After catching all the fish and reaching 500k points when Ocean Fishing first came out, I didn't touch Ocean Fishing at all, even after they added new routes in Patch 5.4. It was only very recently that I started riding the boat again, going from 500k to 3m points in a span of about 42 days.
I deliberately avoided adding a section specifically on Ocean Fishing to my guide until now because others had already created guides on the subject. While the content of those guides are mostly adequate, some of the information is now outdated. Furthermore, there are certain aspects about Ocean Fishing that I haven't seen anyone talking about so I'd like to shine some light on those topics. Please note that the focus of this guide will be on explaining how Ocean Fishing works, not route specific tips.
Before any discussion takes place I want to state that I don't claim to be a leading authority on Ocean Fishing. The suggestions in this guide are drawn from my own personal experiences and from information compiled from online discussions. That being said, I'd like to think I'm at least somewhat qualified enough to be writing on the subject as I've spent a substantial amount of time on the boat during my journey to 3m points. For the record, I didn't go on any solo boats nor did I specifically target high value routes during my grind. I would estimate I averaged about 13-14k points per boat, scoring over 20k on 8 separate instances.Fundamental Mechanics:
1. A session consists of three 7 minutes segments, each occurring at a different location and time of day. You are free to fish as much or as little as you want during this time, but Cast will be disabled in the last 30 seconds of any segment. If your line is already out when the timer ticks below 0:30, you can still reel in any bites, but if the animation does not end before the timer hits 0, then your catch will not count.
2. Duty registration is open for 15 minutes after the hour starts. Matchmaking will attempt to form 24 player groups, but in the event that it is unable to find 24 players at the end of the registration period, players in queue may commence the duty without a full boat.
3. The language options in Duty Finder settings affects matchmaking. Setting your language to something other than the majority language used on your data center and queuing late will have a greater chance of producing a small boat.
4. You can leave the boat before the session is completed without any penalties, but you will not be allowed to join another boat until the next session. Furthermore, any points accumulated before abandoning the duty will not be counted towards achievements.
5. Gathering and Perception stats don't matter at all. More specifically: Gathering doesn't affect the likelihood of fish escaping nor does it affect the yield from Double Hook. Perception doesn't affect the likelihood of an HQ catch. The only stat that matters is GP, and you should be maximizing it through food and melded gear.
6. All fish have a small chance to escape. As Gathering does not come into play, there is no way to prevent this.
7. Don't use the Versatile Lure, it makes fish take longer to bite.Spectral Currents (SC):
1. Each area has a Spectral fish, which, when caught, has a small chance of triggering a Spectral Current. SCs cannot occur after the timer drops below 1:30. The following things can affect the rate of activation:
-The Auroral Flipper buff from dolphins increases the chance of triggering a SC.
-If a zone does not experience a SC, the activation rate of a SC will be increased in the following zone.
-The total number of players on the boat also affects the activation rate, with lower numbers increasing the rate of activation. Being the only player on a boat does not guarantee SC activation.
Please note that SC activation rate is separate from the rate that a Spectral fish will bite. It doesn't matter how many boosts to SC activation are in play if no one on the boat manages to hook a Spectral fish.
2. The base duration of a SC is 2 minutes. If a zone does not experience a SC, the next SC to activate in the following zone will have a duration of 3 minutes. This effect does not accumulate, so if both zone 1 and zone 2 do not experience a SC, zone 3 will only have a maximum SC duration of 3 minutes.
3. Any SC that is in progress will be cut short if the timer reaches 0:30. In the event that a SC is cut short, the remaining duration it would have normally lasted for is added to the duration of the next zone's SC, up to a maximum duration of 3 minutes. For example, if zone 1 does not experience a SC, then zone 2's SC will have a maximum duration of 3 minutes. Suppose that in this case, the SC in zone 2 began at 2:00 on the timer. It would be cut short after 1 minute and 30 seconds, resulting in the remaining duration added to zone 3's SC duration. However, the maximum length is 3 minutes, so zone 3's SC duration will be 3 minutes, not 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
4. The weather of a zone will be set to Clear Skies at the end of any SC.Dolphin and Gull Buffs:
1. Some testing has been done to suggest that these are completely random and are not affected by player input.
2. Gulls grant Gullstorm, increasing HQ rate.
3. Dolphins grant Cetaceous Speed, increasing GP regeneration by 10 per tick, and Auroral Flipper, increasing SC activation rate.
