The Bass and You: A Complete Fishing Guide including the Fishing Extravaganza

  • Druid Alliance


    Fishing is one of the least appreciated professions. However, understanding it and mastering how to go about making money from it can offer a very nice alternative for how to play the game and profiting from doing it. If you want to quietly chill while listening to tunes or talk to your guild, or just escape the hubbub of the capital cities and still actively progress your character by making gold or gathering critical consumables, fishing is the best way to do that. In this guide we will walk through how to level fishing, the basics of how it works, and go over tips and tricks to maximize your fishing experience.

    Learning to Fish

    Fishing is a secondary profession which means that everyone has access to learn it. Once you reach level 5 you have the ability to permanently learn the profession and get started catching fish. Almost always when you find a fishing trainer you will see a fishing supplies NPC right next to them. They sell fishing poles, lures, and some basic low level fish. Go ahead and learn the profession from the trainer and then buy a fishing pole from the supplier. You should also buy lures from them too. You may be tempted to not want to spend money on lures but you will find that if you try to fish without them that you will fail to catch fish - a lot! Lures provide that boost to help make fishing not a complete waste of time.

    Now that we have the skill and equipment to fish, let’s try to catch something. Go somewhere with a body of water. For now as a beginner it is important to choose somewhere that is low level. Starting zones and capital cities are all good places to start.

    Equip your fishing pole and then right click on the lure from your inventory and select your fishing pole on your character panel. It will apply the lure’s effect to help boost your fishing skill. Next, go to your spellbook and drag the fishing icon onto your action bar. If you now click on it while facing water you will cast your line and a bobber will appear on the surface of the water. If you try to cast and something isn’t right you will see an error stating that your cast isn’t in a fishable location or that you don’t have a fishing pole equipped. Water must be deep enough to be fishable and you also have to have the skill necessary to fish in certain areas.

    Now that your bobber is on the water, you need to watch it carefully. There will be a channeling bar that shows up to show you the progress. A fish can be hooked randomly at generally anywhere along the channeling (not just at the end) so you must pay attention to your bobber. If a fish does bite you will see your bobber get pulled on and hear an audible splash. You need to right click on the bobber to catch the fish. You only have about 2 seconds to do this otherwise you will get an error saying “Your fish got away.” If you accidentally right click on the bobber before a fish bites you will get another error saying that "no fish were hooked." It is possible for the bar to go all the way to the end of the channel without having any fish bite. This is not common but unfortunately normal. Just recast and hope for better luck next time.

    So you got a fish to bite and you quickly right clicked on the bobber. Hopefully you will see a loot window appear with a fish in it. If so, congratulations! You caught your first fish. If you want to practice efficient fishing you can hold the shift key while right clicking which will auto loot the fish you catch. This can be helpful to streamline the process.

    But even after doing everything correct, you can still get the message that your fish still got away. What gives? Well fishing is very skill dependent. You need a large skill differential compared to the location where you are fishing for the fish to never get away. And the lower that difference is, the more likely it is for fish to get away. We will get into this in more detail but this is why you always want to use a lure! Not only does it suck to not catch fish after waiting so long for a fish to bite, you will notice that catching nothing also doesn’t increase your skill points.

    You must catch fish to be able to level your fishing skill!

    Fishing while Leveling

    People often neglect to focus on fishing until long after they have already hit max level. However, just like with cooking, fishing can offer a lot of small advantages, especially to some classes for focusing on it while playing the game. Regardless of how you choose to play it, fishing is definitely the slowest profession to level up so it is not a good option for those trying to quickly get to max level.

    Fishing for Cooking

    Fishing synergizes well with cooking. There are a lot of cooking recipes that call for fish. If you are wanting to level your cooking, leveling fishing at the same time can help that. You first catch the fish and level fishing while doing so, then use the fish to boost cooking at the same time. As a bonus, you can use some of the cooked items to help you with leveling with their stamina and spirit buff.

