Why is fishing so hard?

Does anyone else find it weird in Animal Crossing how much harder fishing is than, like, anything else?

Even videogamedunkey pointed this out.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because the mechanics are pretty simple and on paper it’s not obvious that fishing would be more difficult or frustrating than, say, catching bugs. But there actually are several key differences.

First is that unlike bugs, which you can see before deciding to try to catch them, you can never be sure what kind of fish you’re trying to hook. It’s limited to some varieties by time and location, but beyond that all you have to go on is its rough size. You can run past the bugs you don’t need and only target the ones you’re specifically looking for, but if you’re looking for a specific fish you have to go for any shadow of the right size in the right place at the right time, with no guarantee that it’s the one you need - or even a fish, as it can turn out to be trash instead (or, during the Bunny Day event, a candy egg). So even if you succeed at the actual fishing challenge, you might not get the reward you want. And any fish that gets away might have been your one chance at the rare fish you’re seeking.

Next is the first stage of the actual challenge: getting the fish’s attention. Using the fishing pole casts the bobber out a set distance in front of you, and this can be bizarrely hard to aim. You don’t get any control over where it goes besides pointing your character in a direction, which can be difficult to do with precision. Fish have a surprisingly small area that they pay attention to and they can move around and reorient randomly. As a result, you may have to cast several times to actually get noticed - many times, I’ve cast my bobber only to have the fish turn around while the bobber was in midair. But you have to be careful about reeling the bobber in for a recast - if you do it when the fish actually had noticed it, the fish vanishes.

Finally comes the main challenge: reeling in the fish. The fish will nibble at the bobber zero to four times and then bite it. If you pull the line in any time before the bite, you lose the fish. Once they bite, you have a short window to pull the line in - hit the button too late, and you lose the fish. The window might be shorter for more rare fish, but in New Horizons you can’t tell from the shadow whether the fish is rare so you must treat every fish as rare. Either way, it’s a shorter window with less player control than almost anything else in the game - the only other thing I can really point to is dealing with wasps, but those have multiple mitigating factors (if you’re trying to catch them, you get several chances a day; if you fail to avoid them you can just take medicine which is easily acquired).

Fishing, like catching bugs, is one of the most prominent activities that you’re generally expected to do every day. It’s really odd to me how much harder and more frustrating fishing is than all the other prominent activities.