McKellar’s Pond

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In eastern/central North Carolina there are a few common types of American catfish: Channels, Blues, bullheads and flatheads. Since we often had success catching Amur catfish we decided to go after their supposedly delicious American cousins. McKellar’s pond is located in Fayetteville, NC tucked into a few backroads. The pond overall isn’t very well kept. It was littered with trash and remains of slobby fishing parties. Sad– they do not have any staff or conservationists to clean up; It’s the fisherman’s responsibility and it looks like people just don’t care around here.

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Anyways, we set up three catfish rods (two ugly sticks, and one telescopic) with different baits ranging from chicken liver flavored dough baits, to “Little Stinker” dip bait, and even some night crawlers. We casted out the rods as far as possible, then tightened the line up and placed the rods into individual rod holders. Finished it off with a little clip on bell that way when a fish bites, we are alerted. We used treble hooks for the dip/dough and circle hooks for other baits. In the mean time, we used our short rods to do a little spin fishing for bass or panfish. We went the first few hours without too much luck until I ended up catching this little guy:

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Channel catfish are known to like to eat bluegill, so we cut him up into small 1-1.5in sections, discarding the fins and spines and slipped it onto circle hooks. It’s important to note that the way a circle hook works is that it twists and punctures the side of the fish’s mouth. So when baiting a circle hook you want to ensure you keep the gap between the point and the hook fairly clear. Bigger bait isn’t always better on a circle hook, especially a smaller one like the 5/0 we were using.

 

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Once the bluegill was on the hook and the sun began to set, the bites started coming. It’s a whole lot of fun when the bells start ringing on all the rods!

We ended up with a good amount of channel cats after the sun went down. Catfishing is a lot like carp fishing in Korea, where it’s pretty stationary and passive, but man it’s fun to bring ’em in once the bell jingles. In the mean time, we just hung out, drank, and played with Brook the entire time. We kept 3 cats to take home with us, and released the rest.

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We cleaned up our catches the next day, using a fairly simple technique of a diagonal cut behind the gills, a cut down the spine to the tail, and just slice the meat off the skin. We got four good filets out of it, which we pan fried up with some seasoned breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper and created some delicious cat fish po’boys.

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Always a great experienced to catch, clean, and cook. We have finally figured out how to catfish in America!

Twilight Pond #3

Sadly, Dan and I are living apart for now due to work. So I decided to cast a line on my own for a while after work at Twilight Pond. I used a #14 size treble hook with a canadian nightcrawler and a slow pitch jig technique.

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Lo and behold I pull out this beauty. I didn’t have a scale on me, but she was about 18 inches long. Pretty happy about that! Fishing by myself isn’t the same experience and fishing with Dan and Brook, but it is meditative and relaxing. Sometimes you just need to sit back and unwind at the lake… and sometimes you get some pretty good pigs in the process! I also pulled in what looks to be three different types of sunfish:

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A shellcracker, a redbreast and a bluegill! Fun times, but I miss my crew. Fishing is special in that way… it’s not just about the sport, it’s not just about the catch, but it’s truly about the camaraderie and bonding you experience while doing it. So grateful to have discovered this passion with the love of my life… and many great adventures to come.

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Dick’s Creek

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In the past few days, Dan moved up to North Carolina with Brook, and I am still in Georgia. My friends and I decided to plan a camping/fishing trip for the gang and our resident North Georgia native chose the beautiful, mountainous region of Dahlonega. The campsite we picked was located in an area called Dick’s Creek. This was a stunning creek bed, tumbling over a few waterfalls and stretching as far as the eye could see. We drove about 3 hours to get there, and nestled into a site in the corner. The trout was stocked seasonally with both browns and rainbows. Since we had never trout fished before, my friend advised us on a few different types of bait to try: canned corn, and salmon eggs. Similar to when we’re freelining for bass, you want to use as small a hook as possible with little to no weight.

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Of course little Brooky had to come with us. That’s basically my negotiation piece for anyone that asks me to hang out… its either both of us or none of us! Anyways, we head down to the river, and Dan and I decide to throw a couple lines in right at the base of that magnificent waterfall picture above. Brook didn’t like when we got more than an arms reach away from here, so she was yipping a little bit… It didn’t take us too long to start bringing ’em in! I started up on a piece of corn and reeled in a really nice Brown trout.

