Original text by Knez Rex 2007, updated by Gizznit Copyright Agony Unleashed
Got that PVP itch? Can’t get a gang together? Here is a cost effective way to stalk the pipes solo. Fishing is extremely fun and relatively accessible (skill wise) for newer pilots. It can also be quite profitable, as a basic t1 fishing frig can be fitted for 1-4 million isk, and your targets typically drop more than that in loot. The ideal inty targets are often overconfident interceptor pilots that engage when they should run!
The Primary Principle of Fishing
An interceptor pilot can almost always decline these engagements. As such, you need to coerce them to engage. To do this, they have to think they can easily destroy you, or they can get away from you if need be, or that their backup can save them.
How to Win
There are many different setups for fishing frigates. The most common use a large tank, but some use range, or jams, or some other creative method. The only common denominator between these setups is the fishing frigate dominates the terms of the engagement. Seriously, fighting on your own terms is the BEST way to win any fight!!! Since interceptors are the fastest ships in the game, one must nullify their speed first and foremost!!!! As such, a scram & web is an essential combo to fishing. Once their speed is nulified, they're just an untanked frigate hull, easily destroyed.
Note: Aggress with webs/scrams before engaging weapons! If your web/scram misses, then you won’t be aggressed and can often jump through a gate to escape an inty orbiting out of range!!!
Analyse your target
To set up your ship for fishing, its important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. What is the typical role of an interceptor.... 1.) To quickly snag a big target, and keep it there until a gang can take it down. 2.) To move about fairly unhindered from place to place in null sec. In both cases, speed is their primary method of tanking or their primary method of escaping. As such, inties rarely fit mods to hinder this (i.e. they wont fit plates in their lows because it would slow them down), and their mids are often fitted with ewar and cap modifications to perma-run points and mwds (again, typically no tank).
The Tanked Fishing Frigate
The easiest method for fishing involves fitting an abnormally large tank to your ship. This is typically achieved using a medium shield extender or a 400 mm plate. There are two main fittings for the mids: ab/web/scram vs web/web/scram. Both of these types of setups have their unique advantages. With the afterburner, you have a bit more speed, so its quicker to move into your optimal ranges, its easier to escape from a bubbler (although still very hard...), and finally, you can engage the ab and overheat your mids to occasionally grab an inty orbiting out of web range. The dual web version requires many fewer skill points, typically puts out more dps, and immobilizes your target making weapon tracking easier.
- Fishing T1 Rifter EHP 4400, DPS 75+, need AWU 2.
- Fishing T1 Tristan EHP 4700, DPS 80+, need AWU 2.
- Fishing T1 Merlin EHP 4300+, DPS 70+, need AWU 3, SU 4.
- A T2 version of the Tristan has EHP 5100, DPS 95+
- A T2 version of the Merlin has EHP 5500, DPS 75+
- Fishing Tristan No Propulsion EHP 3800+ repper, DPS 90+, low sp.
- Fishing Merlin No Propulsion EHP 4300+, DPS 75+, low sp
Mid-Range Fishing setups
Some of the close-Range Interceptors, like a well-fit taranis, are powerful enough to win in the blow-for-blow match. Against these opponents, range is your friend!!!!! The idea is to snag the inty at an optimal range outside of their blaster's falloff (>6 km). While you loose some dps, you minimize the interceptor’s advantages of good tracking and small signature radius, thereby improving your hit chances. Additionally, when against rocket fitted Maledictions and Crows, the range allows you to keep your speed up to minimizes the damage that you take from rockets. Dual web-scram setups are typically best for this, as their speed is reduced enough that they can't attempt orbiting tricks to break your orbit. The downside is it takes 50+ seconds to finish off the interceptor occasionally allowing their friends to come save them!
- Fishing Kestrel No Propulsion EHP 3500, DPS 55+, low sp.
- Fishing Merlin Ranged EHP 4300+, DPS 55+, very low sp
The Fishing Griffin
While a griffin is a very fragile ship, it is also extremely agile, and can completely neutralize your opponent while you kill them. There are several prototype versions, but its not in my area of expertise. Please experiment with one, and if it’s successful, post it here!
- Fishing Griffin Prototype EHP 1400, DPS 45.
Brief look at Interceptors
Here is some background on the targets in order of most difficult to least.
- Taranis: EHP 3800, DPS 210, 3 Mids
- Malediction: EHP 3700, DPS 110, 3 Mids
- Raptor: EHP 3000, DPS 150, 3 Mids
- Crusader: EHP 3700, DPS 135, 2 Mids
- Claw: EHP 3100, DPS 115, 2 Mids
- Crow: EHP 1700, DPS 60, 3 mids
- Stiletto: EHP 2000, DPS 70, 4 Mids
- Ares: EHP 2000, DPS 85, 3 Mids
Taranis - The taranis is part assault frigate, part interceptor. It is almost in a class of its own, due to both a high damage output and a large amount of hit points. If it can stay within blaster range few frigates can take it on. If you wish to kill a taranis, you typically need more than brute force!
Claw/Malediction – these blaster/autocannon + Rocket fit intys have a good tank and good dps. Sometimes you'll need to overheat for the win! Sometimes these inty's are fit for range.... when so... they lose a significant portion of their dps.
