Catching critters is a big part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Bugs, for the most part, are pretty straightforward, but catching fish can be trickier. Since the game doesn’t really explain how to catch fish, it was a bit frustrating at first. Follow these tips and before you know it, you’ll be a Cast Master!

If you already know the basics of fishing and just want information on the Cast Master objective, skip ahead.

Finding Fish

As you move around your island, you’ll notice shadows in the water. The shadows will vary in size to indicate the size of the fish. There are a lot of different fish in the game, which vary by location. For example, there are fish that are only in the sea, some are only in rivers and/or ponds, and some are even more specific! For example, the Sturgeon can only be caught in the mouth of a river and the Golden Trout can only be caught in clifftop rivers.

The fish available will also vary depending on the time of day and even the weather! For help knowing which fish are available, I recommend using the ACNH Guide which is on both iOS and Android. You can refer to it in your browser or download the app to save items and mark off what you’ve collected. It’s completely free, but you can pay to remove ads and support the creator. Trust me, that it’s completely worth the effort and if you can afford to pay for it, you should. The creator puts a lot of effort into and is super fast at updating it when new content is released for the game.

The Basics of Catching Fish

While your fishing rod is equipped, press (A) to cast a line into a body of water near a fish shadow. If you’re not close enough to the water or not angled correctly, you won’t be able to cast and instead you’ll just see a little half-cast attempt. Adjust where you’re standing, and cast again.

Once your line is in the water, wait for the fish to approach. If they just aren’t biting, you may need to recast. Click (A) to withdraw your line, line it up and cast again. Fish will sometimes nibble before they actually bite. Wait for them to fully bite the line and then hit (A) repeatedly until you reel the fish in.

You’ll see the shadow approach the line, but the surest way to make sure that you actually have the fish on the line is to listen for it and feel the vibrations of the controller. In the video below, listen for the difference between the fish nibbling the line and actually biting.

Become a Cast Master

There are a couple of different objectives related to fishing. Angling for Perfection is completed based on the quantity of fish you’ve caught over time while Island Ichthyologist is completed based on how many unique types of fish you’ve caught. These will both naturally happen over time, but the Cast Master objective is a bit more difficult.

The Cast Master objective is to “consecutively reel in a large number of fish.” In other words, you have to catch a lot of fish without messing up. There are three tiers to this: 10, 50, and 100. The official companion guide states: “This may prove to be the most challenging objective there is” (pg 148). And they’re not wrong.

According to the official companion guide, larger fish and sharks are harder to catch and “require quicker reflexes” so they therefore recommend going after the smaller shadows. I haven’t found any consistent correlation between the size/rarity of the fish and how difficult it is to catch. I’ve managed to get all three tiers of the Cast Master objective so here are some tips from my actual experience:

  • Sound is your best friend as far as knowing when to reel in your fish. Turn the sound up—even better, use headphones if you can. See the video earlier in this post to hear the difference in sounds while fishing.
  • When fishing in the river, cast upstream of the fish you want to catch. The current will carry your line toward the fish. For this reason, I found it easier to get this objective with river fish than with ocean fish.
  • Your cast doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. You just need to make sure you don’t startle the fish. If you need to recast, make sure that you don’t do it when a fish is close to the line. When you recast with a fish too close to the line, clicking (A) to withdraw your line will startle it and you’ll lose your progress. If a fish isn’t biting, wait for it to swim away a bit before recasting.
  • In a small pond, every cast will get you fish if you’re patient enough. To do this, you’ll need bait to keep spawning more fish in the pond. You may not cast perfectly the first time, but in a small enough pond, the fish will keep swimming back and forth and will eventually spot your line.

One of the most frustrating parts of trying to get this objective is that unless you’re counting as you go, there’s no way to know how close you are. Before you obtain the stamp for each tier, it will show your best fishing streak so far, but doesn’t reflect your current number.

Oh you're a castmaster now! And if not, get started catching fish

Are you a Cast Master? Do you have any tips of your own? Share them with us!


  1. In trying to catch the fish for cast master do you go back to the begining of the count if you catch stones, cans, boots etc.

    • Hi Theresa! As long as you don’t “miss” and reel in too soon or lose a hooked fish, you shouldn’t reset your progress on Cast Master, even if it’s not a fish that you catch.

  2. Being close to the fish when you recast doesn’t actually scare it away, it only matters if the fish sees your bobber or not. Generally rare fish have worse vision and you’ll need to be more precise with your cast to get their attention.

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