How to fish in Sea of Thieves: a complete guide to bait, locations, catching and cooking fish

Once upon a time, Sea of Thieves was all about conflict. If it wasn't the skeletons and sea monsters players were hurling cannonballs at, it was each other. But these days, some pirates have retired to the quiet lives of anglers. If fishing has caught your fancy in Sea of Thieves, you'll need to know how to catch each of its dozens of varieties. This guide will tell you all you need to know about how to fish in Sea of Thieves.

Equipping the rod

On entering the game’s anniversary update, players will automatically possess a new fishing rod. To equip the rod, simply open the item wheel (Q on PC, LB on Xbox One), then navigate to the second wheel (F on PC, X on Xbox One). Select the rod from the menu and you should be good to go.  

Baiting the line

Some fish will require bait (grubs, leeches, worms) to appear. You can find bait in resource barrels across the world, with the best locations being the Seaposts, where Merrick and his family have set up shop. 

To equip bait, simply select the rod, then close and open up the item wheel again. There should then be a prompt in the middle of the dial that says attach bait (R on PC, Y on Xbox One). Select this and highlight the bait you want to use on the menu. 

Where to find Fish in Sea of Thieves and what bait to use

There are 10 species of fish in the game, with 50 unique variations in total. Each species of fish requires a different approach to be caught, such as fishing in a particular area or attaching specific bait to your line. 

On top of this, each fish species also has at least one variant that needs to be caught at night. These include: Seafoam Splashtail, Amethyst Islehopper, Starshine Ancientscale, Watery Plentifin, Coral Wildsplash, Moonsky Pondie, Firelight Devilfish, Bittersweet Battlegill, Moon Wrecker, Twilight Stormfish.

We’ve outlined how to catch each of them below: 

  • Splashtails – Splashtails are the most common type of fish. They spawn anywhere on the map and require no bait to catch. 
  • Islehoppers – Islehoppers spawn in the shallows surrounding islands and can be caught without bait.
  • Pondies – Pondies can be caught anywhere in fresh water (though we recommend fishing at Hidden Spring Keep, as no enemy skeletons will spawn there, if the fort is inactive). Again, no bait is necessary to catch them.
  • Wreckers – Wreckers are located near shipwrecks, which appear below a flock of birds, and need worms as bait.
  • Plentifins – Plentifins are local to the Shores of Plenty (the north west region of the map). They require worms in order to be caught.
  • Wildsplashes – Wildsplashes are native to the Wilds to the north east of the map. They also require worms.
  • Ancientscales – Ancientscales spawn in the Ancient Isles (the southern region of the map). You’ll need leeches to tempt them onto your line. 
  • Stormfishes – Unsurprisingly, Stormfishes occur inside of storms. But you’ll also need to attach leeches in order to goad them over to your line. It’s best to attempt to catch them when you have another player at hand who can repair damage caused by the storm. 
  • Devilfishes – Devilfishes are another tough species to catch. They spawn in the Devil’s Roar region of the map to the south east, and require grubs as bait.
  • Battlegills – Battlegills spawn around active forts and in battles against skeleton crews, and demand grubs for bait. We recommend taking the fort method, because you can pretty easily avoid aggroing the skeletons on an active skull fort (the cannons will still fire at you on approach though) if you avoid stepping on the island or use a rowboat.

Learn to identify each fish from their pictures in the reputation menu. This way you can avoid wasting bait on Splashtails when you want to catch another rarer fish type. Simply press the RMB button before the fish bites (the LT on the Xbox One) and the line will retract. 

It’s also worth noting that there are trophy variants for each fish type. These are much larger fish that put up a bit more of a fight. 

How to cast and catch fish

Once you’ve decided what type of fish it is you want to catch, head to the appropriate area and cast your line out (by pressing LMB on PC, RT on Xbox One). Don’t worry about being close to any of the fish you see swimming in the water, as fish will appear regardless of where you aim. Also, be sure to leave as much room as possible to either side of you, as if the shore or a ship should interrupt the line between you and the fish it will break.

After a while, a fish should appear to bite your line. Once it does, you will need to tire it out before attempting to reel it in (using ASD keys on PC, left analogue stick on Xbox One). Otherwise the line will snap. Pull in the opposite direction to where the fish is swimming and after a while the fish should stop thrashing in the water. Once it stops, reel it in as fast as you can (hold RMB on PC, RT on Xbox One), then repeat the process until caught. 

Once you have a fish, you can then take it off the hook (using F on PC, X on Xbox One). This will add it to your food inventory, if you have room. If not, you’ll have to empty your inventory first into a barrel. Taking the fish off the line is important, because you will lose the fish if you die with it still on the line (we learnt this the hard way).

How to cook fish

Once you have a few fish to sell, you can then trade them to Merrick and his family, in order to unlock commendations and earn coin. However, the amount earned for uncooked fish is less. In order to increase the value of your catch, you’ll therefore want to find a campfire on any of the islands and cook the fish in a pan (F on PC, X on Xbox One). There’s no UI element to tell you when a fish is done cooking. But we found two techniques that can help. The first is using the telescope to take a closer look at the fish and waiting for its eye to turn white. The second is removing the fish temporarily and using the resources menu to check its colour. It should be a crispy brown, if cooked properly.

Cooked fish are also useful for regenerating health. Eating a cooked fish at full health will fill up a secondary health bar, which will slowly heal you whenever you next take damage.

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Freelance writer

Jack Yarwood is an experienced freelance writer and investigative journalist, with bylines on a variety of publications which include GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, Polygon, IGN, Fanbyte, and more. Jack specializes in reporting around the tech, arts, and entertainment sectors.