4. The durations for these buffs may not be fixed, as I've personally witnessed Gullstorm last longer on other players. If anyone has any data on this, please share it with me in the comments.
5. You must receive the aforementioned buffs for them to count towards the minion achievements. It is not enough for the NPCs to comment on their appearance.Reacting to unwanted bites during Spectral Currents:
Because a SC only lasts a short amount of time, you will want to maximize the number of casts during the window if you're targeting a specific fish, such as those that trigger Fisher's Intuition or the ones that contribute to the party-based achievements. I've created a video comparing the various options for dealing with unwanted bites, please read the description of the video for further analysis:
TL;DW: Use Quit if your strategy doesn't involve Patience or Surface Slap, ignore bites otherwise.Maximizing points over the long term:
1. Do the missions whenever possible. Each one that you complete adds a 5% boost to your score, with an additional 5% on top of that if you manage to complete all three missions. Putting it into perspective, let's say your base score at the end of the boat is 6000, a reasonable amount to expect on a 1 to 2 spectral boat. A 20% boost from the missions would increase your score by 1200 points.
2. Reel in everything, before, during, and after a SC. This is probably the most controversial piece of advice in my entire guide, but in my experience, and from observing the top scoring players on my data center, it is generally not worth it to ignore bites, even if they are from the lowest point fish in the pool or if they do not contribute to mission objectives. The point I am trying to make is that there is no guarantee that the time saved by ignoring a bite will net you an extra cast of something more valuable later on.
3. Use bait for mission completion instead of the Spectral fish. Okay I lied, THIS is probably the most controversial statement of my guide. Before you get your pitchforks out, let me explain my reasoning. What I'm suggesting here is that if the preferred bait of the fish that contribute to mission objectives differs from that of the Spectral fish, you should use the former instead of the latter. You might be saying: "But Kiku, SCs contribute a lot to my score! Why wouldn't I optimize around trying to trigger one?". My argument against using the Spectral fish's preferred bait is that doing so doesn't increase its bite rate enough to justify it.
If you don't believe me, look up the page for the Cieldalaes Margin
on Teamcraft. The data suggests a 1% increase in bite rate for the Spectral fish when using the preferred bait, whereas you can see a 5-10% increase for each non-Spectral fish's preferred bait. In other words, whether you use the "right" or "wrong" bait, the odds of a Spectral fish bite are approximately the same. Furthermore, even if you do catch a Spectral fish, there is no guarantee a SC will proc. I don't have the data on hand, but anecdotally, across 200+ boats, my personal observed rate of SC activation is about once every 10+ catches of a Spectral fish. While the 10% score boost for triggering a SC is nice, you don't need to be the one to trigger a SC to reap most of its benefits.
4. Regarding GP usage outside of SCs, use Double Hook or Identical Cast if capped on GP to help complete missions. If you managed to complete the missions early and a SC has already occurred in the zone, Patience is an acceptable use of excess GP. Chum also can be used, but the other options are generally better.
5. Bring bait for the 5* fish even if you're not actively targeting them. Their point value and potential for the Fabled Fishers bonus justifies swapping baits if you happen to unintentionally trigger their intuition.
6. Read part 2 of my guide for Cordial optimization.
7. Patience II is a viable option over DH on SCs where there are either no 4 yield DH fish, or if there is a 2 yield fish that has an extremely high base value. In routes such as these, you can use Patience II at 3:00 on the timer outside of a SC and it will be active if the SC pops late.Back to Part 2