In-Depth Master Angler Guide
1) Getting Started:
- A) Before starting the quest for Master Angler, you have to understand that you’re in for a very long time investment if you want any chance at completing. You’ll need to catch 12 different trophy fish (8 Green rarity and 4 Blue rarity fish) split between 1-4 waters in each major Zone, and 1 Blue rarity fish in each of the 3 starter zones. In my experience, it takes about 4-6 hours per region, and with 17 major regions, it’ll take at least 100 hours, more if you run solo. To speed things up, check your Friend and Guild lists and especially Zone chat for other fishermen trying for their achievement or farming for Perfect Roe. You’ll also be doing a lot of running and riding around, so Rapid Maneuvers from the Assault skill line is critical, and even Well-Fitted or Fiord’s gear if you want to move around quick. If possible, I recommend watching Netflix or listening to an audio book while you fish.
- B) At the same time, the pay-offs for the achievement itself aren’t very rewarding; a dye, a couple hundred achievement points, and a fancy title (along with the accolade furnishing to go with it, the boat). For achievement hunters such as myself, simply the title was enough to convince me to go after it. However, the secondary pay-off is the ever sought-after Perfect Roe, the main ingredient in Psijic Ambrosia Exp Pots, and by extension, Mythic Aetherial Ambrosia Exp Pots.
- C) So now that you know what you’ve got in store for you in your quest for Master Angler, you’ll need bait. There are four types of water fish can be found in: Foul, Lake, Ocean, and River. For each of these waters, you need a particular kind of bait for each. For Foul you need Crawlers, for Lake you need Guts, for Ocean you need Worms, and for River you need Insect Parts. If you’ve ever farmed zombies (Skyreach, Sentinel Beach, Vile Lab, etc.) you’ve probably found more Crawlers than you’ll ever need. But zombies also drop Worms and Guts in abundance. These three baits are easily farmed, but Insect Parts are a little tedious to collect. However, most rivers will have Torchbugs or Butterflies to catch buzzing around. If you want to farm bugs en masse, wayshrines in Rivenspire usually have a handful of bugs around them, and the small body of water near Fallen Grotto in Bangkorai has a ring of Torchbugs and Butterflies around it. Each of the waters also has a catchable bait you can rarely find that can be used for another water. In Foul, you can catch Chub used for Ocean; in Lake, you can catch Shad used for River; in Ocean, you can catch Minnows for Lake; and in River, you can catch Fish Roe for Foul. (Make this into bullet points). For each water, 2 kinds of White rarity fish can be caught, the bread and butter for farming Perfect Roe. In Foul, you catch Slaughterfish and Trodh; in Lake, you catch Spadetail and Silverside Perch; in Ocean, you catch Longfin and Dhufish; and in River, you catch Salmon and River Betty. Of course, if you have the gold, you can always just buy the bait off guild stores as needed, just about 3k of each bait will be enough for your quest (but you’ll need a lot more Crawlers for a reason I’ll outline later).
- A) As with every piece of content in MMOs, and especially with ESO, RNG plays a big part in fishing. For your achievement, you’ll have to battle with ZOS and their horrendous RNG systems. The drop rate for a Green rarity fish for a solo fisherman is 5%, and even lower for your elusive Blue fish. With group members, your chance for rares gets boosted. With 2 people in a group, the chance is 10%, with 3 people it’s 15%, with 4 it’s 20%, and with 5 it’s 25%, going no higher than that for subsequent group members. However like the loading screen says, the hole will dry up faster with more group members. Fishing holes have 15 fish in them, and each group member added will usually take an equal portion of the hole when you start. You’ll get 15 fish each hole solo, 7-8 each for 2 people, 5 each for 3 people, etc. Each cast is on a timer though, 10-25 seconds after your bait hits the water, so it’s entirely possible for one group member to get 1-2 more or less than other group members. If you’re only fishing for Perfect Roe you’ll want to fish solo to get the most possible White rarity fish to fillet, and the drop rate is a little different. You don’t catch it from fishing spots, rather you fillet the White rarity fish you catch for a small chance at getting Perfect Roe. I’ve found my probability of filleting and getting a Perfect Roe hovers around .8-1.5%. Not very high, but you’ll probly be catching around 8-11k fish over the course of your Master Angler quest so don’t get discouraged if your rates are low, that’s how they are for everyone.
3) Reading the Water.