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Dan caught a few shortly after. We were able to walk up and down the creek to try different spots, and kept all our catches on a trout line in the water so they would stay fresh for the open fire cookout to take place later.  Honestly, we would have stayed in the same spot, but as usual once folks caught onto that we were bringing em in, they all congregated to adjacent locations and casted directly in front of us. Being Georgia, these people also had on overalls without any shirts underneath, etc…

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Here’s a picture of one of the rainbows I caught as well. We ended up with a total of 5 trout. We and my friend (after he fell into the creek, gave up, and went out again) brought in 6. He taught as a very simple way to clean the trout. Just make a clean cut behind the gills, then slit the bottom from cut to anus. After that, simply pull out the guts, toss them away and squeeze out the blood pooling near the spine. The camping trip was a huge success, lots of games, drinking, cooking, and fun. We had burgers and buttered trout cooked open the fire. Truly a good ole fashioned American time. Brook was having a great time, too, running 100mph around our camp site.

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Really fun first time trout fishing. Sadly since then, a wildfire burned most of Dick’s Creek area down to the ground. I am happy we were able to experience it before that disaster.

Engineer Landing

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I had been to the Chattahoochee River before unsuccessfully a few times, but this time was after Dan and I had discovered our nearly fool proof slow pitch jigging technique. The area we decided to head to is called Engineer landing. There is basically a dirt path wide enough for a car that leads to a small landing on the river. The bank is pretty muddy, but wide enough you can fish in a couple different spots. The view here was stunning, as is most fishing locations. Sadly, though a lot of trash and crap was left behind and strewn about. Kind of a bummer especially when you want to let your dog run around, but there’s broken glass everywhere.  Last time I went, I wore sandals and seriously regretted it… after also being covered in mud and bitten all over by sand flies.

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The Chattahoochee is split pretty much in half between Georgia and Alabama. We were on the Georgia side. We set up a few catfish rigs, consisting of long spin reels leaning on rod stands. For bait, we had dough and liver. The river is supposed to be a prime spot for getting large blue and channel cats so we were excited to see what we could pull up. Surprisingly, the area was fairly packed with other anglers as well. We could even seen some Alabama anglers across the way.

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That was once my cap, but it is now Dan’s official fishing hat. Not the best rodholders, just some cheap ones from the post exchange. While waiting, we picked up a couple of regular spin reels and casted out to see what we could grab. The “Hooch” (as some of the locals call it… supposedly) is also home to a couple types of bass including LMB, Smallies and stripers. In fact, it’s even been known to have a pike or two. We tested this out and ended up bringing in a fish on a rooster tail!

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Yup, just a dumb sun fish. Albeit, this one was a Green sunfish and was particularly radiant. So from research we learned that catfish love cutbait. We cut this little fella up on the back of my hatch only to reveal he had FOUR WORMS in his belly, the glutton! What a greedy little guy! Dan also had no problem leaving fish guts all over the back of my car…

Well, we recasted out our cat lines with the new bait, and saved the rest of it for a later date. At some point, I went into the backseat of my car to rummage for something and what do I find!? The freaking TAIL of the sunfish. So I’m like, “Dan why did you put the tail in my car!?” since it’s going to stink it up, I’m kinda irked… But he denied all culpability. Meaning there was ONLY ONE PRIME SUSPECT…

20170311_133049Yup, little Brookster for some reason grabbed the tail off the ground and put it in my car, since I left the door open. What a dork!

Unfortunately, outside of the one sunfish, we turned up empty this time around. But we will certainly be back to conquer “The Hooch”! Gotta do more homework and really look into what the big cats want to eat.

