A guide to everything fishy in Bilkins’ Folly!
In this guide, I’ll break down everything you need to know about fishing in Bilkins’ Folly: how to unlock it, how to find all the different baits, where to find every fish, and exactly how to catch them.
Note: This guide contains mild spoilers for story progression, mainly the names of most of the game’s locations. I did my best to lay out my screenshots to avoid spoiling unrelated things, like the locations of other treasures.
Fishing is unlocked as part of a mandatory story quest on Crabb Island called “A Fishy Affair”, where you’re tasked with catching and delivering a fish to Gail Tootenboot—the blond woman fishing on the dock—so that she’ll join your crew.
Since you lack any kind of fishing equipment on account of being shipwrecked earlier, she agrees to loan you some, so visit her tent just to the left of the dock to pick up a fishing pole and a couple worms to get you started.
Just about everything in Bilkins’ Folly is a puzzle, and fishing is no exception. Cast your line out into the water and you’ll be met with the following interface:
To the left you have a grid, and in order to move through it, you’ll need to drag those movement tiles on the right side from the middle box down to the bottom. After pressing the Play button, starting from the X, your hook will move a set number of spaces in the direction(s) indicated by the tiles you place in the bottom box.
For example, using this right angle movement tile would send your hook one square up then one square to the right. Using it twice would repeat the same movement, taking you Up > Right > Up > Right.
A few things to keep in mind:
- The movement tiles you can select depends on the kind of bait you’re using. A full list can be found in the next section.
- There’s no limit to how many times you can use a single movement tile, but you do have a limited number of total movement tiles you can use to reach your destination. The maximum in empty waters is 20, but fish will only give you between 5 and 15.
- You need to make sure that your hook lands on the exact square your fish is sitting on in order to catch it, not just pass through it as part of a tile’s movement pattern.
- If you fail to land on the fish’s square with your chosen movement tiles, you will lose your bait, so plan your moves carefully before pushing the play button. The only exception is the baitless hook, which can be used infinitely with no consequences.
Inside the grid itself, you’ll find the ocean floor littered with various objects and, provided you cast in the right spot, a fish sitting somewhere inside it all. As the first image above might suggest, you’re not going to find fish by just casting anywhere that you see water—you’ll need to track down their exact locations.
Hint: You can tell if nearby water contains a fish when you see these little round ripples. They don’t always appear frequently, so keep an eye out!
We’ll get into more specific details for fish tracking in a bit. For now, let’s look at the different obstacles you’ll run into underwater:
If a move sends you into a rock, you’ll bump into it before continuing into the next unobstructed space your movement tile can take you. Using the right angle tile from before as an example, if a rock was directly above you, you would bump into it before moving to the right, leaving you one space to the right from your starting point as opposed to one up and to the right.
If a move sends you into seaweed, you’ll get caught in it and stop all remaining movement from the tile that sent you into it. Using the same right angle example, if seaweed was directly above you, you would land in it and stop moving, leaving you one space up as opposed to one up and to the right. Using another movement tile after this will take you out of the seaweed and let you continue moving as normal.
Contrary to what you might think, these are not your target underwater, and are in fact the most dangerous obstacle to be found. They stop movement similarly to seaweed, but also stop all future movement after landing in it, putting an immediate end to your hooking attempt and guaranteeing a loss of bait. Avoid them at all costs.
All of this might sound confusing when explained over text, so if you plan to do more than just copy down my solutions for these fishing puzzles, my advice is to just cast your line out somewhere, select the hook as your bait, and just start messing around to see how everything behaves.
Fantastic Baits and Where to Find Them
There are ten different baits to be found across the Isles, and players looking to catch every fish will need to make use of them all. Each bait has a very different set of move tiles associated with it that can drastically change where and how far you can go, so it’s important that you use the right bait for the right fish.
You can hold up to 9 of each bait at any given time, but you’ll need to buy a Bug Net from one of the shops in order to catch them.
This is the default “bait”, which is unlocked as soon as you get your fishing pole and can be used infinitely.
