New World Fishing: How to Level Up Fast (& Other Tips)

Image credit: Amazon / New World

I can confidently say that I don’t think many players have spent more time fishing in New World than me so far since it’s release. And I can safely say that no others have fished as much as me in the Broad Fishing Hotspot whilst also tracking all of their findings into a detailed spreadsheet as they went.

Yes, that’s right, I tracked every single fish that I caught in New World — well, at least every fish that I caught from approximately level 13 up to level 44.

As I didn’t have an existing New World fishing guide to rely on, I had to learn and figure everything out for myself in order to write this.

Note to other writers: if you use any of my findings, please credit this post. This research took me a lot of effort. Thank you.

Some of the things I had to determine were:

  • Where to get a fishing rod
  • Where to get bait
  • Whether fishing in deep water or shallow water was better
  • Whether you can catch all types of fish in one place
  • If you catch better fish more often as you rank up
  • How effective bait is
  • What the most efficient way to fish is
  • How to catch rare fish more often

And much, more more.

So, if you’re looking to learn about fishing in New World and level up your fishing as quickly as possible, I’ve got a range of great tips to share with you in this guide.

Where to get a fishing rod

If you go through the beginner quests at the start of the game, you’ll naturally acquire a fishing pole. That said, here’s how to get a fishing rod in New World:

  1. Locate Master Fisher Michael Shield. You’ll find him at the Broad Fishing Hotspot in Windsward.
  2. Accept his quest.
  3. You’ll be awarded with a fishing pole when you return to Master Fisher Michael Shield with the items he asks you for, and you can immediately begin fishing.

If you want to get a better fishing pole in New World, we have a guide for that.

Where to get bait

You can find Firefly Bait by looking in Bulrush or Briar plants, both of which can be found surrounding the lake at the Broad Fishing Hotspot and respawn quickly. You’ll only get bait from Bulrush approximately 10% of the time, and from Briar approximately 25% of the time, so make sure you keep searching.

How effective is bait at catching rare fish?

After getting my hands on some bait, I was eager to find out just how effective it was — after all, you don’t actually need bait to fish.

The game promises an increased chance of landing rarer fish when using certain baits. With Firefly Bait, for example, you get “a large boost to chance of catching better fish in fresh water”.

But I’m a curious type — what is a large boost? How many more rare fish do you catch with bait?

So here’s what I did: I caught 374 fish (and other items), roughly half of which were using Firefly Bait and roughly half of which weren’t using any bait. I also tested at various depths (very shallow, shallow and deep) whilst fishing at the Broad Fishing Hotspot, but I avoided using the hotspot in the lake that’s particularly good for finding tadpoles in New World.

I tracked everything one-by-one in my spreadsheet as I caught them.

Here’s what I found:

  • Of 162 items (including fish, treasure chests and other items) that I caught without using bait, 6 were rare — 3.7%. 23 were also uncommon, or 14.2%. The remainder were common.
  • Of 212 items that I caught whilst using bait, 8 were rare — 3.8%. 27 were uncommon — 12.7%. The remainder were common.

It doesn’t take a genius to spot that the “large boost” to catching rarer fish seems to be missing? Overall, the percentage of common fish was actually larger whilst using bait.

But rarity isn’t the only thing that can judge how ‘good’ an item is, so I also tracked how much XP I earned for every fish too. You get more XP for rarer items but you also get more XP for larger fish too, so perhaps you catch more large fish with bait?

  • The average XP I earned whilst not using bait was 124.1.
  • The average XP I earned whilst using bait was 124.9.

Both of these figures account for the 10 XP you get for a successful hook on your line.

With only a difference of 0.8 XP, I can’t confidently say that you get more good fish when using bait compared to not using it.

However, there is one important thing I noticed:

Is using bait more efficient?

Not only was I tracking fish, rarity, XP, fishing depth and more, I also timed how long it took to hook a fish when using bait compared to not using it.

Here’s what I found…

Using bait is much more efficient than not using bait.

