Meta Battle Subway PokeBase - Pokemon Q&A
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well, does it work on Pokemon you find while surfing or only ones you find by fishing?

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Catch rate: 3× if used on a Pokémon encountered while fishing
1× otherwise

Nope.

Source: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Poké_Ball#Introduced_in_Generation_II

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Catch Rate: 3× if used on a Pokémon encountered while fishing
1× otherwise

Only works with fishing sorry.

Source: Bulbapedia (to lazy to link lol)

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Allows the player to catch wild Pokémon; works better while fishing.
3× if used on a Pokémon encountered while fishing 1× otherwise

So I believe that it must be done whiles fishing. So you could catch it with the Lure ball with a higher catch rate, but then you must be fishing whiles surfing

However the Dive Ball amplifies all aquatic catching by 3.5X but can only be obtained in HG/SS through the Pokewalker: Beautiful Beach (5000+ Steps), Blue Lake (3500+ Steps)

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