A few worms are provided for free when you first get your fishing pole. To get more, dig around in lighter-colored grass like the kind found on Crabb Island. Once you see it pop out, cancel your digging and quickly scoop them up with your net.
Dragonflies can be found flying around the outskirts of town on the southwest side of Leeky Harbor.
Grubs can be found by digging in darker-colored grass like the kind found near the swamps on Remy’s Lott. Just like worms, start digging until one pops out, then cancel the dig and snag them with your net.
Ticks can be found by swinging your bug net at the sheep found on Crabb Island and Remy’s Lott. Don’t feel bad for smacking them around—you’re doing them a favor, I promise.
Crumbs can be found by swinging your bug net at loaves of bread. You can find one in the kitchen of Winston’s Shack and inside the Governer’s mansion on Leeky Harbor.
To find leeches, take Drayton with you into the swamps on Remy’s Lott. A few seconds after he steps back on solid ground, Drayton will shake off a couple leeches that you can then scoop up with your net.
Clams can be found along shorelines as little black and red objects in the sand. Lonely Palm Island should have plenty of these.
Spiders can be found scurrying around in caves hidden throughout the Isles. They can be tough to find, but a good early-game location is behind a bomb-able wall in Cynthia’s hideout below the Crabb Island lighthouse.
Grasshoppers can be found hopping around on the southeast side of Remy’s Lott.
In-Game Hints: Fishy Adventures by Gail Tootenboot
Bilkins’ Folly offers in-game hints for the location and bait preference of every fish via a book called Fishy Adventures by Gail Tootenboot. A section of the book can be found with Gail’s tent before and during the “A Fishy Affair” quest; after she joins your crew, you can find it in the lower deck of your ship next to Gail. Reading this book while docked at any of the major islands will provide hints for where and how to catch fish local to the area—but only for that area, so reading up on any fish in previously visited islands requires you to first sail to that island and then return to the boat in order for the book to refresh. For ease of access, I’ve transcribed and compiled the entirety of Gail’s writings so you don’t need to go through this whole process every single time you need to double-check something.
Unless you’re really stuck, I would recommend sticking to this section for help before referring to the puzzle solutions at the end of this guide.
Before setting out, all fisherfolk know the importance of bringing the correct bait with them. While the cheapest rod can still pull a prize, if that stinky piece of toe curd on the end of your hook sends the fish swimming in the opposite direction, then what’s the point?
Crabb Island hosts some noticeable prized fish that the keen angler will want to track. With a loosely populated island that boasts no fishing industry as of note, anglers will find docile fishing among these waters.
THE SPOTTED CATFISH
This snoopy bottom feeder prefers calm and sheltered waters. As such, Fisherfolk should target the bays around Crabb Island. Unlike its freshwater peers, the spotted catfish is not too fussy with bait, though it does seem to show a preference for worms.
The tropical porcupinefish that habits the waters around Crabb Island will puff itself up as a defense mechanism. As such, caution should be practiced when handling this spikey prey. It has been spotted in the waters near the lighthouse, at company with the prickly human that guards that section of coast. Perhaps due to its barbed nature, porcupine fish will bite at a bare hook.
While not the tastiest dish out there, any angler hoping to complete their shopping list of tropical catches will need to add this slippery eel-like creature to their list. While I’ve yet to see one in the waters of Crabb Island, the locals assure me that they can be spotted on Lonely Palm Island, apparently attracted to the ruins there. Just like the person who decides to eat one of these creatures, the lungfish is not picky about its meal.
Better known for its questionable inhabitants, Remy’s Lott still offers plenty of top fishing if one’s willing to put in the footwork.
The only angel you’re gonna find on Remy’s Lott is this sneaky little fish. A private one that likes to hang out close to rocky shores, there’s limited spots where you can find it. For catching angelfish, I recommend using ticks as bait!
Despite its name, you won’t be finding this one by any sort of racket. Instead, try poking around shallow marshes and swampy areas. It might smell a bit, but trust me, the banjofish really loves it here. In terms of bait – I’d suggest a few breadcrumbs.
