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Insider Trader: Fishing, the final stretch

Amanda Miller

Until very recently, with patches 2.3 and 2.4, fishing was a skill mainly taken up by those players aching to relax. Casual questers who couldn't play for hours and be all business, or raiders looking to escape the pressure, took to their favorite remote and beautiful areas with a rod, some music, and a <DND> tag.

In my small and tight-knit guild, fishing often meant story time. While I was feeling Zen fishing from the Forgotten Coast, another guildmate was storming the shores along Stranglethorn Vale, and we would exchange anecdotes and gossip. We took pleasure in our secret source for cloth, leather, ore and greens, as well as fish for alchemy, and helped finance our level 40 mounts through fishing.
Still, many players, if not most players, seemed to find fishing boring, slow and annoying. Fortunately, fishing has never been necessary for any character if it does not provide pleasure. Even cooks, who stood to benefit the most from fishing, could work around it, and push through any rough patches by buying small stashes of certain fish from other players.

Of course, now that fishing is more lucrative, its secrets more widely known, more people have shown an interest. As cooking became more important, so did fishing, not because you couldn't maximize cooking without it, but because some of the best buff foods are made with fish. Those who need a constant supply can't rely on the auction house.

Recently, Robin Torres wrote up some tips to leveling fishing at level 70, and this week, Insider Trader is taking an in-depth look at maximizing your fishing skill. For the inside scoop on reaching 375 as quickly as possible, or as profitably as possible, head on through the break.

There are two types of methods of reaching a skill of 375 that we'll be exploring this week; that of the fastest, and that of the most lucrative. If you are intending to speed through this at level 70, the fastest method is going to be incredibly boring for you, but it will get you to the finish line sooner.

Equipment and preparation:
The right equipment will help you level faster, earn more money from fishing, and generally have a less frustrating angling experience. Let's take a look at some of the easily obtained bonuses, and will not include items gained from winning the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza, or from the new fishing daily quests:

Fishing poles:
The [Big Iron Fishing Pole] can be acquired quite easily from shellfish traps in the ocean next to Shadowprey Village, a Horde outpost, in the Desolace. It may take you quite a few tries, and you will want underwater breathing potions or buffs. This is bind on equip, so you can snag it at auction if you feel you must. If you're Horde, you can actually get the quest Clam Bait, which sends you out to open the shellfish traps.

The next comparable pole that can be acquired by either faction is [Seth's Graphite Fishing Pole]. You'll need at least 200 fishing skill and a level of 62 or higher, as this bad boy is the reward of a quest in Lower City called Rather Be Fishin'.

If you are Horde, there is a Horde-only quest in the Hinterlands called Snapjaws, Mon! Obtained at Revantusk Village from a troll on the docks, successful completion will grant you the bind on pick-up, [Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000]. The Alliance cannot obtain this fishing rod.

You may want to have an enchanter grant you [Enchant Gloves: Fishing] for the duration of your leveling. If you don't want to replace your existing enchants, purchase a green from the auction house and get that enchanted.

The two best lures are [Aquadynamic Fish Attractor] and [Sharpened Fish Hook]. The attractors can be purchased from fishing supply vendors, although they are of limited quantity. Many engineers can also make them, so you may find them on the auction house, or over trade channel. Be prepared to supply your own [Bronze Bars] x2, [Coarse Blasting Powder], and especially [Nightcrawlers] if need be.

The hooks are a reward from the fishing quests, but you may find them on the auction house.

The statistics:
According to El's Anglin', between skill 265 and 300, you will need to cast an average of 6 successful catches in order to gain one skill point. From 300 to 340, you'll need an average of 10.5 catches to gain one skill point. Between 340 and 375, it'll take you, again on average, 11.5 catches for one skill point.

From skill 1 to skill 375, you'll need roughly 1700 successful catches. Because of this, you're going to want to avoid areas that are over your head. In other words, if fish are getting away, you either need lures, or you need to go to an area that requires a lower skill level.

The super fast:
Once you have a skill level of at least 225, and have completed the Artisan fishing quest, Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme, you will want to pick a zone and stay there until 375. Although this may sound boring, the logic is simple. If you move along to areas that are on-par with your skill level, you'll have more fish 'getting off the hook,' and you'll gain skill points more slowly.

