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Final Fantasy XI Fishing Guide: The Journey

The Fishing Guild

The Journey Points of Interest

Written by: Esta

Fishing 101: Getting Started

People often ask me, "Can you make money fishing, because it seems worthless to me?" And my standard answer is, "Yes, but it takes just as much attention as other crafts." You need to pay attention to the market: look at the Auction House and find out what is in high demand and go fish that up. Or raise Cooking or Alchemy or some other craft and turn your fish into something that sells well on the Auction House. Alternatively, you could catch your fish and sell them to an NPC. But think about it this way: Fishing is the only craft where you get paid to raise your skill. No matter how bad your catches are when you fish, you still earn money every time you reel in a fish.

Until the fishing update early in 2005, all you had to do was sit around and hit a macro. That made fishing pretty boring. With the current fishing system, excitement has been introduced by forcing the player to fight a fish to reel it in. This makes it seem more like you are actually fishing. Surprisingly, this has turned a lot of people off from fishing, but that is all their loss. Not only is fishing more fun because of the change, but skillups come a little quicker too, making it not as much of a pain to raise your fishing skill as it used to be.

What and Where?

The first step to fishing is getting a rod and some bait. There are many different rods and each has a different attribute associated with it. Some rods make it easier to catch a certain fish, while some rods snap every time you fish with them in a certain area. To know more about the abilities of rods, including prices and where to get them, see Fishing 110: Rods and Bait. That section also covers what bait you need to catch each fish.

Assuming you are starting at level 0 and have never fished before, a good place to start is with a Bamboo Fishing Rod and use Little Worms as bait. If you have the money though, go for a Hume Fishing Rod or Halcyon Rod because they will not break on these low level fish you are looking for. In my experience, Windurst Woods, Windurst Walls, and Windurst Waters are the best places to start fishing. Due to the fish that you can catch in these three zones, you will have a greater success rate and, therefore, make a little more money. If you are unable to get to these zones yet, Port San d'Oria or Bastok Markets (Waterway) will do. (Note: there is a difference between the Waterway and River areas of Bastok Markets: the River is the one that looks like a river that flows and runs under the bridge that leads to Bastok Mines).

If you want to venture out of town (because fish tend to bite more outside of city limits), I would suggest heading to West Ronfaure (Knightwell), around (G-10). This is one of the premier Moat Carp fishing spots in Vana'diel. Any time though, the fishing instinct message pops up with !!! at the end, you should release whatever has bit because it will likely break your rod; do this by hitting Escape to cancel. In fact, any time you are not fishing for large fish or items and that message pops up, you should cancel because it is either a large fish, a monster, or an item.

Note: If you can get your hands on a Penguin Ring, it will help your fishing skillups a lot. I have seen screenshots of people getting a full level in 7 casts. See Fishing 311: Advanced Quests (Fish Ranking) for info on how to get one.

Fishing 102: Levels 0-11 (You Lost Your Catch)

The two fish that you are after are Crayfish and Moat Carp. Crayfish don't sell for much, but they are good for skillups early on. Moat Carp, on the other hand, are good money and can be used in a quest for Lu Shung’s Fishing Rod: The Rivalry or The Competition (depending on who you accept the quest from) or sold on the Auction House. Before starting the quest for Lu I would suggest fishing for a week or so and seeing if you like it. If you do, you should look up the quest and decide if you want to go for it or not (it takes a VERY long time to complete, so be prepared).

There is a standard 2 second delay between when you reel in your line and when you can fish again. That means that you can make a macro that looks like this:

/echo Fishing
/wait 2

The "/echo Fishing" is in there to make sure that the macro has started (sometimes macros mess up and don't start). If you see "Fishing" pop up in the chat log, you know the macro has started. Two seconds later you should be fishing, and you just need to wait for something to bite your bait. Once something has caught on the line, one of several different messages will pop up, after the "Something caught the hook!" message. These extra messages are termed as a Fisherman’s Instinct. At very low fishing skill levels, you can ignore this instinct because, like in life, you don’t know much right when you are starting out and you could very easily be wrong (meaning that the message in your log will probably be wrong too). For more about fishing instincts, see Fishing 410: Fishing Instinct.

