Nothing can truly beat fishing in real life, getting out on a riverside or wading into the water with a rod in your hand.
It’s the moments of quiet contemplation, the general peace and serenity that rarely comes during a game of cat and mouse. It’s the thrill of the chase without having to actually chase, a battle of wits between you and the fish that is unrivaled in any other hobby.
Of course, there are times when you can’t get out on the water, and they’re frustrating. There’s nothing worse than an angler without a rod or with no water to throw a line into. Sure, you can spend time researching the best waders for fly fishing or scouting new locations, but eventually, you’ll want to catch some fish.
That’s where video games can help. There are a lot of games based on fishing, some offering a real simulation, others not so much. If you’re an angler and want to fish virtually at home, you might find yourself spoilt for choice and a little lost at sea. Some games will be recommended as fishing simulators, but you won’t quite take the bait; Stardew Valley is one. It’s ranked as a great fishing game, but when you finally get into it, you find it’s not a simulator but part of a wider game. The same can be said for some online slots on Coral; they have fishing names such as Fishin’ Reels and Fishin’ Pots of Gold, but they’re not fishing simulators. These games will appeal to angler for their imagery and themes; they take fishing as their basis but twist it into a different genre. Even mobile titles such as Let’s Fish feel a bit gimmicky for the serious angler.
However, some games should satisfy your needs if you want to enjoy all the fun of angling without getting wet. These three are among the best.
Fishing Planet has an eye for detail that is unrivaled. As a standalone title on most home consoles, it has been developed with anglers in mind, making it a must-play for any experienced fishermen (or women) wanting to enjoy their hobby from the couch. You can enter competitions and tournaments to pit your wits against other gamers, and the range of locations, baits and equipment means your skills will truly be tested. This is one title to check out if you want to fish from home.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator
Designed for PC but available on home consoles, Ultimate Fishing Simulator is intended to deliver a realistic fishing experience that can be enjoyed whilst sitting at your desk, and it certainly delivers. It has one of the most advanced water systems in the world, a solid day and night cycle and offers photo-realistic graphics of your catches and fishing locations. The fish have complex AI also, which means you’ll be battling to land a catch. You’ll need to be patient, but not quite as patient as on the riverbank; it strikes a nice balance between waiting for a catch and becoming bored. PlayStation Country suggests it lives up to its name, making it a great choice for your virtual angling experience.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is slightly different from the others on the list because it isn’t a fishing game. If you want to enjoy the fishing elements, you’ll need to progress into the main story, which might not appeal to some. However, should you choose, you’ll find a solid fishing simulator that delivers something different, an experience that feels raw. Americans have been fishing for food for many years, right back through the days of the Wild West, and that’s the angle the game uses so well. It’s so immersive and easy on the eye that CBR reports it recently won Screenshot of the Year, four years after release! Couple the gorgeous visuals with a great range of baits, fish to catch and locations, and you’ll feel truly at one with nature, in a virtual world at least.