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Fishing for Profit: An Analytical Approach

Saving up for a Kiki Kitty? Golden Laurels got your heart pumpin’? People just don’t donate to your quest? Ever wish that Gaia was a communist society out of frustration? Don’t fret, because one half of 6 hours was spent into developing this fishing profit model to optimize profit in the shortest possible time. This analysis has helped me net a good 1,000 gold per 52 minute fishing session. If you just want to see the results of how to fish to make profit the fastest, then skip ahead to the conclusions. Otherwise, preferably if you’ve got some free time, then here’s plenty of analysis for you to read.


There are several approaches that people take to make the most profit over time. This is a mathematical analysis of these approaches that assesses the “profit rate” of different fishing methods. This model takes into account, bait type and cost, probability of hooking different fish sizes, bait degradation and all types of filtering. Profit rates are only calculated for Durem Reclamation Facility as it yields vastly larger profits than all of the other fishing sites. All of these computations are based on the best averaged data that I could find. Gaidin’s Fishing Guide, was used for size percentiles and bait degradation information.

Initial Notes:
These profit figures and rates assume a number of things about the fisher. First off, it assumes you don’t mess up and lose fish that you don’t mean to. If you’re not so good at fishing, then go figure, you don’t make gold as fast. These numbers are all based on average values (i.e. if it says that you make 7.6 gold per bite, don’t think you’re going to reel in a pebbo-tire mutant every cast; also it means you won’t necessarily make 1000 gold in 52 minutes, sometimes you just get unlucky). Also, it is assumed that you sell all of your fish back to Old Man Logan at value. The market is too unstable to reliably rake in more than normal profit. THIS ANALYSIS DOES NOT TAKE RARE FISH INTO ACCOUNT. I have not found any solid data that indicates the exact likelihood of catching rares, thus no reliable statistics can be performed.

Bait Type:
While some people think that cheap ol’ Grade F is the way to go, there are a few who believe that the better fish obtained using Grade D or A will offset initial bait costs. All bait types are assessed with their bucket costs of 25, 100 and 250 gold as well as their degradation in quality over time. Also, the percentages of fish sizes that are hooked changes with the bait type and bait degradation level. The numbers that I used are:
Grade F: Junk : 51 Small: 42 Medium: 6 Large: 1
Grade D: Junk : 32 Small: 54 Medium: 11 Large: 3
Grade A: Junk : 18 Small: 54 Medium: 18 Large: 9
Also: It is assumed that ‘F’ price bait acts as A bait for 2 buckets, as D for 3 buckets and F afterwards. ‘D’ acts as A quality for 5 buckets and as D thereafter. ‘A’ price bait always acts as A quality.

This is probably the most complex aspect of profit analysis. Do you catch everything that comes your way, including trash? Do you hold off and only catch the big fish? Do you do something in between? Nonetheless, people can be very good at filtering and even filter all but one fish if they want to. Which yields the highest profit rate, though? These answers vary greatly on the type of bait used and the level of degradation. Sometimes, junk is so common that waiting around long enough for bigger fish is not profitable. Sometimes, big fish come around often enough that junk just wastes a spot in your bucket. I have defined 4 levels of filtering: 0, J, S and M. 0 (zero) is no filtering; just catch everything that bites your hook. J level filtering is just filtering out every piece of junk you hook. S filters out small fish (pebbos) and junk, and M filters out all but the large fish (boulders). There are levels in between, which imply that you throw away only half the trash that you hook. NOTE: The faster you filter, the higher your profit rate. Basically, if you can recognize a bite to be junk after a jump or two and throw it away, you increase the amount of time available to catch better fish, thus increasing your profit rate above the listed numbers. I do this in order to achieve about 1000 gold in 52 minutes.

It is assumed that each bucket holds 18 fish. While this may bring a “DUH” moment with some readers, I say this because on occasion you get a “free” bait that happens seemingly randomly. If I get the statistics of a free bait occurring, then I can modify the bucket size accordingly to account for free baits in the profit calculations.

Profit Rate Calculations:

These profit rates take into account the average income per fish you catch based on a weighted average. This weighted average is reduced by the probability that you will keep the fish (by filtering) and the bait cost divided the projected number of bites needed to fill a bucket. In the end, you end up with an average profit per bite. In this analysis, a bite is assumed to be a constant unit of time. By my estimations, you get a bite approximately every 20 to 30 seconds. The results are as follows:

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

The white dots indicate the exact filtering level. For example, the values all of the way to the left are for no filtering (filter level 0). Filter level J is at the first white dot on each line, indicating that it is the profit rate when you filter out only junk. The second white dot on each line indicates filter level S, filtering out small fish and junk. The rightmost point on each line (Filter Level 100) indicates that only large fish are caught.


