[Weekender] Online comunities help Koreans go fishing

By Park Ju-young
  • Published : Jul 14, 2017 - 16:13
  • Updated : Jul 19, 2017 - 14:24

South Koreans have long enjoyed fishing as a hobby. But the public notion about the pastime is that it’s for the elderly or those who have a lot of free time.

Things are changing, though, as a growing number of online fishing communities are catering to Koreans in their 20s and 30s -- a group willing to go for a new hobby to relieve their stress. 

FMC members enjoy fishing at Gimpo fishery (Kang Pan-soo/FMC)

Lee Ji-ah is a case in point.

“I used to be easily swayed by unwanted thoughts before I started fishing,” the 36-year-old angler told The Korea Herald. “After I experienced a thrilling sense of catching a fish, I was completely captivated by the joy of the sport. The feeling is hard to describe unless you experience it.” 

The avid hobbyist regularly goes angling once or twice a week and she’s one of many young anglers who visit fishing ground to relieve stress.

Ahn Ki-man, 29, said, “When I go fishing, all I have to do is watch my fishing rod. I must concentrate all my nerves on it and carefully observe the slight movements of the float. If I take my eyes off the fishing rod for a second, the fish escapes. There’s no time to think of other problems.” 

FMC members enjoy fishing at Gimpo fishery (Kang Pan-soo/FMC)

“Fisherman’s Club,” an online community launched in 2013 to welcome young anglers, provides full assistance to help its members enjoy the leisure activity.

“Anyone in their 20s and 30s can join the club. It doesn’t matter how long a person has enjoyed fishing,” said Kang Pan-soo, the leader of FMC.

At the events held in every two months between March and November, the members share tips for fishing while they enjoy the pastime together at various fishing places.

Veteran members of the club even offer special lectures to beginners.

“It’s like a mentoring program. Nowadays, many young people come to know about the sport through YouTube videos and fishing channels such as FTV. The field is very different, however, from what they expected,” Kang said.

Lee Ji-ah, who joined the club in November last year, said Kang taught her basic skills of angling, ranging from casting a float to noticing the moment when a fish swallows the bait. 

FMC leader Kang Pan-soo teaches a new member how to make a float. (Park Ju-young/The Korea Herald)

Besides the one-on-one mentoring session, the veteran members voluntarily provide a free ride to fishing venues for those who do not have cars. Also, the club lends fishing rods and supplies to young members, who cannot afford fishing gear.

“Anglers nowadays tend to set up five to 10 fishing rods to show off their gear. The trend is especially prominent among elderly anglers. That’s why young anglers say they are not confident when they go fishing with them,” said Yang Byeong-hoon, a 39-year-old member of FMC.

“One of the purposes of the club is to make beginners feel familiar with the sport regardless of their equipment,” Yang said.

Before buying a new fishing rod, members can borrow the same model from others and spend enough time to test the gear. “Such sharing is not common in other clubs as anglers rarely lend out their favorite equipment,” FMC member Shin Hyeong-wook said.

In about three years since the launch, the club has drawn 1,250 members, many of them in their 20s and 30s.

“Fishing is all about waiting. The sport teaches me patience,” the club leader Kang said. “The secret of the club’s success is not to rush.”

By Park Ju-young (