Guide to Fishing on Nocturnal Souls

by DHoffryn, updated 20 September 2020

Ready for a relaxing day out fishing? This quick start guide helps you dive into FFXI fishing with tips, tricks, and insights how to play the mini-game.

Where Do I Start?

This guide assumes that you have never fished on a FFXI server, but tries to point out any major differences between the retail experience and Nocturnal Souls with this “take note” symbol 📝 if you have. To start fishing you will need a rod, some bait and some water. More about these things in a moment.

First Some Background

Fishing has been a big part of Japanese RPGs since the early days of computer games, and fishing in FFXI has evolved a lot over the years, mostly to stop people from cheating. People used to fish for Gil, which made it a popular target for bots. SE introduced the fishing “Mini Game” in an attempt to stop this practice. When I dusted off my fishing rod and returned to FFXI the game was almost unrecognisable. But Gil is easy to come by on Souls, so you are really only fishing for cooking ingredients, the satisfaction of a “blue 110” on your craft list, and something to do while you kick back after a hard day killing monsters.

Catching Your First Fish

My First Rod.

You can buy a rod from the AH, there are a couple of quests that award rods, and even some monsters that drop fishing rods. Every fisherman dreams of the legendary Lu Shang fishing rod, or the mysterious Ebisu, but the simple Halcyon rod is a good general purpose starting point until you reach those lofty goals.

To get started you will need to pick a target fish that is inside you ability range, you certainly won’t be going after a Megalodon for a while, and certainly not with your starter rod.

📝 In retail, there was a very significant chance of snapping your rod if you caught a fish that it couldn’t handle. While there is still a chance this could happen on Souls, the risk is lower, especially on the lower level fishes that you will be starting with. Players on retail servers would deliberately snap rods to create “A Broken X Rod” which was then used for crafting. Crafting on Souls is significantly faster than on retail so this is not really a viable path for crafting.

Finding Your First Fishing Spot

Equip your brand new rod and some bait as shown below …

equipping a fishing rod

Each of the three starter cities has a body of water where you can catch Moat Carp. Moat Carp can be caught with a variety of bait, but Insect Paste Balls is probably the most convenient and can be made by anyone with cooking craft of level 29 or higher. If you can’t make them, or buy them on the AH then several vendors also sell them.

Now stand facing the water and select “Fish” from the personal menu …

starting to fish

You can also type “/fish” on the chat menu…

fishing command

If you’re not close enough to the water, the option to fish does not appear in the menu…

no fishing option

If you use the “/fish” command, the client will point out hte error of your ways.

fishing error

Just like fishing in real life you now have to wait. A number of different things can happen at this point. The game might decide that you haven’t caught anything, and so you pull in your line …


This is disappointing, but it could be worse. As you never had a bite you don’t lose your bait, and after a moment or two you can try again.

If your luck is in, you will get the message “Something Caught The Hook!” and the mini game will begin …

successful catch

There are three important things to watch during the mini game, the left and right arrows, and the fish health bar. When the rod moves to the right (as shown above) you need to pull to the left, as indicated by the arrow on the screen. You can do this using the movement controls on your game pad, or the “4” key on the numerical pad if you are using a keyboard.

When the rod moves to the left you need to pull right, again you can use the movement controller on your game pad, or the “6” key on the numerical pad of your keyboard …

reel it in

The fish health, or stamina, will decrease every time that you pull in the right direction, but will increase every time you get it wrong, and pull in the wrong direction.

Here you can see the fish is almost exhausted …

low fish health

📝 In retail you could take a chance and try to land the fish. Sometimes you won, sometimes your line snapped and you lost both the fish and your bait. On Souls, you will ALWAYS lose if the fish is not fully exhausted when you pull in your line.

Once the fish is exhausted it is time to pull it in …

land it

To pull the fish in either use the action button on your game pad, or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. You will then be told what you’ve caught …


Congratulations, you have just caught your first fish.

So, I’m An Expert, What Now?

Well, there are a few more basic things that you need to know. You won’t always catch a fish, there are all sorts of junk items sitting at the bottom of the water in the cities, any one of which could get caught on your line. If you pay attention you will notice two different messages …

hook messages

Some objects are useful, and on retail players are known to fish for these items, but if you don’t want to land an object you can cancel the fishing and pull in your line. You will however lose your bait.

Some fish, even in the cities, may be too hard for you to land, even if you fully exhaust them. If that happens you will get the following message …

lack of skill

What’s A Lure?

The bait we used to catch our first Moat Carp is considered live bait. A lure is a mechanical device that is used instead of live bait. The advantage of a lure is that it is not “used up” when you catch a fish or an object. It is, however, usually more expensive and is lost if your line snaps.

I Got A Skill Up, What’s That All About?