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Man, I love this dog…

Twilight Pond (Again)

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Now this was a great day of fishing. A bit after our initial success at Twilight Pond, Dan, Brook and I decided to make our return. We used nightcrawlers again and a similar method to the first time– a sort of modified slow-pitch jigging. Almost off the bat we were getting bites left and right.  I was fighting a bass for a while, when I finally hooked him. I reeled him in in a frenzy and DISASTER STRUCK. The fish got away, and it felt like a big one, too. When I brought my line out, the hook was nowhere to be found. Was it big enough to have broken the line? Well, it happened AGAIN! And as it turned out, my knot was coming undone. Let me admit that I’d been really lazy with my spin reel knot tying because I never expected to get anything huge. Like I said before, my luck had been pretty poor in Georgia. So instead of a figure eight with a bight, I’d been doing like 5 square knots in a row. I know, I know… really idiotic. So I go over to fix this problem, and in the mean time Dan steps in my spot.

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And comes out with a HOG! We didn’t have a scale, but it was around 18 inches long, so assuming 3-4lb. A great catch! I have to say though I was a little butthurt that I moved away for a second and he snagged my nemesis. I definitely get a little competitive with catching! Anyways, we were fishing for food today, so we knocked this bad boy out and put him in the cooler. I retook my spot and got another bite.

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To my surprise I pulled out this flathead! Had no idea there were even catfish in this pond since it had recently been drained. Threw him in with the LMB to add some catfish nuggets to our future meal. Our luck kept going at this point.

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Pulled out 3 more pigs! Really great day of fishing since we were only there a few hours! Here’s one in comparison to Brooky:

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She always likes to give the fish a little sniff and a lick. Anyways, we threw a couple back and kept 3 largemouths and the flathead to go. Cleaned all four fish, and got some nice filets out of them. We seasoned with salt and pepper, washed with egg, and bathed in a combination of breadcrumbs, salt/pepper/garlic and other fry seasonings. We pan fried the bass in filets and the flathead in nuggets.

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Came out amazing. There’s always something extremely satisfying about catching, cleaning and cooking your own protein. Overall, a really successful day for fishing.

Twilight Pond

20170212_160951Since moving to Georgia from Korea (after a stop in CT), I had horrible fishing luck. I’d tried numerous spots around the area with absolutely no luck. I bought more and more American style lures and tackle and NOTHING seemed to grab me anything other than sunfish! My first experience at Twilight came after my sister visited me down here.

Pulledthis doofy little blue gill. Sure was a cute one! At least this pond was absolutely beautiful and with the Southern sun shining down, I couldn’t keep myself from coming here again.

Fast forward a few months (YES, MONTHS! MONTHS WITHOUT A CATCH I WENT! SOME ANGLER I AM!) and Dan finally arrived from Korea! When Brook saw him, it was an incredible reunion. I talk about Brook briefly in our about section, but I promise a future post on her entire situation. Let’s just say she was really happy to see him again. And the feeling was mutual!

20170220_094701Of course the first thing Dan and I did was have to go fishing together again. And this time with our little companion. I brought him to Twilight and mourned my inability to catch anything since before he came. He then showed me a secret technique he learned while in California from an old man who took him under his wing (yes, again). I’ll post on that later, as well. But anyways, I changed baits from soft plastics to live nightcrawlers, changed up my presentation technique.

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And finally after long last, I caught my first Georgian bass! A little guy, but still. That definitely started a roll and I was able to bring in one more juvenile LMB

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This was the first time Brook has seen a fish! She gave it a couple sniffs, and a lick. I was ecstatic. This beautiful but desolate fishing spot all of the sudden became teeming with life. Surprisingly, Dan’s luck rubbed off on me and he didn’t end up pulling anything but shellcrackers.

I couldn’t be more excited to get back here with Dan! Unfortunately, I have work a lot while Dan’s here so we’ll hit it again next time when we can. But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to fish with him again. The duo is back! This time with our little sidekick, reunited with us!

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Some News

Welp, Dan and I have since officially left Korea and are back in the US. A bittersweet transition. However,  in the interest of keeping this blog up and running,  I am in the process of revamping it to represent our American fishing adventures as well, and adding a section for our exploration of amateur bushcraft! Dan and i are by no means experts on anything, but we’re just two average joes out to learn some great skills and share how you can,  too.

