There is no minimum character level to take part in the event. However:
- Level 5 is required to train fishing.
- Level 20 is required for a regular land mount, level 40 for an epic land mount, level 60 (with Cataclysm) to fly in Old Azeroth, level 80 for Master (310%) flight. If you plan to win, not being flying-mounted is a serious disadvantage, since you will spend longer than other anglers moving between pools. It is technically possible to win without any form of mount, particularly with a class ability, such as a rogue's sprint.
- Level 25-35 is required to be able to defend yourself against the creatures found along the coast. Between levels 25 and 35, consider fishing in Northern Stranglethorn. Below 25 you will either need a higher-level guard/escort, or you will be restricted to a small proportion of pools (see Strategy).
- Maximum level will improve your chances of survival where the factions are at war ((PvP realms)).
Fishing Skill and Gear
Only fishing skill 1 is required to fish pools, so you can fish effectively without a pole equipped - just cast and fish with the Twig that appears. This allows you to keep your weapons equipped.
Learn the ability Find Fish from a Weather-Beaten Journal. This requires at least 100 fishing skill to learn. You can find pools visually, but tracking them on the minimap (pictured) makes finding fresh pools much faster.
Any other equipment that gives a movement speed advantage (either mounted or when swimming) is worth equipping.
You will get to know the precise location of pools in Northern Stranglethorn and The Cape of Stranglethorn during the contest. However, that doesn't mean you have to wait for the contest to learn. Spending some time fishing pre-contest pools in the Stranglethorn peninsula will help you learn:
- Where to stand to reduce the number of casts it takes before the bobber lands correctly - see Pool Strategies for an explanation of how bobbers are distributed.
- Where pools are likely to appear. Important if your strategy is more complex than riding up and down the beach.
- Which pools are too hard to fish due to location: A few pools are only partly in fishable water. These are best avoided during the contest, because successful casting takes longer.
Macros and Utilities
Some anglers use macros and addons to save time and keep track of their catches. These are not essential.
You can keep track of the number of contest fish caught using a macro. Put this macro on your toolbar (from Therax):
Especially useful for dwarves who have trouble with the contest, even with their boots off!
Before the Start
- Decide which reward you will claim if you win: If you are the first to reach Riggle Bassbait (pictured right) with 40 Speckled Tastyfish, you may only be a few seconds in front of a competitor, which won't give you time to think about your choice.
- Turn auto-loot on ((via the options screen)). This will save a second between reeling in and re-casting.
- Adjust your graphics settings: Tweaking these can help see everything clearer and faster: From the edge of pools, through weather effects, to your own fishing line (thanks Northern49).
- Ensure you have enough bag space: At least 10 slots free. Speckled Tastyfish stack in 20s, but you will catch many other types of fish. You should not need to waste time emptying your bags mid-contest.
- Stock up on consumables: Where the factions are at war ((PvP realms)) items like healing potions may be useful. Some class abilities (such as Water Walking) may require reagents.
- Swap Glyphs or Talents for those with a speed advantage: For example, rogues might consider Glyph of Blurred Speed (thanks Gummo).
- Visit Booty Bay before the contest starts to set your hearthstone at the inn. Riggle Bassbait is close to the inn, so hearthing back to Booty Bay will always be quicker than running/riding. Do not use your hearthstone immediately before the start of the contest - ensure it is off cooldown by the time you are ready to hearth' to Booty Bay.
- Do not start in Booty Bay itself. There will be no pools there. Instead be ready by a pool somewhere in the 2 zones. Try and get there a few minutes before the contest is due to start, since it is often announced very slightly before 14:00. Precise starting locations are discussed in Stranglethorn Extravaganza Strategy.
- Don't be late! Sounds obvious, but if you miss the start (for any reason), you are at a serious disadvantage. Leave plenty of time to get into position.
The fishing contest itself is a solitary activity: Only one person can win each winning place. Speckled Tastyfish and rare fish cannot be shared. But there are some advantages to convincing or paying a non-competing companion to help you:
- Use a second mounted scout to locate the next pool. The scout clears any nearby monsters and deters anyone else from fishing the pool verbally.
- Kera writes: "Have a buddy 'pretend' to fish next to you" - it makes the pool you are fishing look over-used, and so encourages others to walk past in search of another.
- Another more exploitative tactic, reported by Brisby: "One person kept jumping up and down in front of my bobber, making it difficult to reel in when I had a bite".