    Hunters and Fishing

    If you are a hunter, fishing can be a nice cost savings. Many pets will eat fish so you can catch fish to feed your pet rather than having to grind animals or pay vendors for food.

    Rogues and Fishing

    Once in a while, while fishing you will get locked boxes. This is especially true if you are fishing the wreckage pools. These boxes provide an alternate way from the usual methods for boosting your lockpicking skills.

    Training Fishing

    Apprentice and Journeyman fishing can be easily learned from the many fishing trainers found in the world. Every capital city and many towns have fishing trainers to learn from. Apprentice takes you up to 75 points and Journeyman can be learned at 50. Once you get up to 125 skill you can learn Expert Fishing by reading the book Expert Fishing - The Bass and You. This can be bought from Old Man Heming in Booty Bay, Stranglethorn or often found for a marked up price on the auction house. After maxing out your fishing skill at 225 are you finally able to get the last quest to work towards artisan. This requires seeking out Nat Pagle himself off the coast of Dustwallow Marsh and do the quest Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme.

    Fishing Ranks Min Level Min Skill Max Skill How to Train
    Apprentice 5 1 75 Any Fishing Trainer
    Journeyman 10 50 150 Any Fishing Trainer
    Expert 20 125 225 Book: Expert Fishing - The Bass and You sold by Old Man Heming in Booty Bay
    Artisan 35 225 300 Complete Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme from Nat Pagle

    Leveling Fishing

    Fishing is difficult to level because there is very little feedback for you while you do it if you are doing it correctly or not. This becomes harder the higher level you get to because the amount of fish caught per skill point continues to increase. While you get skill points for almost every fish caught early on, the amount of fish needed at max level, even when doing everything right can still be 10 or even more fish needed per point.

    Here's a table developed by Noressa to approximate the number of fish caught needed per skillup based on fishing level.

    Fishing Level Fish Needed for Skillup
    1 - 100 1
    100 - 115 2
    115 - 140 3
    140 - 165 4
    165 - 190 5
    190 - 215 6
    215 - 240 7
    240 - 265 8
    265 - 290 9
    290 - 300 10

    This process is made more difficult as fishing works the same as all other skills. Fishing in a low level area will give points when the skill level matches the zone’s level, however just like professions where making items eventually turns their skill chance from orange to yellow to green and then gray, low level fishing areas act as if the skill were green and you will get skill points slower by fishing these areas.

    But remember that difficult-to-fish areas frequently mean that you will have fish that get away which can be a huge waste of time when trying to skill up fishing. Fishing skill modifiers that fishing poles and lures add don’t change how you will skill up while fishing so their use significantly helps boost fishing effectiveness. So using lures allows you to still fish challenging areas to maximize skill while minimizing fish getting away. You want to try to stay in the sweet spot of fishing by fishing areas that you can imagine are the orange to yellow skill equivalent. Use a fishing pole and lures to boost your fishing skill and choose areas where this translates to only once in a while losing fish. If you are never missing fish you may be outleveling the area and will be gaining skill points slower than optimally. If you constantly miss fish you are in a challenging area however all the missed fish is also not optimal.

    Estimating Zone Fishing Levels

    Only minimum levels can give you definitive clues as to what is needed for zones, however this is a rough ballpark to keep in mind. You can also use a back of napkin estimation to figure out what your general fishing skill would be for the area you are in. Fishing, like other skills has a maximum trained skill of 300. This compares also to weapons and defense. So like those skills, 5 points equates to one level. You can translate the same thing over for fishing. If you are in a zone where mobs are generally 25 to 35 then you can expect you will be at a yellow/orange fishing of 125 to 175. If you fishing is significantly below 125 you will have a hard time fishing here even with a lure. And if you are significantly above 175 you may find success by not using a lure, however your skill progression will be slower and you’d benefit from going to a zone with a higher average level and using a lure to help limit lost fish.

