The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
By Becky Cunningham
The fishing minigame in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time begins once Link finds a shortcut to Lake Hylia from the land of the acquatic Zoras. In the corner of the lake sits a cottage that hosts a fishing pond. For twenty rupees, the fishing pond owner will lend Link a fishing rod and allow him to fish as much as he likes. There's a fish tank on the counter that hosts the biggest fish that's been caught in the pond so far, and Link's goal is to beat the size of that fish with his own cast.
The fish are clearly visible in the pond, and Link can hit the targeting button to highlight one of the fish. He then has to cast his line out into the vicinity of the fish — there's a brake button if the player thinks the cast will overshoot the target fish too much. When the lure hits the water, the player either presses a button or wiggles the analog stick back and forth to attract the fish. Wiggling the stick is more fun, of course. When the fish bites, the player pulls back to set the line and hits the "reel in" button. Depending on the size of the fish, when it gets close to Link, it may be necessary to use the analog stick to give the line some slack so that the fish doesn't get away. With patience, Link will catch the fish and hold it up in front of himself.
Different environmental conditions will make it easier to catch fish. Fish are very active around dusk and dawn, and will bite more if it's raining in the pond. Once Link has the iron boots that allow him to walk at the bottom of the pond, he can wade in wade in with the fish and get a better view of them in order
caught with that lure. For cheaters, there's even a sinking lure that can be found near the lake, though the fishing shop owner won't reward any prizes for fish caught it.
So what's the point of all this fishing? Prizes, of course! If Young Link can catch a fish of nine pounds or more, he'll win a piece of heart from the fishing pond owner. When Adult Link comes back later in the game, the fish will be bigger. He'll be able to catch a fifteen-pound fish and earn a golden scale, which gives him the ability to dive underwater for up to nine seconds. This, of course, gives him access to even more treasures in various parts of the world.
Although catching a 15-pound fish marks the limit of prizes, many fishing enthusiasts have played the fishing game far beyond that point in order to find out the largest possible fish that can be caught at Lake Hylia. It's rumored that fish up to thirty pounds can be caught in the pond, though most people report hitting a maximum around twenty-five pounds. This isn't counting the one special fish in the pond, the Hylian Loach. The loach appears rarely in the pond, and looks somewhat like an eel with flippers. The lucky player who catches the loach will be rewarded with 50 rupees, though the fishing pond owner won't keep the loach in his tank because it's so rare.
Although the fishing minigame is just one of many side quests in Ocarina of Time, it's one of the most interesting and complex. The little pond in Lake Hylia is home to frustrating misses, triumphant catches, and various gaming myths and legends. Whether you're Young Link or Old, Lake Hylia is a rewarding place to take a break from saving the world.
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