Now this is a nice tasting fish. Of course, it’s a fair hike from the town. The keen fisherperson will find this flounder over on the eastern side of the island. Try casting from the jetty and you can’t go wrong. For bait, flounder and clams seem to pair well.
You’ll need a boat for this one. I’ve heard mention there’s a small island just east of Remy’s that shelters the stripey tomdrum. I’ve not tried to catch one of these before, although I’ve heard that they’re attracted to leeches.
One of the biggest ports in the region, it’s also home of the Leeky Harbor Big Catch Tournament (won multiple times by yours truly). A great place to chat to like-minded boys and girls, I’d recommend all keen fisherfolk make their way in for the annual Big Catch – I’d love to meet my match in the competition!
In terms of actual fishing on the island, while it’s good, I’d avoid eating anything that comes out of the water…unless you’re looking to lose a lot of weight fast.
Here’s a riddle for you: step through the doorway – out to the deep end – casting south. Oh yeah, you might also want to take some spiders with you. Hope you don’t mind (heehee).
What’s better than two eyes? Yeah, yeah. I think this butterfly is attracted to the smell of dead bodies. Kind of gross, hey? But you can catch them on the beach over where the smell of the local graveyard wafts through. What do butterflies like best? Why, it’s dragonflies of course!
This cheeky fish likes to hang out in the bay west of the town. You shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it. I’d suggest taking a handful of grubs along for the journey.
I stopped by this island once and the fishing was actually great, but I’ve heard that more recently something happened and the fish no longer hang out here. A real shame too. The locals claim that some terrible event scared them all away. Hopefully it’s only temporary.
Before they all took off, you used to be able to spot this fish just chilling in the water and staring out at that giant stone head thing. About the only thing that they’d break for was grasshoppers.
Fish Locations and Puzzle Solutions
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re looking for more than just gameplay basics and hints. In this section, I’ll show you exactly where to find each fish, which bait to use, and the moves needed to catch them. Location images are heavily cropped in order to limit spoiling of other nearby puzzles/treasures, so you’ll still need to do just a little bit of legwork to find the exact spot in the wider map.
Location: Crabb Island
One of two items in the “Fantastic Fish” section that isn’t actually a fish, the other being the tokens earned from the Big Catch tournament. It can be found by dropping your line right next to the dock on Crabb Island where you met Gail. Unlike the actual fish, this one won’t display an icon on your map after you catch it.
Location: Crabb Island
The Spotted Catfish can be found in the bay just south of the Capsized Crab. You can reach it more easily from the two small islands south of the bay.
Location: Crabb Island
The Porcupinefish can be found in the water west of the lighthouse. You’ll need to go behind the cliff, accessible by walking north from the Capsized Crab, in order to get down there. Alternatively, you can use the secret doorway unlocked from Cynthia’s hideout. Contrary to Gail’s hint, I found it much easier to catch this one on worms.
Location: Lonely Palm Island
The Greasy Lungfish can be found in the waters right next to where you dock your boat. A nice, easy one to track.
Location: Remy’s Lott
The King Angelfish can be found on the north-westernmost part of Remy’s Lott.
Location: Remy’s Lott
The Banjofish can be found by fishing in the southern side of the swamp on Remy’s Lott. Since crumbs only have two different move tiles, this is without a doubt the easiest fish to catch.
Location: Remy’s Lott
The Peacock Flounder can be found by fishing by the pier on the southeast side of Remy’s Lott.
Location: Winston’s Shack
The Stripey Tomdrum can be found in the waters right next to where you dock your boat. Another quick and easy one to find.
Location: Leeky Harbor
The Sour Tang can be found tucked away on a tiny beach on the south side of Leeky Harbor.
Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish
Location: Leeky Harbor
The Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish can be found on a small beach north of the graveyard on the east side of Leeky Harbor.
Location: Leeky Harbor
The Monkeyfish can be found on the northwest beach of Leeky Harbor.
