Open Country - Fishing

It took me a really long time to actually start fishing in Open Country. In part, that’s because the fishing tutorial mission doesn’t pop up until pretty deep into the game, and when I tried to cast a line before being formally invited to do so, I either couldn’t get it to work, or I was just too inept at it to have any kind of success.

After a little hand-holding from Ranger Ainsley, however, I was catching fish left and right.

I mean, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, since the whole system seems to be actively working against you the entire time you’re doing it. But now that I learned how to fish in Open Country, I figured I’d share my knowledge. “Teach a person to fish and they’ll feed Gary’s village,” or however that old expression goes.

Do the Boating About tutorial mission

Open Country - Boating About

Let’s be real here; attempting to fish before the actual tutorial mission is an exercise in futility, so you’ll want to get deep enough into the story that you can do it. The quest is called Boating About, and Ranger Ainsley will goad you into it once you’ve completed the Drive Through Infiltration mission.

Here’s a list of missions leading up to Boating About, for reference:

  • Ranger Delivery
  • Food First
  • Stocking Up
  • Hunt for Ol’ Chip
  • Best Friend
  • Building Up
  • Lost Post (optional)
  • Hunt Gone Wrong
  • Drive Through Infiltration
  • Boating About

Once you finally make it this far, Boating About will walk you through some of the steps, though there are plenty of details that the game still doesn’t want to tell you, for whatever reason.

Acquire a fishing rod

Open Country - Fishing Rod

In order to fish, you’re going need a fishing rod. A makeshift one can be crafted easy enough with a few resources you can find in the bush. For this you will need:

  • 1 Proper Rope
  • 1 Branch
  • Hatchet
  • Knife

If you’re really looking to live a life of luxury, you can also buy a more durable fishing rod with slightly better stats. There are multiple options available at the trading post in Snowridge Lodge, but not until after you’ve completed the Boating About mission.

Here are your rod options:

  • Fishing Pole (craftable) – An easy to make fishing tool.
  • Baitcasting Rod (300 Bucks) – Rather affordable. But it is most effective against lighter fishes.
  • Spinning Rod (600 Bucks) – A sturdy and expensive rod, suitable for all types of fishes.

Pick up some bait and a lure

Open Country - Bait

Once you secure a rod, next you will need bait, which means you’re going to have to get some worms.

To collect worms, you’ll need a rock. Once you find one, navigate to your backpack inventory, highlight the rock, and drop it to the ground (you can do this by pressing R3 if you’re on PS4/PS5). Then simply pick the rock back up. If you happened to wrestle a worm loose, you will see a popup notice on the righthand side of the screen. This is a bit of a crapshoot, but after a few drops, you should eventually hit pay dirt — err, pay worm?

You can also find worms in leaf piles, and they’ll occasionally be left in old stashes if you go rooting about in the chests you’ll encounter near cabins and sheds.

There are lures as well. In the Boating About mission, there will be an Artificial Lure sitting on a table near where you enter the boat (at the end of the Old Dock).

Go wet your line

Open Country - Fishing

So now that you have a rod and bait, it’s time to hit the lake. By bringing up the map, you will see fishing spots marked by the type of fish that populates each designated fishing area. You can fish from the shore or a dock as long as the fish spots are close enough, otherwise simply find a docked boat, press the interact button and you’re ready to make some waves.

There seems to be some disagreement in the Open Country community over whether or not you can fish from shore, so let me put this to rest right now. Yes, you can fish from shore. Here’s a video of me catching one:

Of course, if you’re playing the Boating About mission, you’ll need to use the boat. Thankfully, unlike the ATV, which controls like an ice cube trying to stay atop a mound of spaghetti noodles, the motorboat controls surprisingly well.

Now you need to find a fishing spot, which will look like a circular bubbling area on the surface of the water.

Open Country - Fishing Spot

Once you’ve reached the fishing spot, stop the boat. Now you’ll press the circle button if you’re on PlayStation — if you’re playing on anything else, press whichever button exits vehicles. This will cause your character to stand up, and now you’re able to fish.

Before you cast, know that you can toggle between your bait and lures by pressing right on the D-pad.

From here, you can use the right analog stick to decide where you would like to cast. Then let ‘er rip by holding R2 to create a blue arc, and then letting go once the arc is lined up with where you want to cast. Note that you don’t need to cast directly into the bubbling part of the water, but you should be at least close to it.

Open Country - Fishing

If your cast was successful, you’ll see a fish appear rather visibly near the surface of the water. If one doesn’t appear, check your lure or general positioning and try again. Once the fish does appear, you’ll want to tease it a but by moving the bait side to side (by moving the rod left and right with the analog stick on your controller). The fish should eventually bite and kickstart the reeling minigame.

But this is Open Country, so nothing really works as it should. You will first hear a loud splashing sound, even though the fish, in my experience, doesn’t actually bite in tandem with the sound effect.

There’s also a vertical bar on the right edge of the screen. That is supposed to measure the tension on your line, but it doesn’t seem to work.

What you are going to want to do is watch the fish. Once it sort of jumps and is suddenly attached to your lure, press the Right trigger button. If successful, you will see a horizontal gauge pop up with a green “sweet spot” in the middle. The lure icon will start at the left of the meter, you simply have to press the button once it enters the sweet spot. If you are successful, a second, vertical gauge will appear, forming a cross with the first gauge so that the second gauge’s sweet spot overlaps the first. Simply wait for the fish to hit the second sweet spot and hit the button again. You should be rewarded with a close up of the fish and its stats, and if this is your fist fish caught, you will also trigger the accompanying trophy or achievement.

Open Country - Perch

Note that there are several bugs you might encounter. Sometimes, the fish won’t trigger the minigame. If the tension bar is missing when you cast, you won’t end up catching anything. Sometimes, there will be a third “sweet spot” to hit, and then the fish will get away. It’s a real mess.

But if you can run the bug gauntlet, you will be catching all sorts of fish. Congratulations, you are now a fisherperson. It might take a few tries to get used to how the mechanic actually works versus what the game seems to be instructing you to do. Once you get it down, though, fishing is actually quite easy in Open Country. it’s is a good way to spice up your culinary creations, or a good way to make a little extra income at the trading post.

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2 years ago

I was surprised there was only one mandatory objective connected to fishing.

2 years ago

How do I put my boat in reverse? I got it stuck on the bank

Brandon Campbell
Brandon Campbell
1 year ago

Have you ever caught Largemouth Bass? I can’t find them.

Brandon Campbell
Brandon Campbell
1 year ago

I have caught every species of fish in Open Country, except for Largemouth Bass.

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