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How to fish in Sea of Thieves

When you don’t feel like marauding or digging for treasure in Sea of Thieves, alternative options abound. You can cook a steak, pick an instrument and play a tune with the crew, get drunk on grog…or fish. And since fishing is a combination between casual, relaxing play and the ability to get rewards, it’s a pretty popular pastime!

We suggest giving fishing a try in Sea of Thieves when you’re waiting for friends to join a server who really want to stock up on specific healing food or items. Here’s everything you need to know to get going.

Further reading

Get ready with your rod

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The fishing rod was added to Sea of Thieves several major updates ago, so anyone with an updated version of the game should have it at all times. To access the rod, open the radial menu by pressing LB on the Xbox controller (the Q button on PC, unless you remapped), and shift over to the second radial wheel to see additional equipment. Your rod should be there, ready to equip.

Find some bait

You can fish without bait (more on this below), but it’s harder to catch fish and impossible to get certain fish without the right kind of bait. There are three major types of bait — grubs, leeches, and earthworms. You can usually find them in any seaside barrel, and will probably pick several up when barrel-hopping for supplies at your first seapost. Otherwise, they often are found simply digging into the seashore or in the nearby grasses.

With your fishing rod equipped, open your radial item wheel and select the option to attach your bait (Y on console, R on PC). Choose the type of bait you want.

Pick your fishing hole

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When first starting, it doesn’t really matter where you choose to fish, so you can cast off from the bow of your ship if you want. Any dock or pond will also do, although as you get more experienced you’ll want to look for specific ponds and locations where rarer fish reside. At the right spot, press RT on the Xbox controller or LMB on PC to cast your line.

Make the catch


Keep an eye on your fishing line until you see a fish start to circle it. After a brief time, the fish will bite your hook and then try to escape. To tire the fish out, move your rod in the opposite direction the fish is trying to flee. If the fish is pulling straight forward, for example, pull the rod down to counteract it. After a little back and forth, the fish will tire and you can claim your prize.

Wait! If you’re specifically catching the fish to eat and regain health, take it to the frying pan in your ship first and cook it. Eating raw fish too quickly in-game can make you sick, and won’t award as much health back. Don’t let your fish sizzle too long, however, or it will get burnt. You can tell when a fish flank is ready to eat by how it changes color — wait for it to grow a pleasant dark shade.

Narrow down your catch

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If you’re a completionist, you can try catching different kinds of fish and rare varieties! There are 10 different species of fish in Sea of Thieves to catch, and each one has five different subspecies to search for (so 50 fish varieties in total), including very rare versions that only come out at night or are only available at certain locations. Check out the 10 main species and what master fishermen should know about them:

  • Splashtail: Hunt in the open sea for these little guys – they’re the easiest fish to catch and don’t even require bait if you’re short on supplies, making them a great pick for recovering after a battle.
  • Pondie: As the name suggests, these are basic fish that live in freshwater ponds on the islands instead of the open sea. Like splashtails, they’re relatively effortless to catch.
  • Islehopper: These fish like to circle around particularly large islands, and each large island tends to specialize in a single variety. Fortunately, you don’t need bait to catch these guys, either.
  • Ancientscale: Fittingly found in The Ancient Isles, these fish are only interested in leeches, but sell for far more than the other fish we’ve mentioned so far.
  • Plentifin: Plentifins reside in the ocean around The Shore of Plenty (again, it’s easy to see how they got their name). They are only interested in earthworms, so prepare accordingly.
  • Wildsplash: Wildsplashes love the seas surrounding The Wilds, but you will need earthworms to catch them.
  • Devilfish: The Devilfish is only found in the heated waters of The Devil’s Roar, where you can catch them with the help of grubs.
  • Battlegill: Battlegills are one of the most challenging fish to catch since they are only found in the waters around active battles with Skeleton Forts or Skeleton Ships. No other world event will attract them, so you’ll have to enter one of these encounters and then assign a player to fish for them. You’ll need grubs to attract them.
  • Wrecker: Up for a challenge? The Wrecker is only available around shipwrecks, and only eats earthworms. The easiest way to find them is to simply capsize your own ship. Special variants require fishing at wrecks during special events, adding another layer of challenge.
  • Stormfish: The Stormfish follows heavy storms around the map, and will only eat leeches. You can farm them from an outpost or an island if you catch one in the middle of a storm. You can tell when the big storms come along because your compass will stop working properly.

Note you can also catch larger versions of every fish called Trophy Fish, which can sell for lots more gold and rep, but otherwise don’t do much.

Fish for Ashen Keys

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Fish aren’t the only things you can catch with a fishing rod. If you fish without any bait you can hook random items called Treacherous Plunder. Most of the items are totally useless except for wood planks, but you can earn a commendation if you get them all. However, one item in particular is worthwhile — a chance to get an Ashen Key, which can open very lucrative Ashen Chests.

The easiest way to fish for Ashen Keys is finding a quiet pond on an island and setting to work without bait on the hook. If you see a fish circling your rod, cancel your cast and try again so you don’t get unending amounts of pondies. If no fish circle for a while, try pulling your line back in and see if it caught on some plunder.

Sell to a Trading Company

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Not planning on eating your catch right away? You can also visit a sea outpost and sell it to the Trading Company rep (stores called Spoils, Posts, Bazaars, etc). This will earn you Hunter’s Call rep and some coin, useful for getting new titles. You don’t have to cook fish if you are selling it for the rep, but a properly cooked fish will increase its gold value…unless you burn it, which drastically reduces value.

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