While you can fish in pools of fish and wreckage, for the fastest method, you should just stand still. Moving around from pool to pool can effectively double the amount of time it will take you to level the skill.

Here are the best areas from 225 on up, allowing you to prevent get-aways:

  1. Lordamere Lake in the Alterac Mountains, or alternatively, in the province's river. The lake has pools of floating wreckage.
  2. In Arathi Highlands, there is a place called Faldir's Cove along the southern coast, and it contains fish and wreckage pools. There are also murlocs along the coast, who are hiding an item required for warlocks to obtain their felhunter, in the quest chain, Tome of the Cabal.
  3. In the western Desolace, as well as the southern areas near Shadowprey Village, a Horde outpost, have access to ocean waters. You may come across naga, giants, crawlers, and other obstacles.
  4. Dustwallow Marsh is a great place to fish, especially since it is the home of Nat Pagle himself. You'll be turning in your Artisan fishing quest, Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme, here anyway; you might as well hole up and start fishing. While some sections of the coast have murlocs and other monsters, there are whole areas accessible only by swimming, or cliff-diving. For those reasons, players on PvP servers might find these remote areas ideal for fishing sans harassment.
  5. My personal favorite from this group is Stranglethorn Vale. While there are any number of monsters you'll have to contend with, from crocolisks to pirates, the floating wreckage and fish pools are abundant. Simply traverse the western coastline, up and down. Should you find too much competition, there is also an eastern coastal area inhabited mainly by pirates, including the odd island. For those on PvP servers, this is likely the last area in which you should be leveling fishing, as it is highly overpopulated. Of course, at level 70, you may find little trouble.
  6. In the Swamp of Sorrows, the murloc-inhabited eastern Mistyreed Strand is a nice place to fish, if you don't mind the murloc chatter in the background!
  7. In the Thousand Needles, there are several little bodies of water that can be fished, including the waters around Darkcloud Pinnacle. While you're fishing, you can kill the Boiling Elementals. They drop a ton of [Elemental Water] and [Bubbling Water]. This was my secret source for stacks and stacks of water for many levels. I often had enough to send stacks to guildmates and friends!
Should you reach skill level 300, ready to pull out your own hair, there are some fresh new zones you could inhabit, although those on a PvP server might be less inclined to move. Keep in mind you will need to read [Master Fishing - The Art of Angling], a book purchased from Juno Dufrain, a fisherman at the Cenarion Refuge in Zangarmarsh. To prevent get-aways, here are the zones you should consider:
  1. In Azshara, fishing in the Bay of Storms is calm and cheerful, contrary to its name. The area is bright, the naga don't inhabit every inch, and there are tons of little islands and rocks to explore, with fish and wreckage pools found along the coast, or off any of the little islands. In fact, there are even blue, glowing, mist-like pools that you won't want to ignore.
  2. In Felwood, there are pools of water dotted around the landscape. Although not the cleanest water available, the fish are (probably) not plagued.
  3. The Forgotten Coast of Feralas, perhaps my all-time favorite fishing haunt, contains pools of fish and floating wreckage, and is seldom frequented by anyone, save the odd fisherman. The Sea Sprays and Sea Elementals there drop a ton of [Globe of Water], [Enchanted Water], [Elemental Water], and a variety of recipes, greens and even blues. There are also rivers inland that can be fished.
  4. In the Hinterlands, there is both an eastern coastline, and inland bodies of water. The Alliance is likely better off fishing inland on PvP servers, as the coast harbors a Horde outpost, is frequented by the faction for various quests, and must be traversed to reach the mainland.
  5. If you are a druid, or acquired the flight path to Moonglade during the Lunar Festival, or by traipsing through the tunnels of Timbermaw Hold, you might find Moonglade an incredibly peaceful place to level your fishing. With no hostile mobs, and upper-level fish, as well as great scenery and out-of-the-way spots, this is ideal for PvP'ers, or those who like some peace and quiet.
  6. Tanaris has some great coastline, inhabited mainly by turtles and the odd giant. With lots of pools and sunshine, it's a nice place to wile away the hours. Try fishing from Smuggler's Cove, as the pirates there have lots of treasure chests, and drop a ton of cloth and potions. You can stop and kill the odd one to keep things interesting.
  7. Un'Goro Crater, never a favorite of mine for fishing, does have pools of water that contain fish. If you like the scenery, have quests there, or are so over-leveled the mobs won't bother you, then you might find it a keen spot.
  8. The waters in the Western Plaguelands will also sustain you from 300 to 375.
Other quick areas, and a note on Outland fishing:
If you feel like being safe and simple, then stick to the pools of water in your favorite large city, park your character, put on some music, and prepare for the long haul. None of the fish will be worth more than a few coppers, but it is a fast and efficient path, with no traveling involved.