    Suggested Fishing Leveling Progression

    Fishing Level Zone
    1 - 50 Starting Zones
    50 - 100 Secondary Zones
    100 - 175 Horde: do Snapjaws Mon! for Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000 and fish Stranglethorn Coast
    100 - 175 Alliance: Invest in the Big Iron Fishing Pole and fish Stranglethorn Coast
    175 - 300 Tanaris

    Zones by Minimum Fishing Level

    Fishing Level Zone
    1 Lower Dun Morogh, Durotar, Elwynn Forest, Mulgore, Teldrassil, Tirisfal Glades
    1 Higher The Barrens, Blackfathom Deeps, Darkshore, Darnassus, The Deadmines, Loch Modan, Orgrimmar, Silverpine Forest, Stormwind City, Thunder Bluff, The Wailing Caverns, Westfall
    55 Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hillsbrad Foothills, Redridge Mountains, Stonetalon Mountans, Wetlands
    130 Alterac Mountains, Arathi Highlands, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Scarlet Monastery, Stranglethorn Vale, Swamp of Sorrows, Thousand Needles
    205 Azshara, Felwood, Feralas, The Hinterlands, Maraudon, Moonglade, Stranglethorn Vale (Just Jaguero Isle), Sunken Temple, Tanaris, Un'Goro Crater, Western Plaguelands
    330 Azshara (Bay of Storms), Burning Steppes, Deadwind Pass, Eastern Plaguelands, Feralas (Just Jademir Lake), Scholomance, Silithis, Stratholme, Winterspring, Zul'Gurub

    Minimum here means the minimum fishing skill required to even be able to fish in these locations. If you want to fish reliably, higher skill is recommended. To fish without ever losing a fish requires a skill differential of 95 above the minimum listed.

    Artisan Fishing Quest

    Once you have gotten your fishing up to 225 the only way you can progress higher is to seek out Nat Pagle and do Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme from him. It involves catching four unique quest fish in different parts of the world. As long as you are going to the correct places in the world mentioned in his journal this is pretty straightforward. It shouldn’t take too many casts to get the fish you need so if you are failing for an extended time, reevaluate your location and see if you aren’t in the wrong spot.


    The key is that your minimap should read the location listed in the journal or you won't catch the fish needed for the quest.

    Fish Location
    Feralas Ahi Verdantis River (Feralas)
    Misty Reed Mahi Mahi Misty Reed Strand (Swamp of Sorrows)
    Sar'theris Striker Sar'theris Strand (Desolace)
    Savage Coast Blue Sailfin The Savage Coast (Stranglethorn Vale)

    Fishing Equipment


    The value of lures has been mentioned multiple times in this guide already. They add a boost to help minimize fish getting away. This is most useful for high level zones and for when trying to maximize skill increase speed. Lures may not be necessary, especially if you are already high level skill and fishing in a lower level area. There is nothing inherently special about what lures do for fishing. They don’t increase the chance of getting better fish - all they do is boost skill level which in turn allows fishing in higher level water and/or minimizes lost fish due to skill.

    Lure Fishing Skill Duration (minutes) Req Skill Cost Source
    Shiny Bauble +25 10 1 50c Fishing Supplies Vendor
    Nightcrawlers +50 10 50 1s Fishing Supplies Vendor and Drop: Undead Mobs
    Aquadynamic Fish Lens +50 10 50 - Reward: Electropellers from Wisbang Cranktoggle
    Bright Baubles +75 10 100 2s50c Fishing Supplies Vendor
    Flesh Eating Worm +75 10 100 - Drop: Rotted One in Duskwood
    Aquadynamic Fish Attractor +100 5 100 2s50c Fishing Supplies Vendor (limited) and Crafted: Engineers

    Fishing Poles

    A fishing pole is required to fish, but not all fishing poles are made equal. Different poles come with different +skill to fishing which allows a permanent bonus to fishing skill while equipped.