If you’re looking to level up fishing rank in New World fast, you’ll want to use bait.

The efficiency boost you get depends on the depth you’re fishing at, but I found that using bait was significantly more efficient at hooking a fish — this is the stage after you’ve cast your fishing line out and you’re waiting for a bite.

If we assume that it takes around 20 seconds on average to reel in your fish or item, and it takes another 5 seconds on average to finish the fishing animation and to re-cast out your line, then using bait is somewhere between 15%-43% more efficient.

Why such a large range? Well…

Fishing in New World is most efficient at deep depths

If you’re looking to level up fishing ranks quickly in New World then you’ll definitely want to land your line — with bait equipped — into deep water when casting it out. Please note, this excludes active hotspots.

Active hotspots are better than deep water, but assuming there are no hotspots, deep water is best.

If you can’t find any deep water (you could just go to the Broad Fishing Hotspot and fish in the spot pictured above) then your next best bet is shallow water, but if you’re looking to rank up fast then avoid very shallow water at all costs because it’s so inefficient.

I found that the average time to get a bite when using bait in deep water was around 4.5 seconds. In very shallow water, it was closer to 15 seconds. Shallow water falls somewhere in the middle.

Without using bait, these times vary between around 9 seconds on average for deep water, all the way up to around 25 seconds for a bite at very shallow depths.

So, whilst bait doesn’t appear to be great for landing rare fish right now, it’s definitely the best fishing method for fast XP in New World — and it’s best done at deep depths, too.

However, the time spent gathering bait might actually offset the time you save when fishing at deep depths, so this is something else you should consider. I’d recommend buying bait if you want to rank up in the quickest time.

To continue my attack on very shallow water, I didn’t hook a single Treasure Chest in this depth either — I caught quite a few in deep waters and a smaller number in shallow depths.

How to maximize fishing efficiency

To best most efficient when you’re fishing, cast your fishing line across the shortest distance possible so you spend less time throwing it out.

When you’re reeling the fish in, keep the indicator within the green — but make sure you’re maximizing how long you spend in the green zone. Let it close all the way and open it again as far as you can before it turns orange, and repeat.

When you’ve finished reeling the fish in, make sure to click once to skip the unhooking animation.

Does size matter?

One thing I noticed during my experiment is that the use of bait did seem to improve the size of the fish I was catching, at least a little bit.

My chances of catching large fish was pretty similar between using bait versus not using it and I haven’t caught a large enough quantity of large fish to have any statistical significance to judge yet.

However, when it came to medium sized fish, I did catch them at a noticeably more frequent rate with bait (33% of the time) compared to not using bait (26.5% of the time).

What fish can you catch in the Broad Fishing Hotspot?


After spending so much time fishing, I’m fairly confident in saying the following list is every fish you can get in the Broad Fishing Hotspot in Windsward.

That said, I’m still using the first fishing line that Master Fisher Michael Shield gives you because I wanted to keep all of my data consistent. I’ll update this at a later date if I discover this is not an exhaustive list, but for now this is the best I have:

  • Bass (Common)
  • Catfish (Uncommon)
  • Dragon Fish (Rare)
  • Perch (Common)
  • Pike (Common)
  • Piranha (Rare)
  • Salmon (Common)
  • Tadpoles (Uncommon)

You can also get items like Treasure Chests or a range of things you’ll probably want to discard such as anchors, soggy boots and hammers.

The annoying for me is that I spent so long fishing here because I thought this would be where to find a snail in New World, but that’s not true, it seems. Thanks to the comments of this article, I managed to find one in the next location below.

First Light

I haven’t done as much fishing in the First Light Broad Fishing Hotspot, but here’s what I managed to catch there using the basic wooden fishing pole so far:

  • Salmon (Common)
  • Pike (Common)
  • Perch (Common)
  • Tadpole (Uncommon)
  • Sturgeon (Uncommon)
  • Catfish (Uncommon)
  • Aquatic Snail (Uncommon)
  • Albenaja (Legendary)

How to catch rare fish more often

At deep depths, I caught 10 rare items out of 164, meaning I got them approximately 6.1% of the time. 33 were uncommon, around 20.1%.

