Fishing is a secondary skill, so it does not count towards your two profession limit.
Or maybe you’re thinking “Why bother?” Let me give you three good reasons.
Fishing gives cheap food for melee characters and hunter pets. I know what you’re thinking: food drops from mobs all the time… I can buy food from the vendor… or I already have Cooking so I’m covered. And you’re right… for now. But when you hit level 70, you’ll need high level food. You’ll have 7000+ hit points and the lowbie stuff won’t cut it. The highest vendor food regenerates 7500 hitpoints and it costs 16 gold per stack. That’s a lot of money! And high level food doesn’t drop enough to keep you supplied with food, trust me on this. Especially if you’re a hunter you’ll want to keep a supply of the good food on hand for your pet if you plan to keep him happy for more than five minutes.
Even if you have Cooking, you won’t be able to make food that high unless you make the fish recipes. At this point it’s very difficult to level cooking all the way up without fish, although Blizzard intends to change that in an upcoming patch. You can’t count on buying the fish you need either, most of the fish that is listed on the Auction House is already cooked. The best types of fish can sell for over 20 gold a stack, whether they are cooked or not. If you catch the fish yourself and make it, your cost is usually nothing or occasionally you might have to spring for some spices that cost less than 2s each.
If you are an Alchemist you’ll pretty much be required to fish. Many of your recipes will need fish and while you might get away with purchasing lowbie fish and still make a profit on potions, it will be more difficult to do it that way. So if you don’t fish you can either kiss profits goodbye on those items or just never make the roughly 10% of Alchemy recipes that require fish-related components.
That’s right, I said money. You’ll be able to catch and sell lucrative fish such as the Golden Darter used by raiding healers, or the Furious Crawdad used by tanks for the +30 stamina bonus. In Outland there are special fish for just about every class which have desirable buffs as their “Well Fed” property. But the real cash is in the loot that’s not fish.
As of the 1.9 patch, floating wreckage was added to many coastal areas of Azeroth. When you cast your bobber into the floating wreckage, loot comes out! The type of loot depends on the level of the zone you’re in, but in Stranglethorn you’ll get salvaged boxes containing things like heavy leather, bolts of silk and some green weapons and armor, usually 2-3 items per box. If you are in Feralas you can expect to get thick leather, bolts of runecloth, potions and level 40-45 green items. You’ll also fish out Rumsey Rum and Stranglekelp. Most of this stuff sells for good money on the Auction House, especially the weapons and armor. So if you see floating wreckage — stop and fish it out!
In Outland this trend continues with the steampump flotsam in Zangarmarsh containing Motes of Water, Netherweave, Knothide Scraps, Engineering parts and Fel Iron ore and more. Even the gray junk that drops from the wreckage is worth 10g a stack and on rare occasion you can catch a Goldenscale Vendorfish which sells to the vendor for 6g. In Nagrand the lakes have a chance to spawn “pure water” pools which contain predominantly Motes of Water. This is a very easy way to collect any Primal Waters you might need for crafting, it’s not unreasonable to get 1-2 primals in just 10 minutes of fishing if there are enough pure water pools in the area.
I hope I’ve convinced you that Fishing is a worthwhile craft to pursue, so on with the guide…
First you’ll need to find a fishing trainer. These can often be found near the water, mostly in towns that are situated on the water. A few good examples would be under the docks next to Auberdine in Darkshore, near the waters of Loch Modan or even hanging out in the Canals of Stormwind.
Next you’ll need a fishing pole. You can get one from numerous vendors around Azeroth. Most towns will have a Trade Goods vendor who sells them, and often a Fishing vendor will be standing on local docks, ready to sell you a fishing pole. The basic pole costs about 10 silver, so it’s affordable to most players. You will need to equip this pole in your main hand in order to use it. You will also need to remember to put your weapon back when you’re done!
Finally you’ll need a spot to fish in. Be aware that the level of the zone you are in dictates the level of fishing needed to catch fish. If your fishing skill is only 10, you cannot fish in a level 50 zone, even if your character is level 50. So start out in a newbie zone. I would also highly recommend the use of lures to aid your fishing efforts. You’ll have a much easier time advancing your skill, as well as catching more interesting fish if you use a lure. Low end lures can be bought from the same vendors who sell fishing poles (Trade Skill vendors and Fishing vendors). There are also high-end lures that can be made by Engineers (or bought from the Auction House). I’ve compiled a handy little chart:
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Cast your line by clicking on the Fishing button, which you have hopefully already placed in one of your action bars. If not, you can find it in your spellbook with your other crafting skills. Once you cast your line, a fishing bobber will appear in the water in front of you. You simply wait for it to splash in the water and then right-click it to see what you caught. If you managed to catch a fish, a loot box will open up with your fish inside. If your casting timer expires, just cast again. To automatically put your fish in your bags, you can hold the Shift key while clicking the bobber.