Once the fish is on the line, you will need to fight it until it's stamina is reduced, to zero if you can. You can see a fish’s stamina in the bottom right of your screen, just above your name with your HP and MP (where a mob’s HP would show up if you were battling against it). Wait until the rod swings to the left or right on your screen. When the rod swings, think of it as if the fish was swimming away from you in that direction. Therefore, you need to counteract that pull by pulling your rod the opposite way. This will start to reduce the fish's stamina. If the rod comes back to an upright position, don't pull the rod either way because you will give stamina back to the fish. You can also give stamina back to the fish by pushing the rod the same way that it is being tugged by the fish (because you are making it easier for the fish to get away). If you have reduced the fish's stamina to zero, you want to try and pull it up. (You may need to pull it up early if time is running out: a message will show up saying that you're running out of time.) Pull it in by hitting the Enter key (and cross your fingers!) You can see a demonstration of this from Laughing Lizard out the Fishing Guild in Port Windurst.

I say cross your fingers because you don't have a very high chance of pulling up fish when you are level 0; most of the time you will probably see, "You lost your catch." Hopefully that message will be accompanied by, "Your fishing skill raises 0.2.", but don’t count on it. Skillups are few and far between. You have a much lower chance at getting a skillup in fishing than you do in any other craft, but that is because you can fish a lot more and you get paid to fish.

Sometimes when you try and pull up a fish high above your skill level or an item (like a Rusty Bucket) that is too heavy, you might break your fishing rod. This isn't fun, but it happens. You can, however, repair fishing rods; but with the fishing rods used at low levels, it is not economically worth it. You can try and sell the broken ones on the Auction House, or just sell them to an NPC. Go ahead and buy another Bamboo Fishing Rod (or a different rod of your choice) so that you can try and get more skillups and fish. Even with the chance of breaking your rod, you should be able to cover the cost of a new one with the fish that you catch. If you enjoy fishing, you can look to invest in a better fishing rod. For more info on rods, please see Fishing 110: Rods and Bait. Don't just dive into an expensive rod at first, because if you break that one, you will probably be kicking yourself for a while.

That should get you started on fishing. Test out the waters and see if you like it. Fishing can be tedious to start with, but bear with it for a while because it can be very profitable later on. To help you get through the levels, try getting a few fishing buddies so that you can talk to them and fish at the same time.

Fishing 201: Skill Caps

Fishing, just like every other craft, has skill cap levels where you need to turn in an item (in this case, a fish) in order to receive more skillups. The first thing to do is go to the fishing guild in Port Windurst and talk to Thubu Parohren, the Fishing Guildmaster. She will give you information about fishing. When you have reached level 8, you will be able to take your first fishing test. Talk to Thubu Parohren and she'll tell you what fish you need to turn in (in this case, a Moat Carp), and trade it to her.

You can continue fishing until your reach level 10 without turning in the requested fish. However, if you have not yet taken the test, your Fishing skill will turn blue (in the Crafts section of your profile) and you will not receive any more skillups. Make sure that you turn in the item and get promoted to a new rank. I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be going a few days without getting a skillup and then realizing that I forgot to turn in the rank item.

Every time you reach the *8 level of each rank, you will be able to turn in your next item. This item always goes to Thubu Parohren. The following is a list of the items needed and the rank you will be given for each:

Skill Level Required Fish Rank Obtained
8-10 Moat Carp Recruit
18-20 Cheval Salmon Initiate
28-30 Giant Catfish Novice
38-40 Gugru Tuna Apprentice
48-50 Monke-Onke Journeyman
58-60 Bhefhel Marlin Craftsman
68-70 Bladefish Artisan
78-80 Three-Eyed Fish Adept
88-90 Gigant Squid Veteran

One last note about the skill cap fish: if you do not wish to follow the rest of this guide, or you get bored fishing, or are not experiencing good skillups (or for whatever reason), these "rank fish" usually provide a good skillup rate. They are often a little tougher to catch than other fish because of the surrounding dangers. However, if you don't mind the dangers, these may be worthwhile for you.

