Wongdang Lake

Wongdang Lake is situated a three minute drive from Bonggam. We decided to go here since we had read some good things, and brought my sister and her friend visiting from the US along to show them a Korean fishing trip. This was a Sunday, so we were just here for the day. After stopping at the tackle shop (which was full of red peppers?) we situated ourselves on the opposite side of the lake of some cow pens, under a white awning. As usual, we began the ritual of feeding the surrounding area with fish feed by casting an recasting. Rachel and Claire used my pole, while I commandeered one of Dan’s. At one point a Korean elderly man made his way into our awning to dish out some advice. Rachel and Claire had trouble casting, and eventually gave up, so Dan and I took control of the rod again.

After a while, I finally snagged a decent sized leather carp who I fought for a while until he tired out. I was pretty happy, but it definitely made Dan competitive. Don’t ask why I decided to hold it like that, because I definitely got slime all over my shirt.

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At this point, Dan was more determined than ever. What ended up happening next made this possibly the most amusing fishing trip we’ve had yet. I asked Dan a question about the knot in my hook, and as he turned and spoke to me a fish snagged his line and yanked his pole right into the water. It was absolutely hilarious. We took to shore, chasing parallel to it because you could literally see the pole being dragged around by the fish. It swam toward the middle and we thought all hope was lost.

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To dan’s annoyance I was absolutely laughing hysterically. He cast his other pole and managed to lure the fish back toward shore with more bate (guess the guy didn’t learn?) where I scooped it up with our net. Thankfully, we got the pole back and in the mean time caught a stunningly beautiful grass carp. You can really see the relation to koi fish with this one.

Fished a while longer, and finally bagged them up and took our prizes back home. But not before Dan accidentally dropped a piece of his stand into the lake never to be seen again (somehow this was my fault, too LOL). Put these pretty fish in the bath tub where they lived 24 hours, before Dan accidentally cracked the gal, got bile everywhere and ruined the meat. Totally unfortunate ending and I absolutely hate to waste beautiful carp like this, but these things unfortunately happen! Next time we will simply have to be more careful.

Bongam Lake (Again!)

We decided to head back to Bongam for some fun on a Sunday. Both a fun aspect and a problematic aspect of this lake is it’s absolutely ridden with those tiny little fish. Your bobber is constantly shooting up and down with bites, but more often than not, it’s the little fish swarming your bait.

However, it was great practice in detecting the bite and the right time to yank the rod, as well as the proper wrist-flick to hook the fish.

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We caught well over a dozen little fish this day, but unfortunately no big bites, so it was a catch and release sort of day.

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However, I did come across this beautiful chub with its blue stripes out and shining for the mating season. I haven’t come up with a freshwater fish this pretty until today.

 A fun day overall with a lot of good technical practice.

Chilbongsan Pond

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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