Final Fantasy XIV is chock-full of interesting little mini-games designed to whisk us away from the status quo of constant battle and complicated raids, but they often become quickly outdated and borderline irrelevant in a matter of weeks.
Ocean Fishing is the outlier here. It might not be as popular as the day it launched, when everyone rushed for its unique mount rewards, but it’s still by far the most efficient way to quickly grind to level 80 fishing. Even without an objective in mind, it’s a timeless Hydaelyn pastime that offers a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life in Square Enix’s premium MMORPG. Here’s how to make the most of it.
What is Ocean Fishing?
Ocean Fishing isn’t the same as diving below the waves to ram a spear through big shrimp and sharks. That was so last expansion. Instead, it’s a short voyage on a purpose-built boat where 24 players work together to reel in all kinds of rare fish.
If you haven’t warmed to fishing just yet, that’s no problem. The feature can be unlocked and explored as soon as you pick up the class at the Fishing Guild in Limsa Lominsa (more on that here). You’ll have the odds stacked against you when it comes to its lucrative rewards at these lower levels, but Ocean Fishing doubles as a great way to power level, too.
You can’t just jump off the boat and hop back on for another ride, though. Unlike battle classes in Palace of the Dead, Ocean Fishing adheres to a strict schedule. The boat sets off every two hours for a round-trip, so you’ll have to level the conventional way between each if you’re looking for the quickest route to level 80 Fisher.
FFXIV Ocean Fishing rewards
Depending on your level, the rewards for Ocean Fishing can differ. Before reaching the level 80 cap, the main allure of Ocean Fishing is the ludicrous amounts of experience points it awards not only with each catch, but when the points are tallied up at the end.
For those already a master of their craft, Ocean Fishing dishes out scrips — the end-game currency of the three gathering classes. How many points you manage to score ultimately relates to how many Yellow Scrips you earn at the end, but small amounts of White Scrips can be had by catching rarer fish.
Beyond that, most players in the early days of the activity will be aiming for two specific rewards: The Hybodus mount and the Major General minion, more on those down below.
But no matter your reason for going, every fish caught through Ocean Fishing can be framed and displayed in your in-game house. Bigger fish need bigger frames, and these can be bought with the yellow scrips earned during each run by chatting to the vendor on the dock.
Ocean Fishing routes — FFXIV Ocean Fishing guide
The Voyager takes pre-determined routes through the ocean when it leaves the Limsa Lominsa docks. These routes are made up of three of the four available spots chosen at random, meaning there is a total of 15 different possible routes. The ship spends around five minutes in each zone, with each housing different fish.
You can check with the NPCs by the boat to see which route it will take before hopping. This is important, as you’ll need to use specific baits in each location to achieve the top score needed for the minigame’s best rewards. You can buy the majority of bait on the boat itself, so you don’t need to worry about running out.
The Southern Strait of Merlthor
The Northern Strait of Merlthor
Strategy and bait — FFXIV Ocean Fishing guide
Amassing a high score in Ocean Fishing is down to both strategy and luck. Using the right bait at the right time makes a massive difference to your score, but luck will ultimately play a part in the final tally.
Rather than catching fish at random, it’s best to aim for each zone’s “Spectral” fish to trigger a “Spectral Current” — an instance-wide window which drastically reduces catch times and causes incredibly rare fish to become very common. During these windows, it’s easy to rack up high point counts with the right attitude. By targeting a specific combination of other fish in each zone, you can also activate a personal Fisher’s Intuition buff, which basically eases the difficulty of catching elusive five-star fish.
The fish (and bait) needed to trigger these windows differs with each zone, so familiarize yourself with the locations and prepare to switch baits as and when required.
Whether you’re a veteran fisher or not, the Ocean Fishing patch introduced a new way to gauge the fish you’re about to catch. Before now, it was possible to differentiate between the three strengths of fish tugs through sound, animation, and the rumble of a controller if using one. Now, exclamation marks will pop up above your head when something bites, with one, two, or three exclamation marks dictating the strength of the tug.
Knowing the strength of a tug a fish gives out is one step to knowing what you’re about to reel in, so we’ll note these when referring to a Spectral Fish in the guide. We’re not saying to ignore a bite if it’s not what you’re after, but it’ll go a long way to achieving a high score if you know to use something like Double Hook on a specific strength pull.
Before you dive into Ocean Fishing, you’ll need to stock up on bait. Luckily, there aren’t too many fish in the sea, so you won’t need to grab the dozens of different baits available around Eorzea and beyond. You’ll be given Versatile Lure when you unlock the minigame. These can be used by new fishers to grab quite a few of the fish available, but you’ll need the bait below to reliably catch the Spectral fish needed to trigger a Spectral Current:
Players looking to min/max and catch five-star fish with or without the Fisher’s Intuition buff will want to grab the following bait as well:
Shrimp Cage Feeder
Heavy Steel Jig
While you shouldn’t worry too much about this at lower levels, high-level players can, and should, bring a stack of Hi-Cordial with them to every Ocean Fishing run. Skills like Mooch II, Identical Cast, and Double Hook are vital when trying to reach the higher score counts needed for something like the Hybodus mount. Likewise, any food that might tip you over a GP threshold can help you get out another Double Hook during a time-limited window like a Spectral Current.
