The first fishing hole Dan and I visit is Chilbongsan Pond. We had been looking to take up fishing while living in Korea – I was expecting the good ole fashioned spin-fishing I had learned growing up, and was surprised to realize there is in fact a difference between the American fishing I’m used to and Korean fishing. The style is primitive– no reel. This location has overhead coverage in most locations, which is nice in the hot Korean summer. You enter by going down a steep hill, and parking in the lot. There’s a small tackle shop right in front of the pond area to stop in for payment and equipment rental if you need it (snacks and soju are also available for purchase along with all the tackle shop essentials). The people are very friendly and helpful from my experience.
This location is a small privately owned pond in Yangju. It costs about 20,000 KRW to fish for the day. The owners keep the pond supplied with medium sized Amur Catfish (Maegi or 메기 in Korean). It’s a great place for beginners because they rent out all the equipment (poles, hooks, stands, bait, nets, everything) so you can get used to the style.
The first day, we rented out all the equipment and successfully caught one catfish the whole night, leaving around 11pm. Eventually, we got our own equipment, weighed out a stone and hook assembly and had much better luck – 5 catfish in a night– but this time we took advantage of the cute little bungalows they rent out here. They’re tiny rooms equipped with fans, a small T.V., and blankets/pillows to sleep on. They’re right in front of the pond and you can truly fish in your front yard. Really convenient and cozy. They also have a screen door, so if it gets too buggy (bring spray), you can still see your lines easily from the screen. You can see the bungalows on the left of the picture below.
They have a fairly clean bathroom (by public Korean standards, especially) across a small bridge and up a hill a bit. Not too far at all, but bring your own TP! But the coolest part about this, especially for new fishers, is that using the catfish you catch yourself, the owners will cook them for you and make a delicious Maetung Spicy Catfish soup, complete with side dishes. Once you turn in your catches, they’ll announce on a loudspeaker your food is ready and you go collect it from the cafe on a tray with utensils and water, and a small ‘jet-boil’ type portable stove with the soup in a big pot. Best part of this little fishing hole, by far. They will also bag the fish if you wish to take them back with you.
Overall, a really fun place to learn how to fish in Korea. It was conducive to beginners, close to Camp Casey (15 minutes), and the fish bite like hell! If you want to ease into fishing in country, I would highly recommend this pond in Yangju. Directions on how to get there are on their website, or you can check out the nifty map in my directory. 🙂