I knew there had to be fishing in Valheim from the moment I first laid eyes on the water. You can see fish just swimming around in there. And given that the seagulls, which I first thought were just atmosphere, are harvestable for feathers, those fish certainly seemed too good, too real, too physically rendered in the world to be mere decoration.
I once espoused a theory of fishing in MMOs… more than ten years ago at this point… where I suggest that fishing might not be an important feature, that a dev had time to work on it before launch was a good sign that the game was not being rushed into production. There were some winners and losers that seemed to track to the theory… EverQuest and World of Warcraft both had fishing at launch, LOTRO, EverQuest II, and Rift all lacked it… and no EQII fans, fish harvesting doesn’t count… and so I tend to keep track of fishing in games, even outside of MMORPGs. Pokemon had fishing from its first generation of titles as well. Fishing isn’t exactly my brand, but I do try it in every game.
My suspicions about fishing were pretty much confirmed when I started finding fish washed up on shore that I could pick up. The swell of the ocean is pretty well modeled and when a storm is up the water can come way up on the land.
Picking up the fish yielded raw fish meat that could be cooked. That surely meant fishing must be a thing.
After some trying to figure it out, including attempts at bow fishing, I finally went to the wiki to get an answer. Yes, fishing is a thing… but you have to buy the fishing pole and the bait from the trader. It took us time to find the trader, and once we found him I put off fishing until everybody had their Megingjord belt for heavy lifting. But once that was secured and we had some extra gold sitting around in our valuables chest, Fergorin suggested that it might be time to try out fishing.
So it was off to Haldor, who sold me the fishing pole for 350 gold and a stack of 50 bait for another 10 gold. That bait seemed a bit pricey at first, but with what we’ve been hauling in for crypts it is probably no big deal, though we’ll need gold for later crafting.
With that I was off to the shore to catch some fish.
The pole is essentially a 2h weapon, not an uncommon situation, that behaves a bit like the bow. Left click gets you a targeting reticule as you press down and releasing the button casts. You can hold it down and totally go for distance… I think it will land as far as 30 meters out… but I quickly decided that wasn’t the best idea.
It is a bit like fishing in LOTRO in that you can see a fish come up to your hook and when you see the bobber bob it is time to haul in your catch. It has a little pulse effect even, to make it clear you have a strike. However, unlike LOTRO, and very much in the vein of Valheim really, then the stamina bar comes into play.
Managing your stamina is very much a thing in the game, and a way to get yourself killed if you fail at it. Too often I have run and jumped to land within striking range of a foe only to find I didn’t have enough stamina left in my bar to hit them or block their attack.
In this case, reeling in your catch brings up the stamina bar and it slowly bleeds out as you reel in the fish. If it runs out before you land the fish, it gets away. So you are better off with somewhat shorter casts.
It also means you shouldn’t go fishing when hungry, lest you stamina bar be at its lowest ebb.
When you get the notification that you have hooked your fish, and you’ve hauled them in as close as you can, you then need to get them ashore before your stamina runs out.
Since there is no net to scoop them up, I just start backing up to drag them onto land, where you can then pick them up.
The result is 1 or 2 pieces of raw fish meat, which you can cook up over a fire. Looking at the food chart on the wiki, cooked fish is a bit better that cooked meat or neck tail, but the effort to get it is much higher, and it isn’t nearly as good as sausage, which we have been cooking up a lot of since we got into the swamps. (I have to go out on thistle gathering runs to keep the sausage factory going.) But, later on, you can make fish wraps, which are a much better food item. However, you need barely from the plains for that, and we’re a long way from hanging out in the plains. So I am not in a huge hurry to haul in a ton of fish at the moment. The payoff at the moment isn’t so grand and there are always so many other little things to do.
But at some point fish will be more useful. Maybe then I’ll go out on the new boat and fish for the deep water fish, which yield more meat per catch.
I think there is enough room on that deck of a longboat to haul them in. Until then I’ll just pick up the ones I find on shore.