Fishing 202: Levels 11-27 (Do I really want to do this?)

By now you have got the hang of fishing and are pulling in a good amount of Moat Carp (and making some good money on them, if you are selling them at the Auction House). If you have not yet decided, it is time for you to think seriously about going for Lu Shang’s Fishing Rod. It is by no means a requirement for you to start going for it now, but it is a way to get a head-start on the quest (see Fishing 311: Advanced Quests). Your next location for fishing depends on which route you want to take (to Lu or not to Lu?)

If you choose to go for Lu, as a safe trip, an easy choice is going to Port San d'Oria and fishing there. This is a good place to fish because the NPCs are located here that you you need to trade Moat Carp to for the Lu quest. I have found, though, that Port San d'Oria becomes "fished up" very easily, meaning that it runs out of fish and you need to wait a little before fishing again. If you have an Airship Pass and don't mind traveling a little, I would suggest Bastok Markets (Waterway) because it provides you with a much greater percentage of fish caught.

In each area you can catch many Moat Carp while catching Tricolored Carp, which cap at 27. In Bastok Markets (River) (with Little Worms, not Insect Balls), you can target Dark Bass instead of Tricolored Carp; the Dark Bass cap at 33. Due to how far Tricolored Carp and Dark Bass are above your level (assuming you're at 11), skillups will be slow from 11-17, so be wary of taking this route. The advantage is that you are catch a lot of Moat Carp and you are slowly getting closer to Lu.

Also, if you choose to go this route, I would suggest investing in a Hume Fishing Rod, Halcyon Rod, or a Mithran Fishing Rod. The first two fishing rods are designed for quickly reducing the stamina of carp, making these fish easier and quicker to catch; however, there is still a possibility of them breaking in these areas. The Mithran Fishing Rod is stronger and will not break in these areas, but it does not reduce stamina quite as quickly. You might also want to invest in Insect Balls because these are supposed to target carp better than Little Worms (that is what I have been told by many fishermen even though I experience better results using Little Worms). Insect Balls can be crafted by a Cook and cap at level 29. It is cheaper to make these for yourself rather than buying them. And if you make them, you can get skillups in another craft. To see more on fishing related crafting, please see Fishing 210: Fishing and Crafting.

For the Lu Shang’s Fishing Rod quest, you can turn in Forest Carp (21) as well as Moat Carp. Forest Carp are only found in Yhoator Jungle (Underground) (J-11 is a great location) and Yuhtunga Jungle (Pond/Underground). If you can get here and fish safely, it is a wonderful place to level until you hit fishing level 21.

A final outdoor location that is wonderful up until 56 is Jugner Forest at Lake Mechieume. With Little Worms you can catch Moat Carp, Tricolored Carp, and the occasional Gold Carp, all while catching Crayfish, Dark Bass and Giant Catfish. Take care though, the Giant Catfish are big fish, so are followed by a !!! in the fishing instinct message, so there is a chance there is an item there that breaks your rod. I would suggest Insect Balls so that you can target carp and cancel the !!! bites. The Halcyon Rod is great here, as well.

Fishing in Selbina

If you don't care about going for Lu quite yet and desire skillups more, you can still fish for those Tricolored Carp, but as stated, skillups will be slow for the first 7 or 8 levels. A better fish to go for would be Quus (19). These can be easily found in Selbina. If you fish with Lugworms or Sardine Balls, you will be able to target Greedie (14) as well. You can also catch Fat Greedie (23) which are used in the Under the Sea quest. If you have access to Norg, you are able to catch both Yellow Globe (17) and Quus (19) with a Sabiki Rig.