Location: Shattered Peak
The Smooth-face Trunkfish can be found on the central beach of Shattered Peak. However, this fish will not appear until you complete the quest “Winston’s Writings” and return Tlaloc’s totem to the altar on top of the volcano.
The Leeky Harbor Big Catch Tournament
Gail mentions on several occasions that she’s trying to make it to Leeky Harbor in time for an event called the Big Catch Tournament, and you’ll eventually find it in the second half of Act 2. Once you’re given access to explore Leeky Harbor, you can find the tournament to the southeast of your dinghy, as indicated by the big hook icon on the map. Talk to the Fishmaster here—the really big guy standing outside the gated area—and he’ll let you join the tournament. He warns you that the tournament is almost finished and will conveniently come to an end if you leave Leeky Harbor and come back, so you’ll have to commit to finishing it once you start this process.
The Big Catch Tournament involves catching tokens scattered around the water in the same way that you’d catch fish. Winning requires you to successfully catch all ten tokens, and doing so will net you a trophy and a fancy new fishing rod. [Note: Due to a bug, the new fishing rod does not currently provide any bonuses, but is meant to prevent bait loss on an unsuccessful cast and/or increase the available moves for solving fishing puzzles. This will be fixed in a future update.]
To start catching, simply cast out into the shallow waters alongside all the other fisherfolk, and you’ll find all ten tokens on the same grid. You’re free to use any bait that you’d like, you’re given the maximum 20 total moves for each attempt, and you can try as many times as you need to so long as you don’t leave Leeky Harbor before catching them all. I found that every single token can be caught on a baitless hook, so that’s the solution I’m going to show below. The order you collect them in doesn’t matter, and the order displayed in the image is just the sequence that I happened to catch them in. A lot of them use similar starting moves, but unfortunately you’ll have to reset every time you pick up a token.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST complete the Big Catch Tournament before entering Act 3, which triggers by visiting Shattered Peak for the first time. If you enter Act 3 without interacting with the tournament, you cannot go back to it without editing your save file.
What to Do if you Miss the Tournament by Entering Act 3
First off, it’s important to know that the Big Catch Tournament is not required for 100% achievement completion, so missing it isn’t the end of the world. That said, you do miss out on an upgraded fishing rod and the satisfaction of a fun puzzle; so if you desperately want to go back and do the tournament, it’s possible to edit your save file to temporarily allow access back into it. This is a fix provided to me by the head developer via the Bilkins’ Folly Discord, and I can verify that it worked for me when I did it on an earlier build of the game. That being said, make sure to make a backup of your save data before changing anything (instructions for doing so below), because I cannot and will not help you if something goes wrong.
- Shut the game down.
- Locate your save data, which can be found on Windows machines at
- Make a backup of the entire “saveData” folder.
- Open the “auto” folder, then open “variablesDictionary.txt”
- Locate the string “”ACT”:3″ and change it to “”ACT”:2″
- Open the “manual” folder, then open “variablesDictionary.txt” there, repeat the same step as before.
- Enter and complete the tournament. Do not do any other main or side quests while the ACT variable is still changed.
- Once the tournament is complete, go back both “variablesDictionary.txt” files and change the ACT variable back from 2 to 3.
Final Notes and Conclusion
If you followed all the solutions correctly, you should now have a total of 11 fish, 10 Big Catch Tokens, a new trophy and fishing rod, and one very damp old boot. After catching your last fish, Percy remarks that he wants to present them all to Gail, so go back to your boat and talk to her in the lower deck. This doesn’t show up in your notes as an actual side quest, so don’t forget to do this. I won’t spoil exactly what happens here, but you’ll be prompted to make a decision regarding the relationship between you and Gail. Once you’ve caught all 11 fish and talked to Gail, you’ll earn the following achievements:
Catch every fish
Come to a resolution with Gail
If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! I hope this guide was able to answer all of your fishing related questions. If there’s anything I failed to answer, or if any information here is outdated or incorrect, definitely let me know. Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your time with Bilkins’ Folly!