Yes, you saw that right–fishing.
As many of my regular readers are aware, I have tendonitis in my hands & arms. This means that sometimes when it’s acting up I’m fairly limited in what I can do. I’ve found that fishing in World of Warcraft is one of the things I can do that’s relaxing and fun and doesn’t bother my hands.
It has a sort of instant gratification thing going for it, since you accumulate fish and skill points fairly quickly. Once you get your skill up enough you can fish for the rarer fish, which are useful to alchemists as reagents, such as firefin snapper, stonescale eels, and oily blackmouth. Others, like Lightning Eel and Plated Armorfish are now used in faction-related quests. I use some of these for my own quests and potions; others I give to folks in my guild who need them or sell at auction.
At some point Blizzard updated fishing to make it more interesting and fun. There are “schools” of fish from which you can fish up greater numbers of the rarer, more useful fish for a short period of time. There are bits of floating wreckage that can yield trade mats, green items, money, stranglekelp, and more. There’s even a weekly contest in Booty Bay–I’ve always meant to play in it but never got around to it (I always seem to have other things to do on a Sunday).
The effects make fishing very relaxing–the water shimmers and sounds like real waves crashing on shore. (This is particularly handy when I’m having trouble sleeping as it helps me wind down.) It’s also a great chance to chat with other people I know–friends and guildmates–without having to worry about stopping the conversation for a fight every 30 seconds.
There are a couple of UI mods that make fishing even easier:
Fishing Buddy is my all-time favorite fishing mod. You can set “fishing outfits” that you can equip and unequip with the click of a single button (minimap button or Titan Bar button). You can set it to automatically apply a fishing lure if you don’t have one applied yet. You can set it to cast on right-click so you don’t always have to click the little icon. It keeps track of which fish you get where and how many, so you know your percentage chance of getting a given type of fish in a given area. It interfaces with Gatherer to mark fishing schools on your map.
Telo’s QuickLoot opens the loot window under your cursor. This removes much of the need to mouse back and forth across the screen, which makes fishing a lot faster and easier on my hands.
Azshara, Winterspring, and EPL are great places to fish up interesting things. Azshara has the benefit of being on the coast, which gets you some different types of fish than you can get inland (and wreckage), but EPL and Winterspring are good sources of Plated Armorfish and Lightning Eels because they’re higher level. They also yield Whitescale Salmon, which makes great hunter pet food, if you need that.
It helps, of course, to have an engineer among your characters, because aquadynamic fish attractors are easy to make but tend to be expensive to buy. Collect nightcrawlers when you kill undead (or buy them cheaply from vendors), and combine with coarse blasting powder and bronze. Voila!
One additional tip: get yourself a Big Iron Fishing Pole (+20 to your fishing). Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get one of these yourself if you have a little patience, so the things sell for outrageous prices at auction. Don’t buy one–go farm one up. Just go offshore in southern Desolace, where the shellfish traps are. Keep opening shellfish traps and killing the crustaceans. Eventually you’ll end up with a fishing pole. You do need patience for this, as it can take a handful of passes through, and there are often other people there. But it’s better than paying 20g at auction, IMO–or even more, depending on the day.