Now that you’re fishing, let’s talk about what you can expect to get. Most of the time you will get the standard fare, fish that are appropriate to the level of the zone you are in. But on occasion you’ll get other items. This includes lockboxes, clams, bloated fish, bottles and off-hand fish. Make sure you open any item that can be opened, as these will generally have interesting loot inside. The “off-hand” fish is basically a fun item that you can equip while you’re in the city to show off what an amazing angler you are!
Once you’ve honed your fishing skills a bit, you’ll probably want to find more exciting places to fish, but where to go? Well there is no official list of zones and the fishing skill they require. But fishing is just like any other profession in the game where it relates to the expected level of your character. In general most professions assume that you will reach the Artisan level (225+) at around level 35-40. So you should be able to use the same rule of thumb for fishing zones. If your Fishing skill is 225, by all means head for a 35-45 zone and try your luck. If your Fishing skill is under 100 it’s best to stick with zones in the 1-20 range. Feel free to test the waters of a zone you happen to be in anyway, for experimentation’s sake. Also make sure you take advantage of any fishing lures you have access to, since they will enable you to fish in zones slightly higher than your base level of fishing will allow. If you get messages saying that your fish got away, this generally means the zone is a bit too high for you.
At some point you’ll find that you’ve maxxed out your fishing skill. No problem, to go higher than 150 fishing skill you need to purchase the Expert Fishing book from Old Man Heming in Booty Bay. He can be found on the bottom level of the docks, right under the inn, in his shop called “The Happy Bobber”. When you feel you are up to the challenge of Artisan Fishing, you’ll need to seek out Grimnur Stonebrand in the Forlorn Cavern in Ironforge or Lumak in the Valley of Honor in Ogrimmar (for Horde players). They will route you to Nat Pagle in Dustwallow Marsh who gives you the Artisan Fishing quest (level 35 is required to access this quest).
To maximize your profits from fishing, keep an eye out for the Swarms of Fish that appear around Azeroth. These swarms tend to contain more desirable fish than the zone typically yields. Examples of fish swarms you might see are Firefin Snapper, Oily Blackmouth and Stonescale Eels. Occasionally these swarms will also give you a chest with loot, booze or Stranglekelp. Fishing in these swarms guarantees that you will catch the fish of the type indicated by the swarm. This is especially exciting for high-end fish, which tend to have very low drop rates (10% or less). You must be sure your bobber lands inside the swarm area to retrieve the swarming fish.
Blizzard has also recently added the ability to track these swarms of fish on your mini-map. In order to do this, you’ll need to fish out a “Weather-Beaten Journal” from some floating wreckage. This can be done in any of the zones that have wreckage spawns, including Ashenvale, Stonetalon Mountains all the way up to Zangarmarsh. The journal only requires a fishing skill of 100 to learn, so this ability is available to most players. Once you find a wreckage pool, you’ll need to fish out the crates and trunks. The book has a 10-40% catch rate depending on what level zone you are in, Zangarmarsh having the highest drop rate of course. Once you find the journal, simply click it to learn fish finding and you’ll be able to see the fish spawns on your mini-map.
You may notice as you level up your fishing skill that the rate of increase seems to be slowing down. Instead of gaining a point every other fish, you may get a point every 3 or 5 fish. This is normal and by the time you are closing in on 375 skill you will probably only gain a point for every 10-12 successful catches. You should also be aware that there are zones in Azeroth that require fishing skill in excess of 300 and some areas of Outland require fishing skills over 400. This basically means that you are expected to be using a high end lure of some sort to fish there. Winterspring and Eastern Plaguelands are two examples of zones with fishing requirements above 300. If you plan to fish in these areas you should be sure to bring along a stack of Bright Baubles or Aquadynamic Fish Attractors. If you want to stop fish from “getting away” completely, you’ll have to achieve a fishing level of at least 500 for some Outland fishing holes.
The idea of reaching a fishing skill over 375 begs the question “What can I do to enhance my fishing skill?” Luckily there are a number of items that dedicated fishermen like you can acquire to boost their fishing skill. Probably the first item you’ll want to get is a better fishing pole:
There are other in-game items that can boost your fishing skill as well. The easiest one to acquire would probably be the enchantment to gloves. This will give a +2 Fishing bonus to any pair of gloves. Most of the other skill boosting items are given out as rewards for the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza that occurs every Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm, server time. Depending on what you are able to catch, you could win an enhanced fishing line for your pole, a Lucky Fishing Hat or the coveted Arcanite Fishing Pole. Each of the rewards from the Fishing Extravaganza will give a +5 fishing bonus, except the Arcanite Pole which gives +35 fishing bonus. Quest givers for this event will be available only on Sundays, you can visit the WoWWiki for a good writeup and full details on the event. For those who want to know anything and everything there is to know about WoW Fishing, visit El’s Extreme Anglin’ Site.