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RDR2: How to master fishing

red dead redemption 2 fishing guide lake
Image courtesy Rockstar

Even the most fearsome outlaw needs a break every now and then, and what better way to relax than with a fishing trip? Like hunting, fishing is an essential component to surviving the Wild West world of Red Dead Redemption 2. As a player, knowing how to fish is a key way to obtaining crucial resources and supplies and will also net some unique rewards for more skilled fishermen. Take a look at the guide below for our tips on becoming a legendary angler.

RDR2: How to master fishing

Choose your lure

red dead redemption 2 fishing guide bait shop
Image courtesy Rockstar

The first step to any successful fishing trip is choosing the right bait. Some types of bait can be easily obtained by using inventory items such as small pieces of bread or cheese. If you’re just looking to catch a bit of dinner, these types of bait will do just fine. However, if you’re hunting a larger or rarer fish, you’ll want to head to the bait shop in the town of Lagras, tucked into the murky swamps of Lemoyne. This shop offers all varieties of bait, from common lures to rarer and more expensive Special Lures. In particular, you’ll need to have a Special Lure equipped to attract the game’s Legendary Fish.

Each lure is unique. Some lures are better suited to certain areas like rivers or lakes, and some will be more likely to attract certain species of fish. Get to know each type of lure and choose carefully before casting your line. If you can’t seem to catch the particular type of fish that you’re looking for, double check your bait. You’ll want to make sure you’re not using a river lure in a lake or that you’re using a type of bait suited to attract a particular fish.

Choose your spot

red dead redemption 2 fishing guide fishing hol
Image courtesy Rockstar

Once you’ve picked a lure, you’ll need to find a good fishing spot. You can fish in almost any of Red Dead 2’s bodies of water, from small ponds to larger rivers and lakes. You’ll want to look for a spot where you can see clusters of ripples on the surface of the water. This is a good indicator that the spot has plenty of fish just ready to be caught. You can fish from the shoreline or grab a boat to ride out into open waters. When you’re ready, pull out your Fishing Rod from the item wheel and follow the button prompts to attach your bait of choice.

To cast your line, hold down LT/L2 to adjust your aim. Then you can hold down RT/R2 to pull back the line, and release to cast. The longer you keep the trigger held down, the further out your line will go. Now, you’ll have to play a bit of a waiting game. You can entice fish to nibble the lure by slowly rotating the right stick or tapping RT/R2 from time to time. When you feel a bite, press RT/R2 to hook it.

The next task: reeling in your catch. Rapidly rotate the right stick to guide the fish back to you. The fish will go through periods where it’ll flail wildly in an attempt to fight you off. When this happens, you’ll want to stop reeling, as you risk breaking the line. Instead, use the left stick to wrangle the fish until it tires itself out. While reeling, you can also pull down on the left stick to rapidly pull the fish towards you, but you’ll want to be careful, as doing so risks breaking the line.

If you’re looking for a specific species of fish, check out the list below for where and when to find them:

  • Bluegill: Common, can be found in lakes and rivers during rain.
  • Smallmouth Bass: Most common in northern rivers during rain.
  • Largemouth Bass: Most common in Lemoyne/southern areas during rain.
  • Rock Bass: Can be found in clear bodies of water on sunny days.
  • Chain Pickerel: Common in all bodies of water during sunny weather.
  • Redfin Pickerel: Can be found in southern rivers during sunny weather.
  • Bullhead Catfish: Can be found in swampy areas during rain.
  • Sockeye Salmon: Can be found in northern rivers when cloudy.
  • Perch: Common in all rivers and lakes during sun.
  • Lake Sturgeon: Can be found in southern lakes and swamps during cloudy weather.
  • Steelhead Trout: Can be found in southern lakes during rain.
  • Muskie: Can be found in northern lakes during cloudy weather.

Choose your catch

red dead redemption 2 fishing guide fish
Image courtesy Rockstar

Once you’ve successfully caught a fish, you’ll be presented with two choices: keep the fish or throw it back. Smaller fish, as a general rule, aren’t really worth keeping. Throwing them back isn’t a total loss though, as you’ll get a temporary stat boost for doing so. Larger fish can be kept, either in your pack or on the back of your horse for particularly large specimens. Kept fish can either be cooked and eaten like regular game, or brought to town and sold. Unlike game hunting, they don’t offer skins or pelts to keep. Legendary Fish are their own special category. As part of a sidequest, any Legendary Fish you’ve caught can be taken to the nearest Post Office and exchanged for a hefty cash reward.

Fishing in Red Dead 2 is a bit of an art form. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll quickly become a master.

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