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In the midst of the crowded Streets of Seoul, I found solace in a fishing café

Posted by on October 16, 2019

Like all big cities, Seoul is blisteringly full of people, loud noises, and bright lights at night – maybe, more than most cities out there as there are just LOTS of humans since the city does not sleep and hums brightly and noisily all day and night. For the day walkers and night owls, this is a major city for everyone. Originally, it was a capital city with walls built by the Han River to protect the citizens and provide a trade route through the Han River, but Seoul has evolved over the years into a megapolis like Tokyo with a population in the millions to where walls are no longer there (except some of its gates as tourist destinations) as the city has overgrown its boundaries and beyond. The streets of Seoul to me always seem to be cranky and restless because of the sheer number of people and vehicles which has contributed to it overall of positives and negatives.

The positives: Lots of great places to go eat Korean food and if you’re into the nightlife and drinking – there are plenty of places to go for that.

bbq barbeque meat sheep restaurant kabob style meats 양고기

Here’s another one that people miss as they usually go kalbi, bulgogi, noodes, or something simple like that. This is sheep meat which is why you should go for something more… irregular! Sheep meat kabob! And the best part is that the meat moves back and forth as it spins so it cooks equally.

fugu blowfish sushi sashimi shabu soup korean fish dish rare expensive fishmeat

Know what this is? It’s Fugu! Yes, blowfish can be eaten in Korea! And no, I didn’t die from it so it’s safe to eat as long as you don’t eat any of the Fugu blood or eggs.

The negatives: Everything that comes with a lot of people such as overcrowded conditions, traffic, pollution, noise, etc.

Buddhist temple in Seoul 절 도시의 불교

As I’m at this Buddhist temple, I see nothing but lights pouring in from all sides of tall buildings. It’s one thing that you cannot get away from – lots of people and buildings while in the city of Seoul.

Never mind that the natives and tourists in this humongous city are rumbling around like ants and generating so much noise pollution like a sticky mach truck going full speed through a very dusty road. That’s why I looked for places to find some peace and quiet in this massive city. And the one activity where I might some solace through fishing. And yes, there are places in South Korea which allow people who have never fished a chance to catch a fish.

First, I headed down to Incheon, a major port city, which is also where the major airport is located at (Seoul-Incheon International Airport). There are a lot of boats that go out fishing but the major problem is that the weekends (and holidays) are overcrowded and completely booked up.

There is a website where you can look around in (http://woorinaksi.com/rb/), but the website is entirely in Korean as I’ve found out that Korea overall is not the most foreign-friendly place. So trying to get a spot on a fishing boat is not exactly the easiest thing to do. You can walk around the area to see if there are any walk-in availabilities but as I’ve stated before, the general off-days will not be productive. My friend and I did find a 1 hour fishing course but we would have to go on a 3 hour cruise to Palmido Island where it would be a 1 hour boat ride, 1 hour spent at the island, and a 1 hour boat ride back. It wasn’t that expensive but in order to get some fishing in, so we went ahead with it. I didn’t see any website associated with this place as you have to walk in, register, and pay for the scheduled cruise.

Once we arrived at the island, everyone else got off the boat to go exploring but my friend and I stayed behind as it was FISH ON time! At first, we had to get used to the gear and location but within 30 minutes, I’d already learned the best, most efficient way to catch fish as my friend caught one Reef fish and I ended up with 7 small fish (3 Goby-looking fish, 3 Rockfish, 1 eel) in the 1 hour allotted. The crew onboard the cruise ship was amazed at my ability to catch fish as they were not used to having such an experienced fisherman there.

Casting out into Palmido waters for fish

I cast out and see what I could get…. I wasn’t a fan of the right-hand reel retrieve on this spinning reel rod.

fishing 인천 낚시 바다 incheon rockfish eel fishes find the fish catching searching

A double hookup which surprised a lot of the crew because they weren’t usually to seeing people actually catching fish. But I know better…. and once I spent about 40-45 minutes figuring it out, that’s when the fish started biting en-masse.

But the problem was the time – it was too short, I’m sure that I could have caught a LOT more. And I would have caught more quality fish if I were on an actual fishing boat. However, not all is lost as there is a PLAN B: A Fishing Cafe where you can catch Carp!

I’ve already caught Carp before in the UK and in the Czech Republic, but if you’re in a big metropolitan city that is swarming with people on almost street then this can be a relief. You might not even think about it at all but blending in with all the stores, restaurants, apartment buildings, and offices – there is an indoor fishing pool!

There are several fishing cafes in and around Seoul (as well as other major cities in Korea) and basically all the fish in their indoor pools are Carp. The fishing is not quite to what I’m used to such as I generally use a fly rod for Carp OR I’m setting out some smelly baits and waiting for them to take my hook on a regular fishing rod. Instead, the rod and bait that they give you is quite different as it reminds me of hooking piranha at a certain angle in order to hook them. So basically the bait sucks and you’re fishing tenkara-style with no reel and just a rod with a line on the end of it.

cafe fishing indoors Carp carps fish specialized crowds of people Korean men women something different loud screaming of a catch slimy indoor SE Asia Korea Seoul daylife tourism nature city block

So that’s what it looks like inside a fishing cafe…. a dark place with lights to either help you or slow you from fishing better.

putting on bait for carp 미끼를 입고

Putting the bait on is a real hassle to put on the hook but it’s part of the game.

quiet silence in loud city megapolis metropolis capital of Corea del Sur Hauptstadt Grose Stadt ciudad muy grande pescar angeln divertido super fun non-alcoholic interesting fishing trendy

You have to net your own fish but it’s pretty easy. One time I almost lost a fish but the net saved me.

Cyprinidae carpio cypriniformes going my own way singlelife childfree no kids single dude happy in crazy world life too fast traffic of peeps feel mentally free healthy in wild quick environment the road to peace

This was probably one of the biggest fish that I caught. The biggest fish that you can catch is about 2 kilograms (about 4-5 pounds max) with Grass Carp, Mirror Carp, and even Koi as possible fish species that you can catch.

Once you hook a fish, you net it and walk over to the scoring machine where you scan your bracelet (which they give you) to register and score that fish that you caught. You can keep fishing which they charge by the hour and once you are done fishing, they tally up your bill and final score. Whatever your score is, they might give you a prize for a job well done. Of course, you need to catch a lot and the bigger ones give you more points which will help you get a better prize so it’s up to you to get ’em!

fishing cafe scoring score machine carp fishes

I actually threw my first fish back into the water until I was told that you have to put the fish through the score machine. I had a feeling that I caught some of the same fish over and over again.

prizes gifts gallery fishing cafe carp

You get prizes for catching fish and you get better ones if catch more and bigger fish. All based on points!

Tip: Cost of an hour being in a fishing cafe is roughly about 9,000-11,000 won (US$10 or €9) per hour depending on which cafe that you go to so it’s best is to give it a go for about 2-3 hours to learn the basics because one hour is too short. The first time I went to a fishing cafe, I landed 32 Carp in 2 hours! But of course, I’ve been fishing for awhile so your experience may vary as the owner told me that generally most people don’t really catch that much even if they are experienced fishermen… so that should tell you something. Gotta have skill but I also think it’s more of having a fast lift and hookup like setting it up with a fly on a fly rod.

Tip: Fishing cafes, like regular fishing trips, are crowded on the weekends so take note if you decide to go to one. Also, in most internet search engines, fishing cafe doesn’t come up so make sure you input the Korean word for fishing café (낚시 카페) which will then pop up more search options.