At very shallow depths, I got 2 rare items out of 100 — that’s 2% for the mathematicians out there. 12 items were uncommon, or 12%.

This pretty clearly shows that you’ll catch more rare fish when fishing at deep depths, yet another reason to fish in this type of water.

Other than that, as it seems that you don’t catch rarer fish despite gaining XP and leveling up, you can try using better bait (maybe wait for me to test that) or get a better fishing line/rod. To get a better fishing line you can look into crafting — you can make a treated wooden fishing line at level 0 crafting.


If you didn’t want to read all of the above, that’s fine. Here’s the key information, summarized:

  • You should fish at deep depths to rank up quickest
  • You should use bait to rank up faster, but only due to efficiency
  • Deep depths are better for rarer fish, meaning you also rank up quicker as a result and probably make more money from fishing too
  • Your fishing level seems to have no impact on how good the fish you catch are
  • I tested all of this at very shallow, shallow and deep depths in the Broad Fishing Hotspot fresh water, using Firefly Bait and no bait, whilst using the free fishing line that Master Fisher Michael Shield gives you for everything to keep data consistent. I avoided the ‘hotspot’ in the lake to ensure testing would be suitable for other locations too (the hotspot is in shallow water here, but probably won’t always be in shallow water).

Is fishing not your thing? Check out our New World mining guide and see if that’s more up your street.


Leave a Comment

  1. To the left of First Light Hamlet settlement, youll see a pond. Has a fishing spot there, with a small dock. Fish there (its shallow) but you’ll catch snails every 10-15 casts with bait.

  2. you can catch snails in ancient shrines, like the small pools or the larger bodies of water near them.

  3. I remember reading somewhere in a patch note that the better fish would be in Reekwater (as the zone is level 60, and the newest one in the game), so I hiked all the way to the secret fishing spot in the bottom right corner of the map (you can look it up on and fished there for about an hour. Can safely say it sucks ass, and has just about the same chance as any other place in the game, lol.

    But the hotspot near the old man by the river, the one that has a shitton of main quests, is pretty damn good. Got a couple of treasure chests there, even though it has no deep water.

  4. Thanks for the info and I caught a snail in a small freshwater pond east of the fort in monarch’s bluff.

  5. The Broad Fishing spot near First Light, just NW of the town, gives you the snails, its an uncommon reward. I’m curious what the difference is between the star ranking, I’ve never been to that fishing hole but the one near the MSQ guy in the center of the map is 3 star, and the two I’ve seen in First Light are one star. I’ve yet to see any fishing holes in the ocean but I havent actively looked for them yet. I plan to do this tonight. My fishing is pretty high as well, It’s probably going to be my focus going into retail so I’ve been messing around a lot with it in beta. Hit me up in discord if you want to compare notes!

    • Thank you, I managed to catch a snail thanks to this comment! And before I managed to land one, I hooked in my first legendary fish in the same place too — an albenaja :)

  6. I have only ever fished for one session, but I’m pretty sure that I fished up some snails in a river (west of Windsward) along with salmon. It was in deep water (one click short casts) and I used up all of the random bait that I found, though I’m not sure if that mattered. It was also right next to a small waterfall (I went down-river, away from people on a fishing dock). I can’t be 100% certain though because I cooked everything that I caught once I got back into town that day. I’m 85% certain that I caught 2-3 on that trip though after fishing for about a hour or two. I hope this helps; awesome guide!

    • Okay, I went back to the same spot and just caught an ‘aquatic snail’, but my directions were wrong. The small waterfall was east of Moonshade in Monarch’s Bluffs (I went up-river from Fisherman’s Bend, not down). You can see the rock formation on the map. The location probably doesn’t matter though. I will note that I fished for ~40 minutes but didn’t catch the snail until it was nighttime so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I also used Tier 2 rod if that matters.

