With the old fishing technique, success in reeling in a catch relied mostly on a healthy dose of luck. Now, however, the skill of the fisherman plays a major role in landing the "big one."
It seems that this new technique also has the fish biting more often--a welcome change for many avid anglers.
I spoke with Laughing Lizard, a Galka by the Fishermen's Guild who was kind enough to explain the finer points of the new fishing system.
"Eh? You say somethin'? You want me to teach you this new fandangled fishin' method? In my day, we'd grab a rod and try an' learn for ourselves!"
Feeling chastised, I secured myself a rod and some bait, and found an open stretch of jetty from which to cast my line. Almost the instant the bait hit the water I felt a bite! I hurriedly tried to reel in my catch, only to have it slip off the hook and swim away.
"That fish is not gonna let you get him without a fight! If he starts tuggin' to the left, you've gotta pull to the right. If he starts tuggin' to the right, you've gotta pull to the left. You gotta tire him out before you reel him in!"
Listening to Laughing Lizard's advice, I took my time with the next fish. Just as he had explained, the fish's stamina seemed to steadily decrease as I countered the movements of the rod.
"If you spend too much time playin' with him, he might just get bored and be on his way. Pull him up when you think you've softened him up enough!"
Under Laughing Lizard's straightforward guidance, I was soon able to haul up catch after catch. I was pleased with the rapid increase of my fishing ability, but wondered if I could hook anything other than small fries...
"You wanna catch a bigger fish, you gotta have the right bait! And there's no point fishin' for 'em in a place where they don't swim.
"You gotta choose your rod carefully, too--those fancy carbon and glass rods may have what it takes to keep a fish on your line for a long time, but the flexibility of good old-fashioned wooden rods packs enough punch to tire out any fish in the blink of an eye.
"But enough of this chitchat. Get back to practicing your fishin'!"
It would be a long time before I was ready to tackle the larger varieties of sea life, but the steady pace of this new fishing method made practicing much less of a chore.
After fishing for a time, I noticed the fish stopped biting as often--until eventually I wasn't catching anything at all. I must have tired myself out with my enthusiasm.
When exhausting yourself with too much fishing, the only way to get the fish biting again is to change areas, or take a break with a different activity for a while.
For a change of pace, I decided to ask the people along the jetty what they thought of the new fishing method.
"I like the fact that you can see what other people are catching now, and often challenge my friends to fishing contests. I get jealous of those guys hauling up the big fish when I'm riding the ferry, though."
"I used to be able to chat with my linkshell buddies while I was dangling a line in the water. Now that you have to struggle with the fish, I don't have time for idle conversation. I guess I could talk in between casts, but since there's no waiting time anymore, I get straight back into it without uttering a single word. Goes to show how much I love fishing!"
"I rrreally enjoy fighting with the fish. Even when I get a bad feeling about a certain cast, I trrry to rrreel it in anyway, just to show him who's boss. Of course, I lose a lot more fishing rrrods that way.
"I used to use lurrres all the time, but now that the line brrreaks so often, I've switched to using less expensive bait."
"It's a shame the store prices for fish have dropped so much, but on the other hand the seafood business in bazaars and the auction house has really taken off. A fisherman really prefers for his catch to be eaten anyway."
"It's a little confusing when you think you're fighting with a 'fish' and then you pull up a rusty subligar..."
"I'm a chef by trade, but my fishing skill isn't high enough to catch the fish I need for my dishes. That's why I'm glad I can see what everyone around me is catching these days. If I notice a fisherman reeling in the type I want, I offer to buy it right there on the spot. The recent popularity of sushi has created a strong demand for certain fish."
"I caught a legendary fish just the other day! It sure was a thrill hauling up that prize after such a grueling struggle."
"Um, I--whoa! I got a bite!"
Some people were too busy fishing to answer my questions.
My interviewees were all at different levels of fishing skill, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the new method.
Watching these fishermen reeling in their catches soon had my hands itching for the feel of a fishing rod again. And the rumors of new legendary sea creatures being discovered every day further fueled my newfound passion for this addictive activity. I think I'll buy myself a new rod on the way home...