Well first, congratulations, not every fish that you land will give you a skill up, so they are worth celebrating when they do. You should join the fishing guild as soon as possible. Go and have a chat with “Thubu Parohren” at (C-8) in Port Windurst.

📝 This is Nocturnal Souls, so the guild is always open and no one takes a holiday.

Skill ups are awarded in points, between 0.1 and 0.9 based on random chance. Once you get to level 8 or above you can take a test to be promoted, but you can’t earn any more skill ups beyond level 10 until you take and pass the test.

Each test is a specific fish that you are required to bring back and trade to Thubu, these are listed below …

Level Item Rank
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
98 - 100 Tiger Shark Expert

The rank is the title you are awarded when you pass the specific test. If you forget what fish you need to catch, have a word with Thubu and she will remind you.

If you see a Tarutaru following you around, don’t worry, the fishing guild is not checking up on you, and if you buy the test fish from the AH, or it’s given to you by a friend, you will still pass the test. But you will know, won’t you.

While you are in Port Windhurst, have a look in the guild shop for anything interesting such as new rods and lures.

What A Whopper!

Some times you will get the message …

you caught a monster

This is ALWAYS going to be a monster. You may choose to let it go, or you can fight it and land it and then fight it again. Some monsters drop items that make them worth catching. But always be ready to put up a good fight …

monsters at sea

Looking Good

There are a number of items that you can wear that influence the way that you fish. Some of these can be bought from the AH, while some either have to be crafted, or are obtained by finishing quests.

fishing gear

📝 The gear items that can be used on Souls are listed below …

Item Effect
Fisher’s Torque Fishing Skill Level +2
Fisherman’s Belt Enchantment: Fishing Skill Level +2
Fisherman’s Apron Reduced chance of hooking an object
Fisherman’s Smock Reduced chance of hooking an object
Fisherman’s Tunica Fishing Skill Level +1
Angler’s Tunica Fishing Skill Level +1
Fisherman’s Hose Fishing Skill Level +1
Angler’s Hose Fishing Skill Level +1
Fisherman’s Gloves Fishing Skill Level +1
Angler’s Gloves Fishing Skill Level +1
Kachina Gloves Makes it less likely to break a rod
Waders Fishing Skill Level +2
Fisherman’s Boots Fishing Skill Level +1
Angler’s Boots Fishing Skill Level +1
Pelican Ring Enchantment : Faster Skill Ups
Albatross Ring Enchantment : Greater Stamina
Noddy Ring Reduced chance of hooking a monsters
Tlahtlamah Glasses Fishing Skill Level +1

It is important to realise the effect of a raised fishing level caused by gear. Your unadjusted level is the one used to determine your possible skill up when catching a fish, but the adjusted level is used to determine if you can land the fish. This means that by wearing fishing gear you can land higher level fish at a lower skill level, and get more skill ups by doing so.

Fishing Guild Points

Guild points for fishing work the same as any other craft, the NPC (Fennela) will tell you what is in demand, and you trade the fish for guild points. This is important, there are some fish that can ONLY be landed once you have certain Key Items that are purchased with guild points. You Mentioned Quests?

Yes, I did. There are a lot of quests that involve fishing, some of which are essential to make it to level 110. 📝 The following quests have been tested and are known to work …

Quest: Under The Sea

  • Start NPC: Yaya
  • Where: (H-9) Selbina
  • Reward: Amber Earring

Quest: The Sand Charm

  • Start NPC: Blandine
  • Where: (I-9) Mhaura
  • Reward: Map
  • NOTE: This quest is slightly modified. Zexu has been moved to G-10 (outside the docks) and the Sand Charm drops from Wights in Gusgen Mines (details on Members Portal).

Quest: The Gift

  • Start NPC: Oswald
  • Where: (I-I) Selbina
  • Reward: Sleep Dagger

Quest: The Real Gift

  • Start NPC: Oswald
  • Where: (I-I) Selbina
  • Reward: Glass Fibre Fishing Rod

Quest: Father and Son

  • Start NPC: Ailbeche
  • Where: (J-9) North Sandy
  • Reward: Willow fishing rod

Quest: Something Fishy

  • Start NPC: Tokaka
  • Where: (C-8) Port Windy
  • Reward: Gil + Fame

Quest: Pirate’s Chart

  • Start NPC: ???
  • Where: (F-9) Valkurm Dunes
  • Reward: Albatross Ring + Various

Quest: Inside The Belly

  • Start NPC: Zaldon
  • Where: (H-9) Selbina
  • Reward: Various (different per fish)

Quest: The Rivalry

  • Start NPC: Joulet or Gallijaux
  • Where: (H-8) Port Sandy
  • Reward: Lu Shang Fishing Rod

Quest: Indomitable Spirit

  • Start NPC: Irmilant
  • Where: (G-7) Rabao
  • Reward: Ebisu Fishing Rod

Yeah, I know that they’re all junk until the last three, or four, but those last three are killer quests.