The following items may just make the difference to a high-level player and should be brought along:
Peppered Popotoes (or any available GP food)
Lower level players will want to bring the following to make the most of the potential experience point gains:
Any food (for the 3% experience boost)
Company-Issue Survival Manuals (from Grand Companies)
Any experience boosting equipment (Brand-New Ring or various pre-order bonuses)
Once you’ve cleared a page or so of inventory space, you should be good to go. Join up with a few friends and queue up, or just hop in the queue alone and see who you end up with. The more the merrier when it comes to triggering the buffs needed for high scores, but it’s entirely possible to top the charts without a full squad on board, too.
Ocean Fishing Guide — Which fish to catch for Spectral Currents and points
Once the boat leaves the dock, you’ll be taken to your first destination. If you’re aiming for a high score, helping to trigger a Spectral Current should be your primary objective.
There’s a slim chance of triggering a Spectral Current when anyone reels in a Spectral fish. A Spectral Current can be triggered once per zone per run and applies to the whole boat when triggered. The fact that anyone can trigger it means you should be ready to switch baits at any time. This way you can quickly make the most of a Spectral Current when/if it activates.
Then there’s the Fisher’s Intuition buff. This buff is triggered by catching specific fish exclusive to each zone. Once active, it awards a window to more easily catch five-star fish, making them great for eager point hunters. There’s mention of these elusive fish spitting out Grade-VIII material when desynthesized, so there are a few reasons why veterans might turn their attention here.
The Fisher’s Intuition buff lasts for one minute outside of a Spectral Current and 15 seconds during one, presumably, to stop you reeling in 40,000 five-star fish should the stars align. The bulleted list below will mention which fish trigger the buff, how to reel them in, and which five-star fish you can catch during them.
We’ve broken each zone down to its core fish and bait so you can make an at-a-glance decision on what you need to fish up and where. There are plenty more fish in each zone, and these change in and out of Spectral Currents, but the fish below are what you typically want to aim for. Catches in-between are mostly filler.
The Southern Straight of Merlthor
Spectral Current = Spectral Discus (Bait: Krill – Catch: !!!)
Fisher’s Intuition = Hi-aetherlouse (Ragworm) > Mooch/Mooch II > Great Grandmarlin (x2)
During Spectral Current ONLY = Coral Manta (Bait: Shrimp Cage Feeder)
Fisher’s Intuition = 1x Ghoul Barracuda + 1x Gladius
Ghoul Barracuda (Ragworm) > Mooch/Mooch II > Gladius
During Fisher’s Intuition = Little Leviathan (Plump Worm)
The Northern Strait of Merlthor
Spectral Current = Spectral Sea Bo (Bait: Ragworm – Catch: !!!)
Fisher’s Intuition = Gugrusaurus (Plump Worm) > Identical Cast > Gugrusaurus (Double Hook)
During Spectral Current ONLY = Elasmosaurus (Heavy Steel Jig)
Fisher’s Intuition = 1x Elder Dinichthys
Tossed Dagger (Ragworm) > Mooch/Mooch II > Elder Dinichthys
During Fisher’s Intuition = Shooting Star (Ragworm)
Spectral Current = Spectral Megalodon (Plump Worm – !!!)
Fisher’s Intuition = Heavenskey (Ragworm) > Identical Cast > Heavenskey THEN Navigator’s Print (Krill)
During Spectral Current ONLY = Sothis (Glowworm)
Fisher’s Intuition = 3x Galadion Chovy
Gladion Chovy (Krill) > Identical Cast > Galadion Chovy (Double Hook)
During Fisher’s Intuition = Drunkfish (Krill)
Spectral Current = Spectral Bass (Plump Worm – !!!)
Fisher’s Intuition = Silencer (Plump Worm) & Deep-Sea Eel (Plump Worm)
During Spectral Current ONLY = Stonescale (Rat Tail)
Fisher’s Intuition = Crimson Monkfish 2x
Crimson Monkfish (Plump Worm) > Identical Cast > Crimson Monkfish
During Fisher’s Intuition = Sabaton (Krill)
FFXIV Ocean Fishing point multipliers and missions
It’s not something you’ll hear groups talk much about, but point multipliers are awarded at the end of an Ocean Fishing run based on a bunch of different criteria.
You’ll largely rely on these multipliers to hit point thresholds needed for the minion and mount rewards, but they tend to come naturally. These bonuses apply once per run but can boost your score by 10, 20, 30, or even 50%.
