Even on Coldest Days, Fish Will Bite for Those With a Lot of Patience

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Even on Coldest Days, Fish Will Bite for Those With a Lot of Patience

You may not like it when the mercury drops below freezing, but it is the harbinger of merry times for those hooked on ice fishing. Nothing makes them happier than looking into a hole cut into the ice and dreaming of the big catch - even if their fingers are blue and their noses are going numb.

To enjoy ice fishing, certain conditions should be met. The ice should be at least 10 centimeters thick, the daily temperature high should remain below minus 3 degrees centigrade for three days or more and there should be no strong wind. Unlike regular fishing, which requires delicate skills in handling the rod, ice fishing is relatively easy even for beginners. For ice fishing, all you need is patience.

Fishing tackle

People in Korea mostly use a gyeonji fishing rod for ice fishing. A gyeonji is a rod with a single reel made from bamboo. A regular rod measuring about two or two and a half kan (about 4 meters) is also good for ice fishing. A float with a thin, short saw is usually recommended, and you'll also need a landing net, a bag for storing bait, a chisel, a rod holder and warm clothes.

Cutting a hole in the ice

Don't cut a large hole or multiple holes to begin with. Use the span of your hand as a rough guide to the optimal size of the hole. Cut one or two holes, well spaced apart, to assess conditions underneath. Sooner or later you'll find your gold mine.


Worms are the best choice for ice fishing. During the winter, most fish try to conserve precious body fat and thus prefer animal fat to other kinds of food. This is particularly true of native wild fish in Korea - farmed or imported fish have learned to love fish meal.

Pick the spot

Selecting the right location in which to fish is crucial - the success of your catch depends on it. In early morning , before sunrise, try to find troughs in the water, as fish usually spend the night there because the water temperature remains relatively stable. When the sun comes up, however, fish move to shallow areas which warm easily. Around noon, look for fish in deep water. Even deep water warms up a little at this time of day, and fish often hide behind aqueous plants here. When the sun goes down, move back to spots near underwater troughs. Be patient, but don't be eternally optimistic; If there are no bites for over an hour, move to another spot. If they won't come to you, go to them!

Extra tips

Don't delay pulling up the rod until after the fish has swallowed the bait as it won't be hanging around - fish find teasing a bait too tiring in the winter. The moment the float wobbles, yank up that rod!

Fishing spots near Seoul are Bunoriji in Ganghwa-gun, Incheon (contact 25 Hours Fishing Store at 032-933-4798) and Bugokji in Gunpo-si, Kyonggi province (contact World Fishing at 031-454-3937). The information is available in Korean only.

by Hur Jin-seok

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