So What Aren’t You Telling Me?

📝 Well, there are some more differences between Nocturnal Souls and the retail fishing experience, and I guess you should know about it now rather than later.

📝 Some of the main places to fish in retail were the various ferry zones, but we don’t have those, so the fish have moved. The saltwater fish have moved to Purgonorgo Isle (!craft) and the freshwater fish have moved to the bridge over the river in Reisenjima.

📝 The Pirate’s Chart quest is a little different, you can’t land any snares to help fight the three monsters, but YOU MUST start fishing before the 15 second timer expires or you won’t get attacked, and your chart will be lost.

📝 The Brigand’s Chart quest is not currently working.

📝 There is currently no “Fish Discernment”.

📝 There are currently no chances of critical hits (gold arrows).

Tell Me About Legendary Fish.

Well, some fish are so big they are legendary, and some need a special item to catch. These special cases are …

Fish Requirement
Gugrusaurus KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Hakuryu KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Kokuryu KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Lik KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Phantom Serpent KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Sekiryu KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Soryu KI: Serpent Rumours (bought with guild points)
Tiger Shark KI: Angler’s Almanac (bought with guild points)
Tricorn KI: Frog Fishing (bought with guild points)
Lord of Ulbuka Have to have landed at least one each of the following fish : Remora, Ancient Carp, Tusoteuthis, Longa, Cameroceras

Okay, So I’m A Fishing Nerd, Tell Me The Numbers.

Fair enough, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you …

There is a base 20% chance that every time you cast your line an object is hooked. This is reduced by 7% if the player is wearing the Fisherman’s Apron, or 5% if wearing the Fisherman’s Smock. It the test fails, an object is hooked. If there are no objects in the zone the player gets the “You didn’t catch anything” message. If an object is available one is picked at random and placed on the hook.

If the object test fails (and a rod and lure are being used that can hook a fish in the current zone) a monster test is made. Each zone has a different chance of catching a monster. If the test fails, a monster is picked from the available list as placed on the hook. Most zones have a limited number of monsters, so when a lot of people are fishing what should have been a monster could end up as a “You didn’t catch anything” message.

Assuming that neither an object nor a monster are hooked, a fish is hooked based on the chance of the fish being caught with the active bait. Each zone has a chance of catching a fish under these circumstances, so some zones might be harder to get a bite in than others.

The mini game is seeded to provide a challenging experience based on the type of fish. Smaller fish thrash about more, but bigger fish are typically stronger. The type of rod used is also a factor as shown in the table below …

Rod Target Time vs Small vs Large vs Legendary
Willow Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Yew Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Bamboo Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Fastwater Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Tarutaru Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Hume Fishing Rod Small 30 sec + 10% - 5% - 25%
Clothespole Big 20 sec - 5% + 10% - 25%
Mithran Fishing Rod Big 40 sec - 5% + 10% - 25%
Lu Shang’s Fishing Rod All 60 sec + 5%
Ebisu Fishing Rod All 60 sec + 5%
Glass Fiber Fishing Rod Small 60 sec + 5% - 10%
Carbon Fishing Rod Small 60 sec + 5% - 10%
Halcyon Rod Small 60 sec + 5% - 10%
Single Hook Fishing Rod Big 60 sec + 5% - 10%
Composite Fishing Rod Big 60 sec + 5% - 10%

There is a limit (to prevent level 0 fishermen catching legendary fish) to the lowest level each fish can be caught. For a legendary fish this is level 90. For small fish this is the level cap minus 25, and for large fish the level cap minus 20.

The base skill up chance is 40%, but it is adjusted by circumstances as follows …

  • Chance in increased by 10% if outside a city
  • Pelican ring (active) increases the chance by 20%
  • If the player level is between 5 and 10 levels of the fish the chance is increased by ( Fish – Player ) * 2%

Lu, What Is It Good For?

Well, as a fisherman you really should have one, but, you can level to 110 without it. There are no test fish that can ONLY be caught with the Lu. That being said, a lot of the really big, legendary fish, can only be caught using the Lu or the Ebisu, so you really should bite the bullet and do the quests. The up side is that, despite a low drop rate on the items, the Ebisu quest is a bit easier as the fish are easier to catch.

How Should I level To 110?

The simple answer is catch the test fish until you reach a high enough level to catch the next on up. It is, however a bit faster if you ignore the fish in cities as much as possible as you get a bonus for fishing outside of a city. Additionally, try to get in the sweet spot of 10 levels or so below the fish level.

Where Else Can I Get Information On The Fish?

Because every web site has a different set of information, Nocturnal Souls will be adding fishing information to the members’ portal. The location / rod / bait combinations used in Souls aligns broadly with the information listed on the BG WiKi.


A full combo guide is coming to the members portal soon!

Are There Other Numbers, And Are You Going To Tell Me?

Yes, and No.

Happy Fishing …