However, though we logged many fishing places in Korea we truly only skimmed the surface and I want to begin accepting guest submissions and testimonials from those of you who have fished korea that way I can keep this a growing english language  resource for expats interested in Korean fishing. I will be adding a submission option,  or feel free to email me,  and i will add your submission.  Additionally,  ill add capabilities to pin a location on the map.  Looking for your experiences at fishing holes in Korea,  private or public,  including your catches,  the atmosphere,  the type of fishing and what amenities were available.  Thank you all in advance.

Hantan/Imjin River Junction

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At this point, Dan had ventured off on his own to trying a whole new type of carp fishing inspired by British anglers. He ditched the traditional cane poles for long, heavy-duty rods similar to those used in American cat fishing. The three rods were baited with boilles, and medium weights, tossed out into the river and subsequently placed into a rod holder. On each rod, Dan placed a little bell that rings when a fish snags the line — exactly like American cat fishing! He had a lot of success with this method! Here are a few highlights:

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Needless to say this technique was a lot more successful. When the fish sucks the bait into his mouth, the small hooks get set once he begins to swim away. The bail is set to a very low level of drag, so when the carp gets on there, the line whizzes, and you have to jump and set the drag in order to reel the fish in.

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A major benefit to fishing in the river as opposed to a private lake/pond is that you can go all day and night and it’s 100% free, as long as you have the right equipment. A downside is that it can be less of a guaranteed catch every time, since it can depend on things like the lunar cycle, tides, currant and weather a lot more than a small privately stocked pond. Also you will lose countless rigs to debris. But something is pretty satisfying about hauling out some fairly large wild fish.

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This picture made me laugh because butterfingers Dan very obviously dropped the fish in the sand and didn’t bother to clean him off before taking the selfie haha. Poor guy! The fish, I mean!

For the most part, we did catch-and-release from the river. Cool experience to use a new technique.

Wangpal’s Restaurant

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This was a really neat find in the Seogwangsa district of Jeju-do. It was a coffee shop/restaurant named after the dog Wangpal as pictured above. They also happened to rent out fishing poles to fish off the pier nearby! There were two other dogs as well, who were so cute.

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So we grabbed a couple poles and spent a few hours on the pier, admiring the view and casting out our lines. A few guys nearby caught a HUGE redfish looking fish! We weren’t having too much luck. We were again using little shrimps as bait.

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Eventually I pulled up a couple of adorable looking Stripeys that looked like they belonged in an aquarium!

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A beautiful and relaxing evening on the pier. I love Jeju!

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Chagui-do Bay Charter Fishing

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What an absolute privilege. Dan and I visited Jeju-do as I prepared to leave Korea. They call it Korea’s Hawaii and for good reason. Such a beautiful landscape. We spent time on the south and eastern areas of the Island for the most part and were determined to find somewhere to fish.

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We came into the Chaguido-bay area, which is an oceanfront village near the Island of Chaguido, off the coast of Jeju. They had a lot of charter boat companies, but through Dan’s selection, we went with Chagui-do Bay Charter Fishing. We loaded onto a fishing boat with two or three other groups, and were given little dead shrimps for bait. The boat took off and settle near Chagui Island. Really cool experience feeling the spray of the ocean, and the rocking of the boat. Outside of college rowing team, I really hadn’t had much experience with boats before.

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Not to mention the stunning view. The boat was big enough that every group had their own personal area off the side to fish in. The line had multiple hooks and a large sink weight. We attached the bait on and simply opened the bail to drop the line in. Almost immediately we would get tons of bites and reel up to find mackerel on the line.

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Dan did start to get a little seasick, as were a couple others in the group. I had no issue with it though. Rinse and repeat, we kept up the same fishing ritual. Of course we were given those little white gardening gloves that they give you for absolutely everything in Korea haha.

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Ended up with a whole bucket full between the two of us.

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When the boat docked, we carried our bucket to the charter company’s little restaurant in the village and gave our fish to the folks there. They actually took and cleaned/cooked the fish for you in minutes and served out your own catches in a variety of different styles. It was AWESOME!

20160920_173859This is raw mackerel sashimi style cuts with all the regular Korean sides.

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A version of Meontang with mackerel. Delicious. What a cool experience that I would absolutely recommend to anyone who travels to Jeju!