When first starting out, it is recommended that you collect clams and crabs. This is because one fish earns you about $50 - $350 (varying) while crabs and shells earn you about the same however they spawn more frequently and the crab varies from $30-$400. One more added advantage is that your ship cannot take damage when not at the sea while you still earn the same amount of money.
However, there is another strategy that is possible if you want to play aggressively. If you simply select the option spawn in the sea on the menu you can sail in a circle and fish and kill other players who come near. In this scenario, it seems that while fishing at sea, there is a considerable increase in fishing speed which is an added advantage.
It is also recommended that you buy a boat if there is a lot of traffic since you will lose little gold as one of the quests will give you an instantaneous return of 5000. However, if there seems to be a small number of players you could buy a trader 1 and start trading as buying a trader will only give a profit of $650 due to one of the earlier quests as mentioned above. However, it is important to note that you only have the option of choosing the trader or a boat if you want to earn the 5000 from the quest .. hence It is advisable that you choose on the basis of how players are near you.
By far, the most profitable route is the Circle Route. The route includes all islands, except for Jamaica and Spain. The route is run counter-clockwise around the map and can be started from any of the 8 included islands. The west side of the map is usually more busy, however that depends on the current traffic of ships. The route in sequential order is as follows:
- Rum from Labrador, sold at Cuba; x3.85 gold per cargo.
- Silk from Cuba, sold at Taiwan; x5.35 gold per cargo.
- Spice from Taiwan, sold at Barbados; x7.71 gold per cargo.
- Coffee from Barbados, sold at Brazil; x5 gold per cargo.
- Bananas from Brazil, sold at Malaysia; x9.5 gold per cargo.
- Sugar from Malaysia, sold at Guinea; x5 gold per cargo.
- Spice from Guinea, sold at the Philippines; x7.71 gold per cargo.
- Gems from the Philippines, sold at Labrador; x11.36 gold per cargo.
When beginning, It is a good strategy to start out on Spain, buy the trader, get the beginner sailor badge plus 5k, sail to Philippines(fish on the way there), buy 100 gems , go to Labrador, sell all of them and *BOOM*, you have 60k.
When turning your ship and shooting, your shots are a bit higher than usual, so try to aim lower.
Changing the build of your character gives a significant edge during combat and is necessary to find one's personal favorite, experiment with different builds and Items to make the best possible build for your skillset and gain the edge during battle.
Spyglass and Corner Peek
Spyglass grants extra visibility and makes the fog more see-through, you can use the Spyglass to scout ahead for enemy ships or look for ships to prey upon, experienced players also use a technique called as Corner Peek, as the visibility at the corners of the window is more than the middle. It is recommended to do quick scans of the seas, once every few minutes to update yourself about the ships in the area; this is vital in busier trade routes as Baby Fancy or Black Oyster ambushes will quickly take you out the equation.