  7. Good job on that guide, I appreciate your effort.

    About the snails: I cought some in a small pond just west of Everfall Hamlet. Leave Everfall Hamlet at the southern exit and turn right. Follow the road for like 100m. When the road makes a left turn, just continue to walk straight ahead and you should see the pond.

    I used the crafted iron fishing rod, so I can’t tell if it’s the location or rather the higher quality rod that cought me those snails. Snails are uncommon (green) btw.


    • There will be a full update of this post, including salt water, when I’ve managed to track it all down :)

  8. “You can also get items like Treasure Chests or a range of things you’ll probably want to discard such as anchors, soggy boots and hammers.”
    No, you want to salvage them as you often get iron back

    • I deliberated over the wording here but as this is a guide to ranking up fishing quickly it’s important to not become unencumbered with weight, and therefore it’s better (for skilling) to discard. But yes, you can salvage if you’d like to get something a little more useful too!

  9. Great start to this well-written guide Luke.

    You do not need to wait for the fishing animation.
    Once you’ve caught the fish, simply click again and it’ll cancel it and then repeat as normal. That’ll save more time especially for the scened catches for snails, tadpoles, etc.

    I also suggest salvaging most fish into fillets. Fillets sell for quite a decent amount. Tier 1 can hit up to or more than 5 gold apiece. Tier two can sell currently 50 g or more (this obviously varies from server and region).

    When catching fish, the tension tends to follow a similar pattern for harder to catch fish. If you pay attention to the pulling actions, after a certain number of tugs, there will be a gap where you can pull for a lot longer and gain some ground for those tougher fishies.

    You’ll also notice that oars, boots, swords, treasure chests (I believe) do not resist you, so when you loosen the tension, it will not drag away from you. So that’s one way to notice unwanted trash if you do not wish to salvage them.

    I find that I catch way more tadpoles and snails in hotspots. (i know your guide is focused on vanilla fishing so it’s not useful for that). But I have caught quite a lot in freshwaters around Everfall.

    What else you could discuss:

    – Night and Day fishing
    – Fresh vs Salty
    – Difference between broad, rare, and secret hotspots and what they look like

    Hope this helps, I’m sure I have plenty more to add but cannot think right now. I am a 70+ Fishing player and master fishing rod crafter for tier 3/4+

    Hit me up sometime. Would be great to grow the fishing community in this epic game.

    • Thanks for this, we actually published a video on this today and we covered some of the things you mention (i.e. animation skipping).

      Some other great tips too! I’ll try to cover as much as I can in a full rewrite of this when the game fully launches.

  10. Thank you for this Guide :) I have learnt many things from it, but i have to correct you on one thing. Do not cast the line across the shortest distance to make up some time when casting. The further the Cast, the easier it is to reel in fish, because you lose less progress in the “fighting” phase of the Fish. It’s actually really hard to reel in Rare Fish when you only cast a couple Meters, i tried it.

  11. What do you mean by deep depths I don’t get it where do we have to fish? show us a map with these deep depths 🐠

    • When you cast your fishing line into water it will always tell you how deep it is (very shallow, shallow or deep).

  12. Super small sample size, and not reliable at all. Here’s the problem I have with this approach, while fishing with bait you’re also gaining levels, personally I noticed that the higher level I get the more large fish I catch, so when you then fish without bait the conditions aren’t the same. So the results aren’t comparable, should instead be tested from level 1, same bait/no bait, same equipment, same gear stats and mainly focus since that affects fishing, on 2 characters and a larger sample size.
    Which is kind of unreasonable to ask, but otherwise these percentages of common/rare/uncommen mean absolutely nothing.

    The rest of the info I think is solid enough though! :)

  13. Ive gotten the legendary catch and several treasure chests fishing in the river that runs through windsward. when you cast off the bridge near the engineering station its a deep water area so it has some pretty good results.