Featured Post

Fishing for Hirasuzki (Blackfin Seabass) with the best fishing guide in Korea

Hirasuzuki fishing experience in Jeju

I've never thought I'd be fishing in Korea all my life. Seriously! So when the opportunity to do some fishing in Jeju popped up, I couldn't say no. It was a completely gut based decision based on the goal that was to eat the korean hirasuzuki also known as blackfin seabass. I heard that the fight of the fish wasn't that great but I was very curious about eating it! To make my fishing dream come true, I engaged Hyunwook, whom I think is the best fishing guide in Korea and didn't regret it one bit (read below). 

Family Fishing Holiday 
This trip to Jeju was meant as a family holiday so I only had a day or two to go fishing for the hirasuzuki. It also meant I had to go fishing at night which was perfect since Hyunwook, said night fishing for hirasuzuki is the norm and recommended. So it was family outings in the day for me and then over to night luring! Since it was a family holiday, I did not bring anything and all equipment was provided by Hyunwook. So yep, if you're a family guy and wondering if some fishing could be squeezed in when you are in Korea, it can be done for sure. A perfect arrangement if you're looking to tick off that bucket list fish but want to focus on your family. 

What the fishing in Jeju was like

Our dinner fish!

For Jeju, my family and I stayed at GoldOne Hotel & Suites, Seogwipo which is really awesome because of the view and modest cost. According to Hyunwook, it was also perfect because it was near many of the fishing spots we would be visiting.

So coming to the fishing, I will be honest. It was quite frankly speaking tough and fairly dangerous because we were doing rock fishing. But if you minimise the risks with a good fishing guide and equipment, it pretty much is ok. The fishing was also tough because the water was too calm and the fishes weren't in the mood. It was very technical fishing since you had to spot the shoreline drop-offs and look out for baitfish in the night. In fact, it's definitely more technical to what we do in Singapore since the technique here is very specific. Casting lures (small diving/sinking pencils, shore minnows etc) with long shorecasting rods was also something new for me so I enjoyed the experience quite a bit. Definitely more fun than blind casting rubber lures!

As for the fishing, I was brought down to earth three times at one of the spots were madai and kingfish were crashing into surface baitfish. Seeing giant madai boof baitfishes was something totally alien to me. The first hit I had while casting along the side of the drop-offs was a crazy huge ass take that took out line for almost 10 seconds. Hyunwook was cheering and feeling elated when I first hooked up but that soon turned to doubt and disbelief as the fish got off the hook. I couldn't do anything but load the rod though and the lure came back without one of its treble hooks. Busted! Apparently, we were using hirasuzki terminal which wasn't that heavy since they are pussies. Second fish was the same except it kept diving down. The fight resembled a madai snapper but it gave super strong dogged runs. Finally at the last leg when it took out line again, fish off! Again, the lure came back, this time two trebles were gone. Last fish was about the same as the second one but definitely not as big, again, it was the case of busted hooks as the split rings all opened. Man, talk about losing 3 fish in quick succession! I definitely enjoyed it though and even though we upgraded our terminals the next day, the fish never came back. That's fishing! Anyway, throughout the two days, I also learned that "light hits" or taps or in Koreangling language, 'short bite', are very common in hirasuzuki fishing.
Advice and tips for planning your fishing trip in Jeju Some tips if you are going to Jeju for fishing. Rest well! I think I made the mistake of not getting enough rest and it was telling as we casted non stop into the wee hours of the morning. Another tip is to plan for more nights since weather and fish bites can be a hit or miss. In fact, plan for some empty nights so you have flexibility. The fishing usually involves many fishing spots in the same night so you have to be fit to climb over the rocks and wade in the cold water. I seriously took a beating from the physical side of things. It's not like climbing the rocks at Pandan Reservoir, this was serious rock fishing. Other tips are more logical ones like getting the Papago app so you can communicate with the Koreans more effectively. If you're getting your own equipment, then you'll need a light weight lifevest or tactical test, waders, waterproof rock boots, headlights and so on. Check in with Hyunwook on what are the specifics.

Guide recommendation
Hyunwook is probably the best fishing guide in Korea and I say that without trying any other guides. It means much! He can speak English, is crazy about fishing, and tries his very best to achieve your dream fishing trip in Korea. I specifically told him I just wanted to eat new and special fish and although fishing was hard, he did all he could to secure the fish. He even mobilised his friends to get fresh fish for us (See madai snapper and amberjack below)! He is also knowledgeable about the local fishing spots in Jeju and knows the full suite of dispatching and preparing a fresh catch. He did an excellent job of performing ikejime, bleeding, gutting and cleaning the fish. When you see your guide scrape off blood clots from the stomach area, you know he knows what he is doing.

Oh yes, I also have to mention, Hyunwook even went fishing after dropping me off at my hotel at 5am. I think it's safe to say he is a fishing addict. When I asked him why, he said it was to ensure we have fish to eat! See?!

Crazy guy went fishing after dropping me off!

To engage Hyunwook (Duke), you can contact him at the below channels
Hyunwook's name card

Eating the fish
Eating the hirasuzuki (blackfin seabass) was a new experience for me. We ate it "Japanese" style - sushi and sashimi. I particularly liked the "back" meat because it was so soft. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't really taste like a seabass but is more towards the snapper but very lightly balanced and sweet. It was also very fatty (it made the rock pool oily when we were cleaning it) and doesn't taste fishy at all. Next time, I will try cooking it, maybe pan sear and fish soup.

Not forgetting we also had the Korea-caught kanpachi (amberjack) and tai (madai snapper). Delish!

Below TikTok video summarises our sashimi and sushi experience.
@baktao They say in Korea, you need to eat wild fish. That's what I did! Experience made possible by Duke, super fishing guide. #korea #jeju #koreafish #koreafishing #fishing #fishinglife #jejufish #jejufishing #fishingkorea #fishingkorea🇲🇨🇰🇷 #koreafishingguide #sgfishing #sgfishingcommunity #singaporefishing ♬ Pretty (Sped Up) - MEYY

Below Trip-run through with Hyunwook, my fishing guide in Korea, Jeju 

@baktao Trip run-through with Hyunwook in our quest for the blackfin seabass aka hirasuzuki! #korea #jeju #koreafish #koreafishing #fishing #fishinglife #jejufish #jejufishing #fishingkorea #fishingkorea🇲🇨🇰🇷 #koreafishingguide #sgfishing #sgfishingcommunity #singaporefishing #hirasuzuki #blackfinseabass #seabass ♬ Slow and comical BGM(1083863) - Blanket


Popular posts from this blog

Basic Introduction to Prawning: Simple Tips & Tricks

Singapore Fishing Paypond Locations (updated 21 June 2024)

New Prawning Pond in Singapore for 2024: Olden Days Prawning

What is the difference between the Kurau (Indian Threadfin) and Senangin (Blue Threadfin Salmon)?

Singapore Prawning Pond Locations (updated 5 February 2024)

New Fishing and Prawning Pond at SAF Yacht Club (SAFYC), Sembawang (Opened on 27 October 2023)

Marina South Singapore Fishing Spot (Eging and Shore Jigging Recce)