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A fishing pole is in the two-handed weapon item class, and can be wielded as a melee weapon, but is primarily intended for use while fishing. As a two-handed item, only one can be equipped at a time, and no item can be held in the off-hand.
If one is just starting fishing, a fishing pole can be optional, sold by a general trade goods or fishing supplies vendors. Fishing trainers and fishing supply vendors are often in the vicinity of fishable waters. When fishing without a pole, your character will make do with a reasonably straight branch with the end whittled smooth and a string tied to it. Once your fishing skill or level is high enough to benefit from fishing poles that increase your fishing skill, that would be a good time to acquire one. When fishing with a pole, consider using a fishing lure, available from vendors that sell fishing supplies.
|Item||+Skill||Min skill||Min level||Source|
|+20||100||1||Shellfish Traps (Desolace)|
|+30||0||1||Nat Pagle friends (Lunarfall) for 25|
|+30||0||1||Nat Pagle friends (Frostwall) for 25|
|+40||300||1||Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza|
Required levels in parentheses are implicit requirements imposed by the game that are higher than the explicit requirement property of the object:
The basic Fishing Pole has no level requirement (but all characters are at least level 1) and no fishing skill requirement. You can purchase it, wield it, and use it as a melee weapon with no fishing training, but you cannot fish with it until you are a train in Apprentice Fishing, giving you fishing skill level 1. Again, this is optional, and if a pole is the only fishing equipment you can use, you may consider saving your copper and doing without.
Staats' Fishing Pole has an explicit fishing skill level requirement of 1, but the quest requires you to catch and turn in four Darkshore Groupers before it awards you the pole. If your fishing skill level is low, you will level your fishing skill while completing this quest; the exact amount will vary, depending on what portion of your catches are Darkshore Grouper, but brand new fishers will skill up at least 6 times, taking them to at least skill level 7, before they acquire the Staats' pole.
Other fishing poles with no explicit level requirements have an implicit level requirement in the quest to obtain them.
The Arcanite Fishing Pole has no explicit level requirement, however must be level 35 to train in Artisan level fishing in order to reach fishing skill level 300 and equip the Arcanite Fishing Rod. You can acquire it earlier, but not equip it. Competing in the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza requires 130 fishing skill in order to fish, 225 fishing skill to fish with none getting away (it is a competition) (this can be done with Journeyman training, 150 fishing skill level, and lures), has level 31-40 mobs, and PvP if you are on a PvP server (turn off your flag for this event if you are not) (these hazards can be handled at a low level with a group of higher level friends as guards).
Also note that only one Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza prize is given out each week - this is effectively a seven day cool down per attempt to obtain one.
The Big Iron Fishing Pole can be wielded at level 25. Mobs in Desolace, where the Big Iron Fishing Pole can be found, are in the 31-40 level range. The Shellfish Traps from which the Big Iron Fishing Poles are randomly looted also randomly spawn a hostile level 35 or 36 makrura. Strategies for obtaining a Big Iron Fishing Pole are: Auction House, high level assistance, perhaps twink gear, but then why not just buy the pole, hand-me-down from someone (alt?) who got a better pole, willingness to randomly loot a Shellfish Trap and accept your fortune (then swim back and try again until you get one), or wait until a higher level. By level 40ish, this should not be difficult, and you probably do not need it before then. Remember that temporary shortfalls in fishing skill can be made up using lures.
The Fishing line items produce a permanent fishing skill enchantment on a fishing pole:
|+5||150||Northrend dailies / Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza|
|+6||1||Slithon the Last|
The fishing skill requirement to use the fishing line is the fishing skill required to expend the enchantment charge and apply it to a fishing pole. The requirements of the fishing pole are not changed, nor does an unbound pole become bound.
You must be level 70 to participate in the daily fishing quests, so the Spun Truesilver Fishing Line has an implicit level requirement.
The High Test Eternium Fishing Line has no explicit level requirement, and the turn-in to obtain it is not competitive (not in the sense that only one is awarded). A low level character fishing in Stranglethorn Vale's coastal waters will require assistance.
Both of these items can be obtained multiple times. You will only have a use for a couple at most for your self as you progress through pole upgrades. The vend price is a pittance relative their value, and they cannot be traded, since they are BoP items, but they can be applied to tradable fishing poles, which can still be traded after line is applied.
Fishing pole with fishing line
Because the Fishing Line items produce a permanent fishing skill enchantment on a fishing pole (consuming the fishing line), they can be viewed as an investment in your fishing pole. As a rule, since the fishing lines have limited availability, you won't want to outright waste them. Here's the poles with the lines applied:
|With HT Eternium
|Req Skill||Req Level||Binds?||How to Obtain|
|Starting fishing pole, no bonus to fishing skill:|
|Fishing poles with a small bonus to fishing skill:|
|+5||+8||+10||10||5||No||Vendor (Limited Quantities)|
|Fishing poles with a significant bonus to fishing skill:|
|+15||+18||+20||50||15||No||(very rare) Found while fishing inland waters in Ashenvale,
Hillsbrad Foothills, and Stonetalon Mountains
|+20||+23||+25||100||25||No||Found in Shellfish Trap|
|+30||+33||+35||300||(~70)||BoP||Rare drop from Bag of Fishing Treasures|
|+30||+33||+35||300||(~70)||BoP||Rare drop from Bag of Fishing Treasures|
|+30||+33||+35||300||(~70)||BoP||Vendor (Requires The Kalu'ak - Exalted)|
|+40||+43||+45||300||(35)||BoP||Competition (Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza) Prize|
The four best poles are good candidates for application; discounting the Arcanite Fishing Pole as an obvious candidate, but with severely limited availability, the next three are close in fishing skill bonus, and each has a niche - Big Iron can be traded to alts, Seth's has the best combat stats, and Nat Pagle's has the best fishing skill bonus.