    Fishing Pole Fishing Skill Req Skill How to Obtain
    Fishing Pole - - Fishing Supplies Vendor
    Blump Family Fishing Pole +3 1 Alliance only - The Family and the Fishing Pole from Gubber Blump
    Strong Fishing Pole +5 10 Fishing Supplies Vendor
    Big Iron Fishing Pole +20 100 Found inside Shellfish Trap in Desolace
    Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000 +25 100 Horde only - Snapjaws, Mon! from Katoom the Angler
    Arcanite Fishing Pole +35 300 Win the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza by completing Master Angler

    Other Fishing Gear

    Apart from fishing poles and temporary lures, there are other things to help boost fishing skill.

    Fishing from Pools - Where Fishing becomes Valuable

    You can find fishing pools around Azeroth, especially in higher level zones. The pools are the best source for increasing the money-making value of fishing. These pools always include items or fish that are in demand and worth more than what would be caught on average when not fishing from a pool.

    Fishing Pools

    Fishing Pool Pool Contents Location
    School of Deviate Fish Deviate Fish The Barrens - Oasis
    Oily Blackmouth School Oily Blackmouth Salt Water: Arathi Highlands, Azshara, Darkshore, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas, Hillsbrad Foothills, Silverpine Forest, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, The Barrens, Westfall, Wetlands
    Firefin Snapper School Firefin Snapper Salt Water: Arathi Highlands, Azshara, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Feralas, Hillsbrad Foothills, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, Wetlands
    Oil Spill Firefin Snapper, Oil Covered Fish Stonetalon Mountains
    Sagefish School Raw Sagefish Freshwater: Ashenvale, Hillsbrad Foothills, Loch Modan, Silverpine Forest, Stonetalon Mountains
    Greater Sagefish School Raw Greater Sagefish Freshwater: Alterac Mountans, Stranglethorn Vale
    Stonescale Eel Swarm Stonescale Eel Salt Water: Azshara, Feralas, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris
    Patch of Elemental Water Globe of Water, Elemental Water, Essence of Water Salt Water: Azshara, Feralas, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris
    School of Tastyfish Speckled Tastyfish Salt Water: Stranglethorn Vale (Only during the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza)
    Muddy Churning Waters Zulian Mudskunk Zul'Gurub (Needed to summon Gahz'ranka)

    Pools will spawn randomly at fixed locations around zones. Only so many pools will be active at any one time so finding a pool can require moving around a bit to keep fishing in pools at a maximum.

    Fishing from Pools

    It can be tricky to know exactly when you’re fishing from a pool. You need to make sure your bobber appears inside the fishing pool. To adjust this, you need to gauge your distance away from the pool and then to cast straight towards it. Casts will randomly go in different directions. If the cast doesn’t land in the pool then you need to recast until it does. Keep casting until the bobber is within the edge of the pool’s circle and it will count.

    Floating Wreckage

    In addition to the contents of the pools listed above, other items can be found routinely in pools. All pools (except Patch of Elemental Water, Muddy Churning Waters, or School of Tastyfish) can also be Floating Debris or Floating Wreckage depending on the zone.

    Wreckage Pool Pool Contents Location
    Floating Debris Tightly Sealed Trunk, Stranglekelp, Rumsey Rum Light Salt Water: Darkshore, Loch Modan, Silverpine Forest, The Barrens, Westfall
    Floating Wreckage Watertight Trunk, Stranglekelp, Rumsey Rum Dark Salt Water: Ashenvale, Arathi Highlands, Hillsbrad Foothills, Stonetalon Mountains, Wetlands
    Floating Wreckage Iron Bound Trunk, Stranglekelp, Rumsey Rum Black Label Alterac Mountains, Arathi Highlands, Desolace, Dustwallow Marsh, Stranglethorn Vale
    Floating Wreckage Mithril Bound Trunk, Stranglekelp, Rumsey Rum Black Label Azshara, Feralas, Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris

    Trunk Contents

    Trunks contain various trade goods at the respective levels of the area where the trunks were fished from. Trunks all contain money as well as:

    Tightly Sealed Trunk

    Light Leather and/or Medium Leather
    Bolt of Linen Cloth and/or Bolt of Woolen Cloth
    Lesser Healing Potion and/or Minor Mana Potion

    Watertight Trunk

    Medium Leather and/or Heavy Leather
    Bolt of Woolen Cloth and/or Bolt of Silk Cloth
    Healing Potion and/or Lesser Mana Potion

    Iron Bound Trunk

    Heavy Leather and/or Thick Leather
    Bolt of Silk Cloth and/or Bolt of Mageweave
    Greater Healing Potion and/or Mana Potion

    Mithril Bound Trunk

    Thick Leather and/or Rugged Leather
    Bolt of Mageweave and/or Bolt of Runecloth
    Superior Healing Potion and/or Greater Mana Potion

    Trunks can also contain general uncommon items and patterns at the trunk's appropriate level.

    Summoning Gahz’ranka

    Gahz’ranka is an optional boss in Zul’Gurub that has very valuable loot and summoning the boss is unique because the only way to do so is with fishing.

    People who have enough fishing skill to be able to fish inside Zul’Gurub can fish the Muddy Churning Waters. There, they can catch Zulian Mudskunk. Five Zulian Mudskunk can be combined wtih the Mudskunk Lure which you obtain from Nat Pagle. He only offers this to you after you complete the quest Nat’s Measuring Tape.

    The lure can then be used at Pagle’s Point and Gahz’ranka will appear. You then have the chance for loot such as Nat Pagle’s Broken Reel (a critical trinket for tanks in Naxxramas) or the Tome of Polymorph: Turtle which can be worth a lot to resell on the auction house.

    Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza

    The Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza is available probably during phase 4 and is an event that occurs every Sunday from 2 to 4 PM server time. It takes place in Stranglethorn Vale and the key NPCs are all in Booty Bay. During that time, there are special prizes that people can win that are only available during the competition.

    The Competition

    The main competition is a quest for the first person to catch and turn in 40 Speckled Tastyfish. The only way to catch Speckled Tastyfish is to fish them from School of Tastyfish that appear only during the competition. From each pool you can catch up to 4 or 5 Speckled Tastyfish.

    If you are the first to turn in the quest Master Angler you will be announced zone-wide as the winner and are able to select one of two rewards: Arcanite Fishing Pole or Hook of the Master Angler. You can only choose one of the rewards, however you can win the contest again on a different week and get the other reward.

    Secondary Rewards

    In addition to the main competition there are other rewards that are equally possible for everyone to win regardless of the status of the Tastyfish Competition. There are three special fish that can be caught in any Tastyfish pool: Brownell’s Blue Striped Racer, Dezian Queenfish, and Keefer’s Angelfish. These fish can be turned in to Fishbot 5000 for rewards.

    Only one of each rare fish drops per competition however they often drop after the main competition has completed so if you are wanting the rewards from these fish keep fishing and watch general chat for updates. People usually let others know when these fish are caught.

    The consolation prize is if you don’t win the competition or get the special fish, you can still turn in Speckled Tastyfish to Fishbot 5000 for a small monetary reward until the end of the event.

    Fishing Competition Tips and Tricks

    If you want to be competitive for the grand prize you need to maximize getting the 40 Speckled Tastyfish and ability to turn in the quest. Remember it’s not the first person to catch the 40 fish needed but the first to do so and turn in the quest. With that in mind here are some basic tips to help with success.