We wouldn’t suggest aiming specifically for them, but getting super lucky in a run could see your end result catapult if your team manages to strike it rich.
Ocean fishing point multiplier bonuses are as follows:
Score 2,500 points or higher
Catch at least 15 fish during a Spectral Current
Catch a four-star fish
As a party, catch at least 10 different kinds of fish in the current location
Be the one to trigger a Spectral Current
As a party, catch 100 seahorses
Score 5,000 points or higher
Catch a five-star fish
As a party, catch at least 150 octopuses
As a party, catch at least 150 jellyfish
Catch at least 35 fish during spectral currents
As a party, catch at least 200 sharks
As a party, catch at least three five-star fish
Do I need to be level 80 for Ocean Fishing?
No, you don’t! Ocean Fishing can be unlocked as soon as you first pick up a rod. The Versatile Lure you’re given after completing the quest and unlocking the minigame can be used at any level, too, putting you mostly on par with any other fisher out there.
Versatile Lures can catch just about any fish featured in the minigame, but these fish do have what we call preferred bait — that is, bait that’s more likely to reel them in. The Versatile Lure will get you started for sure and is great for helping you quickly level up during Ocean Fishing, but it’s still recommended to grab the baits listed earlier in this guide
How to get the Hybodus shark mount — FFXIV Ocean Fishing guide
The new FFXIV Hybodus mount comes from the Ocean Fishing feature — or, more specifically, an achievement earned in the minigame. Getting the Hybodus mount requires you to score 10,000 or more points in a single run. After that, it’s a case of talking to the achievement guy by Apkallu Falls in Old Gridania.
Getting 10,000 points is many parts strategy and a few parts luck. RNG can make or break a run, but you won’t know the extent of it until the very end when group bonuses are tallied up and dished out as score multipliers.
Boosting your odds means going into Ocean Fishing with a specific strategy in mind. Spectral Currents — activated randomly when someone catches a Spectral Fish — drastically reduces catch rates and fish rarity, making it the perfect time for the group to fish up large quantities of elusive fish, boosting their points in the process. For that reason alone, it’s worth referring to the guide up above.
You can help increase the odds of a Spectral Current activating in the zone by focusing on catching Spectral Fish. Once it’s active, most players should then focus on catching anything and everything, while burning GP on Double Hook uses during Medium (!!) and Large (!!!) tugs to hopefully catch numerous high-yield fish in one go. A Spectral Current can activate once in each of the three zones you’ll travel through, so you’ll want to trigger two or three of these to have the best odds.
How to get the Major General shark minion — FFXIV Ocean Fishing guide
Like the Hybodus mount, the FFXIV Major General minion is awarded through an achievement in the Ocean Fishing mini-game. Getting the Major General minion requires scoring 5,000 points in a single run — which shouldn’t be too difficult for the majority of players. After that, it’s a case of talking to the achievement guy by Apkallu Falls in Old Gridania.
The trick to scoring 5,000 points in Ocean Fishing is to make the most of Spectral Currents — special windows that reduce catch times and fish rarity to help boost scores. These have a chance of activating whenever anyone on the boat catches a Spectral fish, so you’ll want to refer to the guide above to pitch in with the effort.
Once active, it’s a matter of catching as many fish as you possibly can, while potentially saving the use of Double Hook for Medium (!!) and Large (!!!) tugs in the hopes of catching multiple high-yield fish in one go. With the right strategy, you should be able to hit 5,000 points with just the one Spectral Current, so don’t worry if your group is having difficulty triggering multiple.
Does Gathering/Perception affect Ocean Fishing?
It’s a bit too early to tell just yet, but the general consensus is that Gathering/Perception stats don’t hugely affect Ocean Fishing results. Given players of any level can join the minigame to work toward what is largely a shared goal, we feel it wouldn’t make much sense to heavily gate results behind fancy gear and expensive materia completely out of reach for a portion of the participants.
While you will undoubtedly perform better with higher GP amounts and skills like Double Hook and Patience available to you, we can’t imagine low-level players having a naturally lower chance of reeling in a big fish with the correct bait compared to a higher level player with optimal gear. There’s the rest of the big wide world out there for that kind of content.
When to use Double Hook or Patience — FFXIV Ocean Fishing Guide
While it’s entirely possible to influence your catches by using the Patience Precision/Powerful Hookset, it’s rarely necessary to score enough points for the mount or minion. Rather than burning GP to then rely on pure luck, most have found it easier to reserve GP for Double Hook uses.
Most fish can be double-hooked during Ocean Fishing, giving you the potential to drag up two, or even four, rare fish in a single cast. For that reason alone, it’s largely recommended to time your GP usage around using Double Hook on Medium (!!) and Large (!!!) tugs during Spectral Currents — when rare fish become incredibly common. If a Spectral Current has come and you know you’ll fully regenerate GP before the next zone, you can use Double Hook on medium and large tugs outside of a Spectral Current, too.