Also, the Darkwood Fishing Pole is so rare that, well, first off it's a non-issue, but if you happen to have one, it should probably be worth a fortune - even with mediocre stats. It fills a niche, and it's totally a seller's market. So don't feel too bad about buffing it, if you want to.
The table shows that it would be a waste to apply a fishing line to a basic Fishing Pole when the Strong Fishing Pole is readily available cheaply and gives the same fishing bonus. Same for the Blump pole, when a Strong pole provides a cheap +2 more fishing skill. Catch nine fish to skill up your fishing skill to 10 and invest in at least a Strong pole if you are going to apply a fishing line to a low bonus pole.
That leaves only the Strong pole as a questionable investment of a fishing line - you may use it for many levels if you fish, but you will outgrow it, and you don't really need the small bonus to fishing skill that it provides while you are leveling your character and your fishing skill. Fishing lures provide much more skill bonus and are cheap. If you fished Stranglethorn at a low level an have a small stack of fishing lines, well, maybe wasting one isn't such a bad thing. (I don't even recommend the Strong fishing pole, period. The small bonuses are unnecessary, and the cheap basic Fishing Pole can be thrown away when your bags get too full and is easily replaced near any auction house.)
Using a fishing pole as a weapon
A fishing pole is in the Two-handed weapon item class, and can be wielded as a melee weapon, but is not a weapon type associated with a weapon skill. When you wield a fishing pole as a weapon, your fishing skill is your weapon skill. You can observe this in your crit probability with a fishing pole wielded; your crit will go up 0.04% for each fishing skill point. Furthermore, all fishing skill buffs directly add to this. A +100 fishing skill lure adds 4% crit probability, and a Big Iron Fishing Pole has an 0.8% crit bonus over a basic Fishing Pole. Since you can achieve 225 fishing skill at character level 10, a fishing pole is not an insignificant weapon.
Fishing poles will not accept weapon enchantments; they will only accept fishing enchantments, such as fishing lines and lures, but these help the melee use of the pole.
Fishing poles will not work with special abilities that require a melee weapon. Many special abilities do not require a melee weapon and will work anyway.
Wielding a fishing pole in combat will not raise your fishing skill nor your other combat skills.
Fishing poles have a durability stat and accumulate damage when used as a weapon, just like any other weapon.
As a two-handed item, only one can be equipped at a time, and no item can be held in the off-hand.
As you can see from the tooltips, the swing rate is slow. All are speed 3.0.
And, of course, there are no suitable combat stat bonuses on the fishing pole, except Seth's has +52 Stamina.
IFF you are using your fishing pole in combat, upgrading your basic Fishing Pole to at least the Staats' or Strong fishing poles is recommended. Their fishing bonus is not significant, but they have significantly better damage stats than the basic fishing pole.
The awe factor of beating someone in PvP with a fishing implement is phenomenal.
See El's forum for more discussion about using a fishing pole as a weapon, linked provided below.
As a figure of merit for combat purposes, DPS seems more significant than Skill Bonus for these fishing poles. Skill Bonus is an add onto an already big number (discounting the exception that when you are starting out, your base skill is miniscule), whereas DPS is the whole deal for fishing pole DPS.
Another approach to a rough figure of merit would be to calculate your effective skill for each pole with the buffs you intend to use and multiply that times the DPS, then rank the results. That would weigh both factors equally. Column FM-1 is that figure of merit for a character with fishing skill of 225 and a +75 fishing lure. Column FM-2 is that figure of merit for a character with maxed fishing skill of 375 and a +100 fishing lure. (Can't equip the Arcanite Fishing Pole with 225 fishing skill; shown in gray for comparison.) For these two examples, the results track closely with just considering DPS alone. Lower total skill will weigh the fishing pole's bonuses more heavily, but very low skill won't be a factor. Anyone serious about trying this would want to max their fishing skill.
None of these factor in the benefit of +52 stamina in combat. A better figure of merit would weigh your total effective stamina or total effective hit point as a factor. You could estimate how much difference that would make by multiplying the Seth's pole figures of merit times (your stamina +52) divided by (your stamina).
If you want to use a fishing pole in combat, hang on to your Seth's pole even when you get a 'better' pole.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): Many fishing items give less fishing skill points.
- Patch 1.7.0 (2005-09-22): Fishing poles which provide the same bonuses as lures now get the extra bonus from the lure when it is applied.