The Role of Skill (Revised)

Considers the role skill plays in fishing, including how skill changes the proportion of junk items caught. For analysis of the role of skill before patch 3.1, read The Role of Skill (Original). For a description of the extra Darkmoon Island role of skill, read Darkmoon Skill Tiers. For the model applied to Draenor, see Size and Skill. On this page:

This page describes patch 3.1+ mechanics, including Patch 5.2's changes to junk in Pandaria, but not additional variations on Darkmoon Island or the Draenor model of Size and Skill. For analysis of the role of skill before patch 3.1, read The Role of Skill (Original). For a description of the extra Darkmoon Island role of skill, read Darkmoon Skill Tiers. For an introduction to Draenor fishing, see Bait and Fillet, or for more detail see Size and Skill. For a basic introduction to junk catches, with video, see (Not) Catching Junk.

Summary

You can now fish anywhere with fishing skill 1. Outside of Draenor, each area still requires a certain fishing skill to catch regular fish from open water. If your effective fishing skill is below this value, a proportion of your casts into open water will catch "junk" items. These junk catches replace the message "your fish got away".

There are 8 common junk items (Driftwood, Empty Clam, Sickly Fish, Tangled Fishing Line, Tattered Cloth, Torn Sail, Weeds and Withered Kelp) and 5 uncommon junk items (Empty Rum Bottle, Old Boot, Rock, Tree Branch and Water Snail).

The percentage chance of catching a worthwhile fish when your fishing skill is below the skill required to fish without junk = (current fishing skill as % of area's no-junk skill) ^ 2. The "no-junk skill" was formerly known as the skill required to stop get-aways.

For example: The Frozen Sea requires fishing skill 575 to fish without junk. Assume your effective fishing skill is 400. 400 as a percentage of 575 is 70%. 70% to the power 2, is 48%: With 400 fishing skill, only half your casts will catch a fish.

With patch 3.3, junk will never be caught from pools. Only fishing skill 1 is required to fish pools effectively.

Since patch 5.2, excess Golden Carp replace junk caught due to insufficient skill in Pandaria (only). On Darkmoon Island, your personal skill (without Equipment bonuses) also determines which tier of fish you can catch - read Darkmoon Skill Tiers for details.

Approach

I hired a Knight of the Ebon Blade, equipped them with various poles and lures, and sent them off to three different areas of water:

Tests were conducted with a fixed amount of personal skill. For example, 75 personal fishing skill by not training beyond Apprentice rank.

For each area of water, several samples were taken at different skill levels. Each sample contained at least 200 casts. The numbers of worthwhile catches and junk were recorded. (Actually, the original research recorded "get-aways", and a day later junk replaced "get away" messages.)

The raw data is shown in the appendix, and summarised in the graph below.

Graph of Successful Casts by Fishing Skill
Graph of Successful Casts by Fishing Skill

The solid curved lines are "best fit" trend lines for each location.

Analysis

The patterns at each location are similar. If we express the fishing skill (on the bottom x-axis) as a proportion of the skill required to fish without junk, the data from all 3 locations merges, as shown in the graph below. Each "+" is a sample.

Graph of Successful Casts by Percentage Fishing Skill
Graph of Successful Casts by Percentage Fishing Skill

The trend line (the curve) is based on this formula:

The percentage chance of catching a fish when your fishing skill is below the skill required to fish without junk = (current fishing skill as % of area's no-junk skill) ^ 2.

For Gnomish statisticians: The R-squared of this line is 99% - a good match to the sample data.

We cannot prove that the curve cuts the left y-axis at 0%, because we cannot fish at skill 0 (or 1) without skill rising to 75. 0% has been assumed in the formula.

Golden Carp Replaces Junk in Pandaria

Since Patch 5.2, junk is no longer be caught in Pandaria when your fishing skill is too low. Instead of junk, you will catch extra Golden Carp. This change only applies to Pandaria: Skill-related junk may still be caught on other continents.

Each area of open water still requires a certain fishing skill to catch (only) regular fish from open water. Before patch 5.2, if your effective fishing skill was below that value, a proportion of your casts into open water would catch junk items, like Driftwood or Weeds. Now, any Pandarian catch that would have been junk becomes a Golden Carp. Pandaria's catch tables have not changed, so a proportion of open water catches are still Golden Carp, even when you have sufficient fishing skill.

The total proportion of Golden Carp caught = Junk Percentage + ( ( 1 - Junk Percentage ) * Base Golden Carp Percentage ) , where Junk Percentage = 1 - ( Your Effective Fishing Skill / Water's No-Junk Skill ) ^2 , as described in The Role of Skill (Revised), and the Base Golden Carp Percentage is the proportion that of Carp in the water's catch table.

Here's a worked example for the dwarves:

  1. Valley of the Four Winds' inland open water "no junk skill" is 700, with a base Golden Carp catch of 59%.
  2. If your effective fishing skill is only 600, the Junk Percentage is, 1 - ( 600 / 700 ) ^2 = 27% of the catch due to insufficient skill. This skill-related catch is now all Carp.
  3. Next we calculate the regular, non-skill-related catches: 1 - 27% = 73% of the catch will be catches from the catch table. 59% of those will be Golden Carp, so 43% Carp from regular catches.
  4. Finally, 27% (due to insufficient skill) plus 43% (due to regular catches) = 70% Golden Carp caught.

If you are catching extra Golden Carp due to insufficient skill, you will catch a lower proportion of every other fish in the water's catch table. So personal fishing skill and Equipment is just as important as in Pandaria as elsewhere.

Appendix: Original Sample Data

Role of Skill: The Cape of Stranglethorn (225 Skill to Fish Without Junk)
Fishing SkillCastsCasts That Catch
Effective Fishing SkillAs % of Area No-Junk SkillCatchJunkTotal
7533%2218320511%
10044%3316820116%
12556%7113120235%
15067%7912220139%
17578%1307720763%
20089%1594220179%
Role of Skill: Tanaris (300 Skill to Fish Without Junk)
Fishing SkillCastsCasts That Catch
Effective Fishing SkillAs % of Area No-Junk SkillCatchJunkTotal
7525%171832009%
12542%3517420917%
17558%6114020130%
22575%1128920156%
27592%1752520088%
Role of Skill: The Frozen Sea (575 Skill to Fish Without Junk)
Fishing SkillCastsCasts That Catch
Effective Fishing SkillAs % of Area No-Junk SkillCatchJunkTotal
15026%91942034%
27548%4715420123%
45078%1386320169%
50087%1485320174%
55096%1851520093%

Appendix: Pandarian Sample Data

Two areas of water were extensively tested, to demonstrate that the standard junk formula (above) still applied, and that the only change was the conversion of junk into Golden Carp. Several spot checks were then carried out in other zones to confirm the change applied across Pandaria.

Vale of Eternal Blossoms' no-junk skill is 825, with about 47% Golden Carp in the regular catch.

Carp Catches by Skill: Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Effective Fishing SkillTotal CatchCarp CatchActual % CarpExpected % Carp
60020214672%72%
70020012764%62%
81520110251%48%

Valley of the Four Winds' inland no-junk skill is 700, with about 59% Golden Carp in the regular catch.

Carp Catches by Skill: Valley of the Four Winds
Effective Fishing SkillTotal CatchCarp CatchActual % CarpExpected % Carp
60020013668%70%
65020312562%65%
70020011759%59%

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