If you are Horde, or on a PvE/RP server, you might just want to stick to the pools of [Deviate Fish] in the oases of the Barrens, as they sell very well at auction.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to go check out those cool pools of debris and new fish in Zangarmarsh and other Outland areas. Remember that your goal is to reach 375 and then go exploring. Should you cave in to curiosity, prepare to use some hefty lures, and miss on many, if not most, of your casts, especially at first.

Leveling fishing with an emphasis on gold, rather than speed:
Not everyone can stand in one place for hours and hours of in-game fishing, gaining skills, and bags full of fish worth a couple copper. If you feel you would be more apt to stick with the leveling process if you could instead fill your bags with profit, then this section is for you.

Method 1: Deviate Fish
There are two methods, and two areas, for catching these fish. If you are looking to avoid the opposite faction, then I recommend, as long as you are a high enough level, fishing in the waters within Wailing Caverns. You can also fish the waters in the oases of the Barrens. Roughly 30% of what you catch should be [Deviate Fish], and because you are simply standing and fishing, and not fishing using pools and having to move around, it is quite fast.

If you feel safe, you might consider shuffling around to the various pools of [Deviate Fish] in the same waters. While it will take you much more time to level, you will catch more valuable fish.

Method 2: Fishing up Pools
In the list of fishing spots above, you'll find that many provinces have waters containing pools of various types of fish, as well as wreckage. Strategically, you can speed along and fish up [Oily Blackmouth], [Firefin Snapper], [Raw Sagefish], [Raw Greater Sagefish] and [Stonescale Eel]. In the trunks fished up from wreckage, you'll find leather, cloth, spun cloth, greens, potions and more. The fish sell well to alchemists, although depending on the market, you might have more or less success, especially between the different types.

The sagefish can be cooked into [Sagefish Delight] and [Smoked Sagefish], and then sold to mana users for a decent price.

Method 3: Outland fishing
Yes, I know that I already told you not to do this. But if you're prepared for a slower ride, and you want to make some cash, then you might want to consider fishing in Outland.

You'll want to have a minimum of about 400 effective fishing skill, which can be achieved through lures, gear and other buffs. Until you have reached about 350 actual skill, I don't recommend leaving Zangarmarsh, particularly the eastern waters. If you choose open water, non-pool fishing, you'll level faster, but very few of the fish you'll catch this way will be of value.

Unfortunately, if you don't have your cooking skill leveled, you may have a tough time selling the raw fish, even from the pools. Once you have a base skill of 350, you can sweep out across Zangarmarsh, into Terokkar Forest, and certain parts of Nagrand.

Tip: Fish along the north of Serpent Lake in Zangarmarsh. As you go, kill the Bogflare Needlers unique to this region. About 1 in 1000 kills will yield you a [Captured Firefly], which as a fairly rare pet, can net you hundreds at auction.

Recommended reading:
There are several guides and resources for fishing that are absolutely worth reading through, especially if you take a liking to fishing, or want to get into the level 70, skill 375 fishing activities.
  1. El's Extreme Anglin' has just about anything you'd ever need to know about fishing!
  2. Wowwiki has a great overview of fishing.
  3. Finding the fun in fishing.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. If you're ready to test your fishing skills, read up on tips to winning the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza. Alternatively, you can learn more about how fishing can enrich your cooking experience, as well as make you cash. If all of this talk is making you hungry, check out our array of game-based recipes from Well Fed Buff.

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