After hitting 19, you have two other choices, beyond the options listed above. You can head to Bastok Markets (River) and use a Minnow, Sinking Minnow or Frog Lure to target Giant Catfish (31) and Dark Bass (33). Because of the strength of Giant Catfish and the size of Dark Bass I would suggest using a Mithran Fishing Rod if you can afford it. If not, use a Single Hook Fishing Rod, Clothespole or Halcyon Rod because all other small rods will break on the catfish. If you are tired of city fishing, you can hop on the Ferry from Selbina or Mhuara and using a Shrimp Lure and a Mithran Fishing Rod or Halcyon Rod (or some other small rod.) You can fish for Nebimonite which cap at 27. Nebimonite are small, fairly easy to catch fish, but they do not bite nearly as much as fish inside the cities do. Also beware of the dangers you can find on the Ferry. For more on the dangers, please see Fishing 301: Levels 28-40 (Deep-Sea Fishing). As a tip here, if you see massive sweat balls flying off your rod when you hook a fish, let it go, do not try and reel it in, as you might break your Shrimp Lure and whichever rod you use.

Whichever route you decide to take, don't forget to turn in your Skillup Item when you reach level 18-20.

Fishing 301: Levels 28-40 (Deep Sea Fishing)

If your goal is Lu Shang's Fishing Rod, now is not yet the time for Deep-Sea Fishing. For now, I would keep at it in Port San d'Oria or Bastok Markets (River). Skillups in Port San d'Orea will be especially hard to come now because you will be level 27 targeting Gold Carp, a level 56 fish. The advantage, once again, is that you are catching Moat Carp and you are very close to where you need to be to turn them in for Lu. Bastok Markets (River) is a much more ideal place to fish because you can target Dark Bass (33) and Black Eel (46) with Little Worms. If you get tired of Bastok Markets (River) you can make your way to Zehrun Mines and use Little Worms to target Moat Carp, Tricolored Carp, and Black Eel. Either way will take you up to level 40.

If you are not interested in Lu or want a fun and exciting change of scenery, it's time to head to the Ferry, that runs from Selbina to Mhuara. For this, you will be fighting Gugru Tuna (41) as well as some other big fish. I found the best bait for these to be Sliced Sardines (can be made with Cooking level 11). However, they also target Bluetail (55) and Noble Lady (65). Be prepared if you take the Ferry, because you can encounter many things along this path. For instance, on some of the shipping routes, Pirates appear. These pirates are up to level 40, so can aggro you up to around level 50. Sometimes there are pirate NM's that appear the can kill even a level 75. Also, there is a Sea Horror that appears on the boat at times and is around level 62. Lastly, you can also catch monsters on the trip. For all of these, Sneak is highly advised, as it will prevent you from being attacked by any of these monsters. Lastly, be prepared for less fish hooking your line. Ferry fishing is a little slower than inner city fishing or regular outdoor fishing in that fish do not bite as often; skillups, however, do seem to come at a quicker rate outside of a city.

Another challenge on the ship is the high possibility of your rod or line breaking. By now you should be using a strong rod, like a Carbon Fishing Rod (for large fish), a Mithran Fishing Rod (for smaller fish), or a Halcyon Rod (for a good mix.) Even though these rods are strong, they are bound to break at some point, so it is helpful to have a craft leveled that will enable you to fix your broken rod. Look at Fishing 212: Your rod broke! for more information on fixing broken fishing rods. Remember, fixing most fishing rods is just like other crafting, it is possible to lose your broken rod in a failed synthesis attempt, and, therefore, you should carry extra fishing rods with you.

For those of you who are not up for the challenge of the Ferry quite yet, I would suggest taking the Lu route above (Dark Bass and Black Eel). It is by far the safer way to get to 40, and you can make some good money while doing it, too.

When you hit level 40 you become the rank of Novice. This is a very important rank in any craft because as of now you can begin obtaining guild points. In obtaining guild points you can get some very nice fishing items which will greatly help you down the road. To see more about fishing guild points, read Fishing 310: Guild Points.

Fishing 302: Levels 41-56 (Lu Shang, Here I Come!)