The New Life Festival introduced a fantastic quality-of-life drink for avid fishermen, the Hissmir Fish-Eye Rye. For 2 hours, fishing holes will light up similar to how resource nodes light up with Keen Eye passives, and you will also be told what Water type you’re at as you look at the hole. PC had something similar to this with various addons, but for console players wishing to complete their Master Angler achievement, this drink is wonderful. The range at which you can see the fishing holes lighting up is far greater that the 30 meters Keen Eye gives you, and saving time, bait, and fish in the hole guessing what kind of Water a hole is is a boon for all prospective Master Anglers, PC and console alike. This drink is especially helpful for telling the difference between Lake and River holes and for finding the rare Foul Water holes in each zone. If you don’t have access to the drink nor addons, you can tell which kind of water you’re at with a little bit of observation. Lake holes and Ocean holes are the easiest to tell. Lake holes are usually ponds or larger bodies of water that aren’t flowing. If the zone has a Coast, it’ll have Ocean holes easy to find. Cyrodiil however is a relatively landlocked zone, but has Ocean holes just northeast the Aldmeri Dominion East Gate for whatever reason (good luck Pact and Covenant Fishermen! I’ll give some tips for fishing these spots farther along in the guide). River holes are equally easy to find, as any flowing water will usually be a River hole. However, holes that are right above or below a waterfall will be River holes. Foul Water is the bane of every prospective Master Angler’s existence, as they are tough to find, not always close together, and very sparse in almost every zone. However, to make your search easier for you, look near sewers, foggy swamps (I say foggy because all of Shadowfen is swamps, but fog will usually tell you if it’s Foul or not), and dead bodies, skeletons, or Hoarvors in the water to find the Foul locations. I will also gather map screenshots of as many Foul spots and other tricky Waters to find for each region.
4) Boosting your RNG.
I cannot stress enough how much easier and more tolerable your Master Angler quest will be with at least one more person to join you. For me, I copy/paste a message to Zone chat and each of my guild chats to ask anyone of they’d like to join me to catch trophy fish or fish for Perfect Roe. I wouldn’t say spam Zone, but if the rare fish are eluding you, don’t hesitate to ask. Even one extra rod in the water will help your odds! Using this tactic, I was able to complete all of the Aldmeri Dominion Zone (each of the 5 regions and the starter island) in just under 24 hours total with at least 2-4 people in my group the entire time. While 24 hours may seem like a long time anyway, the alternative is usually around 30+ hours solo for each Alliance Zone. Like I mentioned, if you’re simply farming for Perfect Roe but would like to get as many rares for the achievement as possible along the way, it’s more beneficial to fish solo.
5) Tips for fishing in Cyrodiil.
When I started playing this game, I’ll admit, I was actually afraid to PvP. I completed every scrap of PvE content (100% achievement completion in all Guild, Dungeon, Exploration, and Questing outside of Cyrodiil) without a horse and without Rapid Maneuvers because I didn’t know how Cyrodiil worked. The first time I entered Cyrodiil was actually to complete my Master Angler achievement. I was lucky enough to have chosen an Aldmeri Dominion character (Representing for all my Khajiit Nightblades out there) and home myself in a very inactive campaign (back when Axe of Belharza was still around) to complete my achievement in, so I didn’t actually see an enemy player until after completing my Master Angler achievement. Now that there are fewer campaigns, it’s a little tougher to hide yourself, especially so for EP and DC Anglers who must travel across the map to reach the Ocean and River spots outside the AD gates. Fishing in Cyrodiil is especially time consuming because of how large the map is (unnecessarily large in some opinions) so Rapids and a well fed mount are extremely recommended. A couple of other recommendations I can make for prospective Anglers behind enemy lines are:
- A) Equip and morph Magelight in the Mages Guild skill tree into Radiant Magelight. This skill reduces damage you take from stealth by nearly 60% and prevents you and your group from getting stunned from stealth attacks. This skill alone will prevent almost 100% of gankers from one-shotting you, and simultaneously allows you to cast the skill and prevent them from stealthing again. Even having the skill on your bar gives yourself a buff that is visible to enemy players that usually deters them from trying to kill you.
- B) Use Detection Pots or Invisibility Pots to kill gankers trying to kill you or escape yourself if you don’t think you can take on multiple enemies at once, respectively. These Pots in conjunction with Radiant Magelight make it easy to combat the ganker playstyle.
- C) If you’re in an active campaign and there’s a fight going on near you, ask a cross faction friend or two to fish with you or even escort you to the fishing holes behind enemy lines. That way, they can either tell people to not kill you, can help you kill enemies, or prevent you from getting attacked altogether.
- D) If you have enough AP or gold to spend, consider picking up some Forward Camps just in case you’re worried about getting killed while fishing. It’s a long ride back and while taking one of the captureable towns certainly makes it easier to get back, a Forward Camp will draw less attention.
6) Tricky Spots and Coldharbour ☠️
Coldharbour is going to be a doozy. All the waters in the zone are Foul, so you’ll need to catch a whopping 4 Blue rarity fish. No matter how good your RNG is, this Zone will take longer than any other Zone in your quest, so a fishing partner or two or a season of Netflix is highly recommended, as well as a couple thousand Crawlers. Both of my characters took a couple 6-8 hour fishing trips to get the achievement, but I’ve also met people who have cleared it solo in around 3 hours. So just like the old adage says, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Travel time in the zone won’t be a problem as most of the water holes are in the western part of the map that can be cleared around two wayshrines.
