve caught a fish before it’s value start to depreciate.  To avoid this, you can either sell your fish within the window, or you can choose to dry your fish, which is a processing action and takes 1 energy, but leaves the fish at a constant value (though much lower than when fresh).

With the exception of storing fish for cooking, drying is not recommended for profit making purposes*.

* At current I don’t believe creating fish-box trade goods is more profitable than selling raw fish, unless you have exceptional processing skills.

  1. Making money from Fishing (or GIMME DAT HOTSPOT)

It’s almost impossible to lose money fishing, but that isn’t to say you will always be making a load of money. There are a few things you can do to increase your revenue and make fishing much more time efficient as a source of income. Sadly, fishing will never surpass grinding as the premier way to make money, however if you aren’t a fan of the grind or prefer relaxation over hardcore gameplay, fishing can easily be your primary source of income.

In order to maximise your fishing income, you will need to invest some money. A fishing boat is not required, but it will make your life significantly easier. As with node connections, i’m not going to write a guide for this here, as there are good guides already available. But being able to move from A->B on the ocean is one of the biggest time-sinks in fishing, and so reducing this time (and effectively increasing your inventory space with the fishing boat storage), is one of the best ways to maximise your income.

The reason for needing to travel is for that most infamous of thing… Hotspots. If you’ve read anything about fishing before now, you’ll probably have heard talk about where to find hotspots and what a hotspot is. A hotspot is a small patch of ocean that contains a far higher quantity of rare fish than it typically would. Not every hotspot is born equal, but they all share the same basic characteristics:
  • You can’t catch Junk. This is the main thing that distinguishes a hotspot from normal ocean.
  • You catch significantly more high-quality (blue and above) fish than at a normal location
  • The fish you catch are (can?) be different to what that location typically gives.

While every hotspot is far better than fishing in a standard area, some hotspots give a higher percentage of yellow fish than others. During the writing of this guide, /u/KongGal on reddit has developed a map of hotspots that can be found here. This is far better a guide than anything I can say when it comes to locating hotspots and the quality of said spots. Please try and help keep the map updated by using This reddit thread to report any spots you find. It only works if everyone contributes!

If you want to make the most money you can, find a yellow hotspot on that map. If at all possible, find an abundant yellow hotspot on the map. If you can manage that (can be difficult given their popularity), then you can easily make 700k-1million an hour actively fishing.

  1. Common Fishing Misconceptions & Questions

  1. Should I travel X-distance to the trader to make more money?

Short answer: Probably not.

Long answer: This somewhat depends on your inventory size and how long it takes you to travel extra nodes. Given each additional node is ~2% increase in fish value, and for a standard inventory you can fit ~50 fish, each additional node you travel is equivalent to catching 1 extra fish. Therefore if you can travel to & from a trader X additional nodes away in less time than it takes you to catch the same number of extra fish, then you should do so. Given active fishing with +5 at abundant takes ~30 seconds to catch a fish, you are unlikely to be able to achieve this.

Further complications come from the fact that traders have prices ranging from 80%-130% for fish, such that travelling to a location may actually /decrease/ the value of the fish you sell, even with the additional distance bonus. Of course, this may also drastically increase the value if the movement is in the opposite direction.

My personal recommendation on selling fish is as follows:
  • Check the closest connected trader to where you are fishing. If they buy your most valuable fish for 115% or higher, sell there.
  • If the price for fish at the closest trader is less than 115%, use market tools to check the price of the fish at nearby connected traders. Find one selling for a decent margin higher (>10% difference), and sell at them instead.
  • If the price is terrible everywhere, cry a little internally and sell anyway. The freshness means it’s not worth holding/storing fish and waiting for a better price later.

  1. Should I throw away my white/green fish when actively fishing?

White/green fish aren’t worth much and take up valuable inventory slots that could be filled with yellow fish instead. However, you don’t need to chuck them, consider drying them instead. This means they stack, and so you’ll only use 2-3 inventory slots. After a big fishing session, you can have a bunch of dried fish that will either sell on the marketplace for a tidy profit, or you can cook yourself up a bunch of fish-based dishes for even more profit and skill gain (dried fish can be substituted for fresh fish in any recipe at a 2:1 ratio)

  1. Should I tick the ‘Throw away junk when auto-fishing’ box?

Yes. Unless you have a giant inventory & a low durability rod, it’s better in terms of profit. Unlike when active fishing, you can’t dry the white fish as you go along, so you’ll end up with a bunch of your inventory that could have been filled with more valueable fish.

  1. Is there a quick way to level my fishing?

Not really no. Catching rarer fish increases your XP, so try to fish at hotspots and you’ll level faster that way.

  1. Do I need to get + fishing speed for AFK fishing?

No. Fishing speed is only really useful for active fishing. If you are gone for more than a couple of hours, you’ll have a full inventory regardless of fishing speed.

  1. Should I be using thick/steel rods if I can?

Yes. The extra durability and fishing speed makes them worthwhile, even though they can cost upwards of 30k silver to purchase. I would recommend making them yourself if possible, as this lowers costs and can avoid problems with lack of availability on the market.

  1. Should I use energy to cast?

No. It’s a total waste of energy.

  1. Should I invest energy in nodes where I will be fishing?

No. You should definitely invest contribution points into the node, but not energy. Investing energy increases the chance for an event to occur (e.g. a mob to drop an item). As an action, fishing is always successful, even if it’s just junk that you catch. Thus the increased drop chance associated with node investment and luck does not impact your fishing. Spend your energy elsewhere!

  1. Advanced Fishing Discussion

If you’re reading this section, I am going to assume you’re pretty good with fishing already, so I’ll be quite brief.

  1. Named Rods
I don’t really see much of a point in any of the current named rods, calpheon is for e-penis, balenos is kinda pointless except for the specific situation where you are AFK for a while, but not long-enough to just fill up your inventory anyway. Epheria seems pointless as i’m constantly limited by inventory size rather than rod durability, as a steel rod is more than enough to fill an entire inventory (If you have >80 slots it may be worth buying the balenos rod). It also makes it much harder to reach +5 fishing speed when you can’t get any buff from your rod (requires guild +3/paste bait/+2 clothing)

This will presumably change once the mediah rod is avaliable, as that actually increases a useful stat - i.e. increases chance to catch a rare fish. It’s yet to be seen if this actually impacts hotspot fishing though, which would make it also pointless if it doesn’t. The reason I say that is that the chance of a ‘rare’ (i.e. blue or better) fish is already 90+% at a good hotspot, so boosting that to 95% would be a super minimal change. However, it’s possible that it could boost blues -> yellows, which would then make it very much worth using.

  1. Harpoons
Harpooning is a fun minigame, but it also lasts ~30 seconds for each catch, and typically gives low rarity fish. When it does hit a high rarity fish, this is great, because they are 50k+ a pop, but it happens so infrequently that it isn’t worth it.

If anyone finds a hotspot that is also harpoonable (perhaps there are unique harpoon hotspots?), then this would be a much better money maker than regular fishing (assuming it was ~50%+ chance of blue or better). At the moment, every fishing hotspot I have checked has not been harpoonable, which is disappointing.

  1. Floats
As with the calpheon rod, the ash tree float is just e-penis modifier, and so isn’t worth it. The maple float however does increase chance to catch a rare fish, so again with the same caveat as the mediah rod, it could be useful so long as it works with hotspots. My guildmate (artisan 4) uses the float, but isn’t keeping accurate track of what difference (if any) it makes to their hotspot fishing.