By now you should be using a Mithran Fishing Rod or one even stronger than that.

The easiest route from 41 to 56 is in Bastok Markets. First, use Little Worms in Bastok Markets (River) for Black Eel (47), then for Gold Carp (56) in Bastok Markets (Waterway). This is very safe and easy, and can also bring you closer to Lu (or get you money selling Moat Carp if you are not doing the quest). If you are going for Lu, once again Port San d'Oria is a good place to fish as well because you can hook Gold Carp there while catching Moat Carp and not have to travel a long distance to turn in your fish.

Other alternatives to fishing in towns are Gold Lobster (46), Zafmlug Bass (48), and Shall Shell (53). For your journey from 41-46 you can fish with a Sinking Minnow or Sliced Sardine in South Gustaburg. With both of these you will also hook Bastore Bream (85), but these should not break your rod if (they may break your lure, though). If you use Sliced Sardine you will also be able to hook Bladefish (71) which are large fish and will very often break your rod. I would advise using Sinking Minnow over Sliced Sardine, but try not to reel in your fish until you have them down to no, or close to no, stamina. With a Sinking Minnow you will also be able to tell if what has hooked your line is a monster or not by looking at the size of the sweat beads. If they are large, it is a monster; if small, it is not (this way you can release any monsters you hook and not have to fight them).

After 46 I would move to Valkurm Dunes where you can use Crayfish Balls to catch Zafmlug Bass and Shall Shell. These are both fairly easy catches and Shall Shell sell pretty well. As with a Sinking Minnow in South Gustaburg, if your sweat beads are large, you have hooked a monster. Some people find that skilling fishing in Valkurm Dunes can quickly become tedious. If you are one of these people, you can move to the Ferry around level 50 (see Fishing 401: Levels 57-76 (Marlins and Sharks).

By now, you probably know if you want to try and take fishing to level 100 or not. If you do, it is a good idea to invest in Woodworking if you plan on getting Lu Shang's Fishing Rod or Alchemy if you want to use a Composite Rod. To see the advantages of each rod, please see Fishing 110: Rods and Bait. To see the requirements for fixing these broken rods, please see Fishing 212: Your Rod Broke!

Fishing 401: Levels 57-76 (Marlins and Sharks)

Fishing on the Ferry From here on out there are not nearly as many options of where and what to catch as before. By now you either want to be using a Composite Fishing Rod or Lu Shang's Fishing Rod. Please consult Fishing 110: Rods and Bait for more information on these. Lu Shang's Fishing Rod is by far a better rod, because it has a greater chance at pulling up a wider variety of fish while being stronger and more resistant to breaks.

If you are going for Lu, there are no more places where you can both catch Moat Carp and catch some other fish that you can skillup on. Therefore, you have to venture out and get some experience elsewhere in order to skillup. My next suggestion is fishing on the Ferry. There are a few different fish that you can now target. There are Bluetail (55), Bhefhel Marlin (62), Noble Lady (66), and Silver Shark (76). Bluetail and Noble Lady both bite on Sliced Sardines (which you can make on the boat if you bring a Sabiki Rig along and some Wind Crystals ?see Fishing 211: Fishing and Crafting). Noble Lady provided me with some of the quickest skillups I have ever seen, and I also very much enjoyed catching them for the money they provide. With Sliced Sardine you can also hook Gugru Tuna, and on very rare occasions, Ryugu Titan, which may be able to break your rod, so be prepared for that. You will know if you hook a Ryugu Titan because the rod will swing very wildly and it will seem almost impossible to catch. Go ahead and try it if you want; you never know, you might pull it up!

When you are close to capping out on Noble Lady, or don't feel like fishing for them any more, go for some Silver Shark (76). For these you can either use Meatballs (which hook legendary fish as well and can break your rod pretty easily if you can deplete their stamina - which is needed to get skillups) or Sliced Bluetail (which hook Bhefhel Marlin as well and can possibly break your rod). Either way, make sure that you can fix the rod that you are using.