Other tricky spots in Tamriel:
Foul Water is hard to find in every zone and very often spread out. As I mentioned, you can tell it’s Foul by the presence of dead bodies, skeletal remains, or hoarvors in the water. Each zone will usually have foul spots, and when they do, they’ll usually only have 4-6 spots that you’ll need to travel a while to get to. The two regions most notable for having a low number of foul spots spread across their maps are Reaper’ March and Alik’r Desert. Reaper’s has 5 Foul spots, 3 grouped around each other and another 2 on the complete opposite side of the map, so wayshrines, fast horses, and patience are very necessary for fishing here. Alik’r is similar but even more dubious because there is no River water, therefore there are 2 Blues in the Foul Water. So you’ll have to ride between 3 spots around one location, 2 spots in another, and 2 spots in another, each across the map from each other and a long ride to reach. Other regions with few, spread out foul spots are Greenshade, Stonefalls, Shadowfen, and Stormhaven.
Similarly, some zones have tricky waters that aren’t always Foul, most notably The Rift. The Rift is another zone with only 3 of 4 waters, so there are 2 Blues you must catch for Rivers in the Rift. Unfortunately for us, there are only 4 River spots in The Rift, and 2 others which are hidden inside the public dungeon, The Lion’s Den. The 4 spots in the overworld are spread across the map, 2 in the northwest and 1 in the southeast. But what about the 4th overworld spot? The 4th overworld spot is by the 2 in the northwest, but it’s hidden UNDERNEATH the animation for a waterfall. I barely managed to discover it myself as I was harvesting a node there and actually heard the sound a fishing hole makes as I got close. I looked around in the water and found one of the few (if not, the only) invisible fishing hole in the game. If that doesn’t prove to you that I’m a Master Angler, I’m not quite sure what will. I ended up catching one of the two Blues you need for the River spots in the Rift in that invisible spot with the help of a buddy.
7) Mildly Amusing “Juju.”
Now that you have an outline of just about everything concrete about fishing in The Elder Scrolls Online, here are some mildly amusing findings that I have come across in my various fishing trips across Tamriel.
- A) The Perch: Whenever I fish, I always try to find the highest point or the top of a rock or tree trunk from which to reach a fishing hole. I swear by this strategy but it probably has no affect on your RNG.
- B) Blue Juju, or “Bluju”: As as 2 Time Master Angler, I have come across an interesting phenomenon: often when catching Blues across different characters, you’ll catch them in the same hole. Another Master Angler [Link the 12 Time Master Angler MyNameIsElias here] has also found this to be true and definitely has more data with which to support his finding than I do, so I feel pretty confident that this can have an effect on your RNG for finding the Blue rarity fish.
- C) Don’t link the Blues: Along my travels, I’ve noticed that it’s bad luck to link your Blues you’ve caught in chat after you’ve caught them. After I or group members catch a Blue and link it, other group members take longer to catch the Blue. This might actually have to do with the “Bluju,” and how certain spots have a higher probability of dropping Blues than others do. So someone catches a Blue at a high probability spot, links it, and then the group continues and doesn’t hit another high probability spot for a while. Linking something someone else needs is also kind of painful; I remember fishing in a group in Grahtwood and having a group member pull the Ocean Blue 5 times and link it each time. Subsequently, it took me several hours to get that Blue even after that, so now I just tell people I have a superstition about it.
- D) Group Size: “The more group members you have, the higher probability at rares” as the loading screen says. For me, I’ve found the optimal group number to be 3. Solo, you get 15 fish to yourself and an abysmal 5% chance at rares. Adding more group members does give you a better chance, but it decreases the number of fish each member gets, so there’s a bit of diminishing returns involved. So for me, I like to stick with 3 people, or just go solo, cause I could be getting all 15 fish in the hole, or just 7/8 with 2, which is making you miss out on a lot of extra chances for only a 5% increase in RNG. Adding a 3rd group member makes it so everyone in the group gets 5 fish each, and everyone gets a 15% chance. Mathematically, each group member you add to the group does give you a better chance at rares, but you get a lot less chances compared to solo, so there’s merit for any kind of group size. You just gotta find what works for you.
- E) You can’t blame your healer: This isn’t really anything superstitious, rather there’s not another place for me to put this discovery. I really like fishing and recommend it as a destresser. In the wise words of Ron Swanson: “Fishing relaxes me. It’s like yoga, except I still get to kill something.” After a long day of getting zerged in Cyrodiil or wiping in dungeons or trials, I like to fish a couple holes. You can’t be bad at fishing, and there’s no one to blame if you don’t get what you set out for. The tank can’t blame the healer, and the healer can’t blame the dps, and the dps don’t have any Red to stand in to kill themselves while fishing. I think a lot of the player base would do well with a fishing trip not just in game, but maybe in real life, to get a sense of peace and to stop complaining about this change, that player, these factions, or ZOS themselves. The game might not change the way you want it to, but if you want to play it, you can either change yourself or change games.