    • Set your Hearthstone to Booty Bay. This should be self explanatory. You can’t afford to spend the time running to the quest turn in.
    • Have a high enough skill in fishing to never have fish get away.
    • Have all travel boosts available to you - running speed, epic mounts etc. Getting from School of Tastyfish to School of Tastyfish with minimal downtime will add up.
    • Plan out what areas you want to be in and stick with it. Spending extra time trying to find that special niche instead of just fishing what you can find will bite you more than help. Everyone will be having competition so try to maximize the spot where you’re at.
    • For extra effort get someone to help you. If it’s for PvP encounters as a bodyguard, or as a scout to look for the next School of Tastyfish or even as a decoy to “fish” a Tastyfish pool to prevent the competition from seeing the pool as open and allowing you to swoop in with less downtime.

    Realize that this competition has a bit of skill associated with it but there is plenty of luck too. Depending on who is there and what kind of competition you have and luck with School of Tastyfish your results week to week can be quite a bit different.

    Advanced Fishing Facts

    Fishing is a very unique profession where you will get different results based on how and when you fish - either the water source, time of day, or even the day of the year. Yes the fishing results actually change just like seasonal fishing in the real world.

    Salinity - It exists in Azeroth

    There are different results depending on if the water is freshwater or saltwater. Fish like the Raw Whitescale Salmon can only be found in freshwater. Others like Stonescale Eel are only found in saltwater. In general as long as the type of water is the same, the entire zone has the same loot table. There are exceptions to this rule such as Azshara’s Bay of Storms.

    Seasonal Catches

    This is a lot more straightforward. Depending on the calendar year you will be able to catch different kinds of fish. This affects two fish: Raw Summer Bass and the Winter Squid. I’m guessing that you can figure out when each one is available. The Winter Squid range is September 23 to March 19 while Raw Summer Bass can be fished from March 20 to September 22. This is important for melee classes to know because Winter Squid is a very popular raid consumable that will need to be stocked up on in large quantities to take care of the needs of the summer months.

    Daily Catches

    In addition to seasonal changes, there are many fish that will go through a daily chance rate. This rate is also based on the server time and affects many fish. Daily catch rates follow a 6 hour rule meaning that there are 4 different rates throughout the day that dictate the loot tables of any certain area.

    Time Window 1: 12 AM - 6 AM
    Time Window 2: 6 AM - 12 PM
    Time Window 3: 12 PM - 6 PM
    Time Window 4: 6 PM - 12 AM

    Fish affected by daily catch rates can fall into two different probability bins. It’s affected whether they have a fully zero percent chance to fall in their off hours or if they are simply more rare. Fish fall into either a night or day type fish. Fishing pools are unaffected by the time of day, so this rule is only explaining how fishing in basic open water works.

    Night Fish

    Time Window Drop Rate
    1 Higher than average
    2 Average
    3 Lower than Average
    4 Average

    Night Fish

    Raw Nightfin Snapper, Stonescale Eel, Raw Glossy Mightfish, Plated Armorfish

    Day Fish

    Time Window Drop Rate
    1 Lower than average
    2 Average
    3 Higher than Average
    4 Average

    Day Fish

    Raw Sunscale Salmon, Winter Squid, Raw Summer Bass, Lightning Eel

    There are a lot of fish we don’t really yet know what the optimal time to fish is so if you are able to record the data and present it, it will help flesh out what we know for this. The above list’s accuracy should be verified as it is minimally tested data from vanilla.


    A lot of data was already compiled here by El.

  • Taladril has the most detailed guides AMAZING WORK!

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Taladril This is amazing

  • Paladin Alliance Partner

    Well detailed guide Taladril, I love it! Let's get the worms and the beers ready boys!

  • Founder Shaman

    Damn. And to think I only ever used to fish Stonescale.

  • Initiate

    Hey Taladril, thanks so much for this. Is this supposed to be posted anywhere in the Guides section at all? I looked for it there and couldn't find it. Either way, much appreciated.

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Craig-Nagovan we are doing some renovating for tomorrow. We are on the case. It should be up by tomorrow. The guides past is currently only showing 20 results