Silver Shark can be few and far between due to the number of people fishing for legendary fish, so a different route may be good for you. Bladefish (71) can be caught along with Bastore Bream (86) in several different places using Sliced Sardine. Bladefish can break Mithran Fishing Rods in some occasions, but they do not break Composite Fishing Rods or Lu Shang's Fishing Rod. Therefore, this is a good route for you if you do not have the skill to fix a broken rod.

Fishing 402: Levels 77-86 (Money, Money, Money!)

You've come a long way so far and can now make some pretty good money fishing, if you watch the market and provide what is needed at the right time.

The next fish for you to catch while skilling up is the Bastore Bream (86). This fish is easy to catch, found in many places, and can be sold for a decent amount of money. Port Bastok is a very safe place to fish because you don't have to worry about monsters, or your rod breaking. Port Windurst is also good because it is right at the fishing guild where you can sell your fish. To catch these you will need Crayfish Balls, Sliced Sardines, Minnow, or Sinking Minnow. Live bait usually works better than lures at catching fish, but it depends if you want to spend the money on the live bait. I have, unfortunately, found that Bastore Bream provide skillups at a pretty slow rate, but they are by far the easiest fish to catch with the highest safety rate. Remember as well that Bastore Bream are small fish, so a Mithran or Lu Shung’s rod is best.

Fishing 501: Levels 87-96 (Almost There!)

So close you can almost taste it! The next fish, if you don't quite want to go for legendaries yet, is a Black Sole (96). These can be found safely in Port Jeuno with Sliced Cod, Sinking Minnow, or Shrimp Lure. If you just want to target Black Sole use either Sliced Cod or Sinking Minnow. A Shrimp Lure will also target Tiger Cod (29) and Nosteau Herring (39).

If you want an out of town experience (and better skillups) you can find Black Sole in Qufim Island (North). Using Sliced Cod you can target both Black Sole and Gigant Squid (91), which also sell pretty well. Targeting both these fish will make fishing not so boring, but Gigant Squid can break a Mithran Rod and you can fish up monsters. The best rod for this situation is Lu Shang's because it will not break and can target both fish well. The Composite Rod does not target Black Sole well, and the Mithran Rod does not target Gigant Squid well. If you want safety or do not have Lu or the ability to fix your rod, I would suggest sticking to Port Jeuno and fishing in there with a Mithran Rod or Lu Shang.

Fishing in Jeuno

Fishing 601: Levels 97-100 (Legendaries)

You've made it this far, now is the time to prove that you are a great fisherman, just like Lu Shang himself. Legendary fish are the last to catch on your list. The most common place for legendary fish is on the Ferry. Here you can target Titanictus, Ryugu Titan, and the occasional Sea Zombie (during pirate rides) with Meatballs. Legendary fish are much easier to catch using a Composite Fishing Rod than any other because of its strength, but it is still possible that it will break. Lu Shang’s Fishing Rod can catch the Ryugu Titan, but it is VERY difficult!

Fishing 701: Ebitsu

One of the last journeys in your fishing experience will be trying to obtain the Ebisu Fishing Rod. This rod was introduced in the April 2005 patch and no one really knows how good it really is. The reason for this is that the quest to get it is extremely tedious. Very few people across the Final Fantasy XI servers have this fishing rod. The length of the quest and the fact that there is no known recipe to fix an Ebisu Fishing Rod leads me to believe that the Ebisu Fishing Rod does not break and can target every single fish in Vana'diel equally as well.

Be prepared for some long fishing days with some bad luck if you are doing this quest because it takes immense luck and skill. You pretty much need to be 100 fishing with fishing support items to reel in the fish needed for the quest. Having one Penguin Ring and one Albatross Ring will greatly increase your chances of catching the required fish. In fact, having these rings negates the requirement for Mooching to catch these fish, because you will be able to pull them up in the normal allotted time. The quest for the Ebisu Fishing Rod is: Indomitable Spirit. Have fun, and may Ebitsu (luck) be on your side!

Last Updated: July 14, 2006

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