- Hy writes, "Gather people who are interested in winning, and form a group. Draw lots for the order of 'winning'. The goal of the non-winners in any given week is to slow down other anglers by fishing out of their holes or killing them, or providing protection to the winner. This requires trust."
Where the faction are at war ((PvP realms)) friends are a lot more useful. As discussed in the strategy section, the angler should normally try to avoid combat themselves, but friends are not restricted:
- An escort actively discourages "random" attacks.
- Large groups of "supporters" can cause havoc for the opposing faction, unless the opposing faction also has a large group of supporters, at which point the Stranglethorn peninsula can start to resemble the battlegrounds of Alterac Valley.
- The most effective way to slow down the opposition is to "DoT and run". Attack the angler with a single DoT at maximum range, and then immediately retreat out of range. The angler remains "in combat", which means they cannot cast their line. Druids, with their fast-moving Aquatic Form, are annoyingly good at this.
To slow down anglers from your own faction, "hire people of the other faction to harass everybody but you and your escort" (from Hy).
Large groups of friends are particularly effective when you have concentrated pools in one area, as described below.
Forming a cross-realm group may help. This can be done by grouping with a friend on a completely different realm. Some possibilities:
- Switch to a set of realms with fewer active competitors. Fewer competitors for pools generally means faster fishing, hence a greater chance of a win. This assumes that some cross-realm groups contain fewer anglers than others, which may not be the case - especially once anglers like you start switching to quieter realm groups!
- In theory, simply switching to a lower-population realm will increase the chance of winning, since there will tend to be fewer competitors for the 3 winning places. However, it is possible (please let us know) that anglers will continue to be judged against anglers on their home realm, regardless of which realm they appear to be fishing on: The winning quests do not necessarily shift realms like the angler.
Advanced: Concentrating Pools
Since patch 5.1, pools do not respawn at the start of the contest: Existing pools simple change their contents.
This theoretically allows anglers to prepare by biasing the location of pools towards one area. As described in Pool Spawning, fishing pools empty will (eventually) cause another to respawn randomly somewhere else in the set. Before the contest starts fish pools everywhere except the one area you intend to fish during the contest. This will bias spawned pools towards the area you intend to fish during the contest, creating a greater concentration of pools in that area, ultimately reducing your travel time during the contest (relative to other competitors).
There seem to be 4 valid sets of pools:
- Coast of The Cape of Stranglethorn - the largest set, potentially requiring hours of prior fishing to concentrate into one area.
- Coast of Northern Stranglethorn - a smaller set, but potentially still enough to for 40 "easy" Tastyfish catches.
- Inland river/lake in Northern Stranglethorn - probably too small a set to concentrate effectively, requring almost every active Sagefish School to be fished at the start of the contest.
- Inland at Nek'mani Wellspring in The Cape of Stranglethorn - not possible to concentrate, since only one spawns at a time.
The biggest problems with trying to concentrate pools are other anglers:
- The strategy won't work well with several anglers trying to concentrate the same set of pool spawns in different places.
- Once you've gathered your pools together, you may need to stop other anglers fishing them at the start of the contest - only viable where your friends can attack competing anglers.
Even with these problems, you may still able able to gain a small advantage by biasing a few pool locations in your favour. And small advantages can often be critical to winning!
- Getting Started - Contains information for the beginner. If you've never picked up a fishing pole in your life, or have only just started fishing, this chapter is for you.
- Equipment - Describes gear, consumables and enhancements that can be used to bolster your fishing skills, or help you fish.
- Also in Contests: Stranglethorn Extravaganza Contest, Stranglethorn Extravaganza Rewards, and Stranglethorn Extravaganza Strategy.
Comments about Stranglethorn Extravaganza Preparation
Below are readers' comments about "Stranglethorn Extravaganza Preparation":
Northern49, March 2009:
Turning down your video settings can make it easier to see the fishing line, which between the time you cast and the time your fishing bobby fades into existence, this can be handy in immediately knowing where your bobber has landed (inside or outside of the Pool of Tasty Fish). Turning down specular lighting and full-screen glow effect can dramatically make your fishing line's color more distinct, as with these two features on your fishing line will be colored according to the color and lighting of the surrounding environment, making it harder to see.
Turning off the weather effect completely if STV is raining during the tournament also helps.
TheTacoMan, March 2009:
Thanks for the tip Northen49!
Lukin, March 2009:
Another tip is to place your Hearthstone at the BB inn.