Clearly, the largest profit rate is achieved when fishing with F priced bait acting as A bait. The highest rate was found when doing NO FILTERING with grade F bait with 9.8 gold per bite, only slightly overtaking J level filtering with 9.6 gold per bite. What about bait degradation? You can’t fish with F acting as A forever. Therefore, at bucket three, this graph indicates you should fish with F price bait still, yielding 7.6 gold per bite. At bucket 6, the graph indicates that pure grade F bait is the most profitable at 5.4 gold per bite.
This seems rather boring. According to this data, you should always fish with grade F bait, and never filter. This is not the end of the story however, for further optimizations lead to more complexities. Basically, when you are on the good end of bait degradation (i.e. F acting as A or D), each bucket is “worth more” to the fisher. By filtering, you make the most of those 5 more valuable buckets and make more profit overall. This is a little convoluted, so it is best illustrated in the following plots.

This plot shows the result of fishing with the same priced bait and filter level over time:

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

I think the zig-zags from buying bait are cool. The zig-zags get further apart as filtering increases because it takes longer to fill your bucket. As you can tell, the two highest profit lines are the grade F; no filter and grade F; J filter. What may be surprising is that the J level filtering is higher for about 5 buckets (zig-zags), and then the 0 filter F bait catches up. By combining these two methods, the highest profit rate pattern is formed below.

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

The most efficient way to make gold, fast in Gaia fishing is to use only grade F bait, and filter out only junk for the first 5 buckets. After these first 5 buckets, you will have made approximately 1000 gold after about 126 bites. 126 bites, on average about 25 seconds per bite, yields about 1000 gold after 52 minutes of fishing. After the first 5 buckets, the data shows you should no longer filter, indicating that good fish come around so little that you’re slightly better off not filtering at all. Not filtering after the first five buckets will average you around 778 gold per hour. NOTE: If you can filter out trash fast, then continue to do so after the first five buckets. The profit rate difference between filtering and not filtering the junk is only 0.2 gold per bite. A quick filterer will easily make up for this discrepancy and make more profit by filtering. If you take almost all of the available time to watch the fish to see if you should throw it away, then you should not filter after the fifth bucket.
Gaidin's avatar

Dedicated Heckler

Now this is most definetly not an approach I would have expected... But I like it very much nonetheless. Quite the interesting information, and much thanks 3nodding
tiranaki's avatar

Fashionable Hoarder

Can we post?

This is excellent 3nodding I admit numbers and I don't get along so I didn't get the charts at all at first, and while it wasn't new information for me in the end, just the way it's been presented and so clearly researched, it should be helpful to many people.
Thank you for your kind words.

Feel free to post with questions or comments.
Gaidin's avatar

Dedicated Heckler

Oh, I do have a question... What rod were you using?
When I fish I use the Distance Plus rod for the best filtering.
A question for you though: The data that I used from your thread regarding fish size didn't specify any particular rod. Were these numbers rod specific? In theory, the greater distance cast would further skew the higher profit rates towards filtering as hooking larger fish is more likely.
Gaidin's avatar

Dedicated Heckler

Those numbers were not rod specific. However, further casting does have a higher large fish hook rate theoretically.

But then, shorter casting has a lower reel time. Thus you would have to calculate time spent reeling versus likelihood(sp?) of hooking a large... But for all intents and purposes your numbers are a great base 3nodding
You might want to shrink the images a little, since they are stretching the page. But overall good job. 3nodding

THE TRUE RAZGRIZ rolled 3 20-sided dice: 4, 12, 15 Total: 31 (3-60)


I love your approach to this. Your've been clear and concise.

Now if I could just identify junk in Durem...
tiranaki's avatar

Fashionable Hoarder

Transcendent has an excellent filtering guide, it certainly helped me at first. I had to adapt it to work for me, but the basics of it really did help, and were easy to follow.

Transcendent's Filtering Guide


That's so amazingly scientific and detailed. I never thought fishing could be so complicated. xd
Wow, this is quite an original approach to fishing. Glad I kept browsing the forums past the first page... Maybe I'll try it, see if it gets me some more gold ^_^
Thyalla's avatar

Ryunaito's Wife

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I agree about resizing the images 3nodding Good work on this one 3nodding
I'll see what I can do about resizing the images (it shows up fine on my browser, but my resolution is rather high). I'm currently working on an addendum to post. This model modification addresses rod-types, quantifies the effects of higher filtering speed, actually takes into account casting/reeling time, and modifies the probabilities of catching different fish in different depths of water. These results should determine how long you need to fish before making up the cost of a plus rod (I'm quite interested in this result as I think it may be on the order of hundreds of hours). This might discourage some fishers from dropping 13,050 gold on a distance plus.

Also, I would like to run some numbers with rare fish. I can only do that if someone has hard numbers on the odds of hooking a rare with D or F bait. I've seen varying figures. Some say 1 in 5000 bites hooks a rare while others refer to the "lucky bucket" which virtually guarantees a rare bite with D or F. Depending on this figure, and the average sale price of rares, it may turn out that fishing with D bait and no filtering will yield a drastically higher payoff on average. If someone knows for certain what the numbers are, I'd appreciate having them.

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