June 7, 2016

Fishing in the Yellow Sea

I just returned from a 10 day trip to Seoul, South Korea to visit my Brother for his wedding. A couple days before the wedding he took me and my dad out fishing in the Yellow Sea.

Even now, it's sort of surreal; if you had asked me a year ago, I would have never guessed that I would ever have the chance to go fishing on the Yellow Sea - It was a very cool experience.

The second day after arriving in South Korea, my body didn't have a clue what time it was. Which actually worked out great, because my Brother met my dad and I at the hotel at 3am for the 2 hour drive to the fishing village south of Seoul.

On the way, we stopped at a gas station for some 라면 (Korean Ramyeon) and some 김밥 (Kimbap).

Korean Ramyeon is pretty much the same as Ramen noodles, but spicier and usually dressed up with some fresh onion and some egg added in. From what I could tell it's sort of like Korea's fast food and it seems like you can order it at most gas stations there.

Kimbap is a seaweed and rice wrap usually with some meat, eggs, and vegetables. One of the guys from the fishing club was nice enough to have made some Kimbap for us to go along with our Ramyeon. I think Kimbap is the "goto" food for Koreans to take on picnics. It was good stuff.

The meal hit the spot for a 4am breakfast before a big day of fishing. About an hour later, we arrived at the fishing village.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of recreational boats in South Korea? Not sure if it's maybe because of strict rules from equivalent of Korean coast guard (or what?), but I didn't see a single privately owned boat the whole trip.

Seemed like the tides here are pretty extreme. When we got there, the parking lot was flooded by about 3 inches of water!

My brother is member of a fishing club that goes out about once a month. They have a nice space where they meet, and clean they're catch.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures - but I got a kick out of the way that they load and unload the boat. They just ram the boat into the dock bow first with the engine in gear and everyone (literally) climbs up over the bow and into the boat.

Our boat's name was "뽕까" ("ddong ggah"). I'm not exactly sure what it meant but I think it's got something to do with "Kicking the Sh*t" out of catching fish. And I have to say, we did just that!

I couldn't get over how calm it was. It was eerily calm all day. Not sure if that's normal for the Yellow Sea or not.

We fished all day long, from about 6am until about 4pm. We were always within sight of a few islands. The weather started out hazy and cool, but as the sun rose, it became less hazy with few blue patches in the sky and warmed up to t-shirt weather. I noticed the entire trip it seemed hazy around Seoul.

We fished for halibut and what they call rock fish. It was basically drift fishing, hanging a plastic bait right off the bottom.

The first 2-3 hours, the bite was on! Between my brother, my dad, and I, we probably caught 6 or 7 rock fish and my dad and brother both caught halibuts.

No halibut for me, though ... yet.

I was really impressed with the charter boat, captain and first mate. Really nice guys and they even prepared lunch as part of the charter price - more Ramyeon and Kimbab, which was a great break from fishing. They even served some watermelon for an afternoon snack.

From about 10am until 2pm, there wasn't much action ... and then, the bite was back on!

We caught a bunch more rockfish. And then around 3pm, we moved to a deeper area and I caught this monster!

Here are some of the other fish we caught.

The little kid in the next picture was tearing it up!

Here's one of my brother's friends from the Hyatt. The fish I caught was 79 cm. He caught the biggest fish of the day, measuring 80cm, beat me by just one cm!

I learned that they like to show the white side of the halibut because only wild halibut are completely white. Halibut raised in fish farms have brown spots. So, pure white under belly is how you know these are the real deal.

Back at the fishing club's store, they cleaned all the fish. We caught so much, we had to give half of it away because it wouldn't fit in the cooler. Even after giving half away, I think my brother will have fish for months!

Big thanks to the fishing club for the great day of fishing. It was definitely a fishing trip I'll never forget!

Here's the blog post from the fishing charter captain, if you're ever looking to go fishing in the Yellow Sea, the DDong GGa is definitely recommended.

Tags: travel family