Raptor - A blaster fit raptor can put out an amazing amount of dps, as well as have a solid tank. However, many raptor pilots prefer 75mm railguns, which have the damage output of wiffleball bat! As such, engage with caution. The missile raptor is similar to the Crow below, but with one less missile slot. It puts out less damage and tends to remain outside of web range.
Crusader - Excellent damage output, and good tank.... but you can often fly under their laser tracking speed. As such, these tend to die faster than you do!
Stiletto – Although this ship might be best suited at its role, they tend to go down very easily when dual webbed in my experience. Note they have extra mid slots that often carry a surprise.
Standard Missile Crow – Very fast. Pilot will try to orbit you outside of web range and pound on you at range with standard missiles. They also have a bonus to kinetic missile damage. Do not aggress unless they are in web range.
Ares – This is one of the weakest interceptors, but it can still be deadly. Often these will orbit you outside of web range, and ever so slowly kill you with rail guns. Luckily, you can often power to a gate and escape before they finish you off.
Looking at all of these setups, they typically fit within two categories. Your close range, heavy dps ships verse the ranged, low dps ships. In both cases, your goal is to first dominate the ship in terms of range, and secondly to out tank them.
Tactics, Tips and Tricks
DO NOT ENGAGE WEAPONS UNLESS YOU SUCCESSFULLY WEB & SCRAM THE INTY!!!!
Be aggressive. It’s the Agony way. They consistently underestimate. The initial surprise "Wow this frig isn't running" gives you a few seconds head start. How do I get them into web range? Sometimes I like to make it seem as though I am running away form them.
Stick close to gates. When in trouble jump and cold warp, it is your best defense.
A bad habit that most interceptor pilots have is that they approach their targets by just hitting the orbit button. Navigational computers aren’t actually very bright. If they get a command like this they will fly in a straight line towards their target and then turn hard when they hit the desired range. Because they’re travelling at very high speeds this turn often results in overshoot. If you hit the approach button yourself and fly towards them at maximum speed the odds are good that their overshoot will bring them into scramble range. Overheat mids for the win!
If an interceptor successfully establishes an orbit on you, fear not. There dps is low enough that you have time to react: Power back to a gate, ask for help, or try an orbit breaking move. An orbit breaking move is where you rapidly change direction into the inty's orbit, and then you change directions again to approach the inty. If you do it right, you get an opportunity to web/scram the inty before it can reorient back into its original orbit.
Example 1: I'm in a ship labeled bookmarker, 100 km off a gate. A crow pilot comes in system, see's me, and powers out to engage. I align, and even tease the pilot by letting him get within 50km. Then I warp to a distant gate at zero. If the crow chases and makes the mistake of warping to the gate at zero also, which he might well do if he believes that you are getting away, he will land right on top of you. Engage your webs and perhaps one of your high slots after all he is in gate activation range. We need to get him to aggress in order to fully spring our little trap. If he turns red you got him!!! Be cool though and keep an eye on local because he may just be scouting for a gang or fleet. If local spikes you will have time to finish the kill and maybe even grab the loot if you are quick. Lastly warp to a tactical and plan a route home.
Example 2: I am sitting at a gate again patiently fishing. I get an activation and a crow de-cloaks off the gate. The pilot zooms towards me. Observe the crow. Does it enter web range? If not, jump and warp to the next gate along the pipe. If he follows he is looking for a fight. Try him again. He is now expecting you to run and will probably try to stay in jump range so that he can follow if needed. This is a fatal mistake that I observe often for they are now inside of your web range and trigger happy.
Example 3: I find a gate camp on some random gate in a large system. I warp to the gate @ 100 km (or some tac on grid), turn around and align to a distant gate (ideal 75+ au away). If the inty pilot powers out towards me, I tease him until he gets 50km away, at which point I obviously warp to my distant gate at zero. The inty pilot will often warp to zero after you (and arrives before you). Watch your scanner, if it’s empty, engage the inty, and he'll arogantly engage you back because he has friends in system. Typically, you can kill him before his pals can make the warp!
Example 4: This is one of the more advance maneuvers that I recommend you refrain form attempting until you get some practice. This often costs me a ship but rarely in vain.
Sitting at my Saranen tactical in 93PI my scanner finds a small camp on the Sarannen gate. They have an interceptor with them. I warp to the gate @ 100 km, turn around and head into the opposite direction of the gate camp. Make sure you are not being sniped. The interceptor pilot begins to micro-warp towards me (big mistake because he is blowing his cap). Judge his speed (takes practice). When he is about 14 km off begin to target. If you judged right he will be in web range by the time you get a lock. His momentum will take him some time to slow down so he will overshoot you. Of course you know that and that is the reason you are traveling in the opposite direction of the gate. When the interceptor slows down, kill him right under the gang’s nose. My favorite way to do it.
“Fishing” is a great little drill, ideal for developing dog fighting skills. I also believe it actually makes a better interceptor pilot out of you. But most importantly it teaches you to analyze a ships strengths and weaknesses and use this information to your advantage. A skill that will help you fly any ship better.