I wanted to post some thoughts of my experience with Fishing in ARR thus far, and maybe post a small guide on how to get it to lvl 20 pretty quick. It took me about 4 hours to go from lvl 1-20 on my own, with no assistance from others or tips from websites. I don't know if it was intended to lvl it up this fast; maybe I just got reeeeeeeeeally lucky with my choice of bait/locations. Never really written a guide before... well, this might not even be considered a "guide" per se. I dunno. In any case, the NA/EU data centers just went down, so I thought I'd also kill some time contributing a little ^^
Let's see... where to begin...
(Again, these are just my thoughts from my own personal experiences. I may very well be way off the mark from what others have done. In fact, if anyone has a better or easier method, please let me know ^^)
Well, the Fisherman's guild is located at Fisherman's Bottom in Limsa Lominsa. You just talk to the guild receptionist there, same as you would when unlocking any other class. Fishing itself is pretty self-explainatory - You are given 4 actions; Bait, Cast, Hook, and Quit. You select your lures with bait, throw your rod into the water with Cast, and once you get a tug/bite, reel it in with Hook. You can buy different Bait from the Fieldcraft Supplier NPC in Hawker's Alley in Limsa, or from a Merchant & Mender in pretty much any Sanctuary (Swiftperch, Aleport, etc) The Bait these NPCs offer can differ. For example, Hawker's Alley NPC sells basic Lugworms, Moth Pupa, Crayfish Balls, and Pill Bugs... Whereas the Merchant in say Swiftperch sells Goby Balls, Bloodworms, Midge Baskets and Rat Tails.
Bait can only be used in certain types of water. There are 3 different types from what I can see so far:
In the actions and traits section, however, it mentions something about Sand/Dune and Sky Fishing. I've no idea what this is about, so I wont really comment on them... but it sounds awesome! :D
I also HIGHLY recommend buying 10-20 Jack-o-Lantern Foods from the Independent Culinarian at Hawker's Alley. This food Increases Perception by 6%, as well as gives a 3% bonus to EXP per catch. More on perception later, but very useful.
Your first quest received is to collect Lominsa Anchovies (5 of them I believe) and turn it in to the NPC back in the guild hall. These can be caught right outside of the guild on the docks, using the Lugworms given to you when you registered. Very simple quest.
You can continue fishing on said docks until lvl 5, when you receive your next quest which tells you to collect 3 Harbor Herrings. This is basically an introduction quest to using different Bait, as you will be required to use the bait given to you by the quest NPC to catch these (Pill Bug), not the Lugworms. Again, they can be caught in Limsa Lominsa and its surrounding Ocean-type waters pretty commonly once you switch to that Bait. Getting 3 should take no time at all.
Rinse and repeat until level 10, where the next NPC quest is to catch an HQ Princess Trout out by the Nym River in Middle La Noscea. This is where the Perception stat starts coming into play. Perception increases your chances of obtaining an HQ item while gathering. The more perception, the higher that chance goes up. I recommend you always keep your field gear upgraded to your level, especially those pieces that have perception. Catching this HQ Princess Trout is easy (In fact, I caught one on the very first try), and you only need one. Grab it and return to quest NPC.
Now this is where I would imagine different Fisherman choose different ways of leveling up, because at this point you can safely move out of Limsa Lominsa and explore different fishing locations. Where others go... who knows, but for me (And the quick EXP), this is how I did it: That last quest you just finished should have given you 99 Bloodworms. After you finish it, I recommend going to Upper La Noscea (Directly North from Aleport). This zone contains lvl 20-22 mobs, one of which (Wild Wolf) aggros, so be careful. Shortly into the zone, you will come across a freshwater/river fishing spot which is inhabited by Stoneshells. Use your Bloodworms here, and you will catch Lvl.15 River Crabs every single time (At least I think every single time; Out of like 80 casts, I never received anything other than these). They give amazing exp, especially if you catch them HQ (Which I did quite a bit actually). Getting to lvl 15 should be a breeze this way. (And on a personal note, I have a very strong feeling that these crabs will become useful for other crafting professions. They might go well on the AH. I dunno, something about the name I guess... reminds me of FFXI. Might be worth holding onto and selling/crafting yourself. Just a feeling though).
At lvl 15, a new quest becomes available. You gain access to Fishing Holes, which grant you more fishing options/exp. Your quest is to catch 5 Navigator's Dagger from a Fishing Hole at The Brewer's Beacon in Western La Noscea. You will need the Rat Tail, which can be purchased from Swiftperch. Directly behind the lighthouse at the target location is a small accessible area which is perfect for fishing. Cast from there and you shouldn't have much problem making the quota. Return to quest NPC for your reward.
At this point, even more options become available due to Fishing Hole access. Again, I'm not sure what others did, but the following method got me from lvl 15-20 in approx. 45-50 min:
Purchase 99 Midge Baskets (Swiftperch NPC), and travel to The South Shroud. This is an EXTREMELY dangerous area for your current level, so try to put your Stealth action to good use. Your target area is a small Freshwater area just south of "The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak" Dungeon. Using the Midge Baskets, cast from the small ledge on the east corner of that little pool area you'll come across. Aggroing mobs never go there, so you can fish in peace. You will be catching 2 different kinds of fish - Nettle Stonefish and River Sphinx. Both are level 20 fish, and because this is a Fishing Hole, it nets you bonus exp, which stacks with the 300% (or 303%) that you receive when catching HQ versions. The exp is amazing!
((Added: It is also easy to obtain level 20 simply by fishing at the Fishing Hole from the previous quest at The Brewer's Beacon. The EXP there is also good. ))
Back at the fishing guild, you will receive your level 20 quest from the Qiqirn NPC. This quest is to catch 5 Warmwater Trout in Oakwood, which is located in Upper La Noscea. This quest, I would imagine, is a sort of introduction to using Lures. Lures differ from Bait somewhat in that they are not consumed with each use and can therefore be used repeatedly. The recommended Lure to use here is the Crow Fly Lure, which can be obtained 2 ways that I know of - The first is to have it crafted by the Goldsmithing profession (Lvl 20 I believe), or the easier method is to simply purchase some from the Junkmonger NPC located in Oakwood. It should be noted that many lures cannot be purchased this way, and that some are Craft-exclusive (which I would imagine leads to catching rare fish that would be otherwise unobtainable). As for the Warmwater Trout target locations, there are a couple of options, but the easiest is to simply head just Northeast of the aforementioned Junkmonger NPC. You will see a river that is, quite frankly, impossible to miss. Put your stealth action to use, as you will come across quite a few mobs that will aggro. Cast your Lure from that riverbed and you should be able to attain your quota - The main cause of concern this time around, for me anyway, was avoiding aggro. Return to NPC once you have obtained all 5 trout.
Edit: I am currently putting fishing on hold for a short time until I have gotten my SCH to level 50 (Currently standing at level 47, so it shouldn't be too long). Once I obtain 50, I will devote much more time into Fishing, and to the completion of this guide. ^^
Edited, Sep 4th 2013 2:08am by Swiftskye