한국 (South Korea)

Winter in South Korea: Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival (얼음나라 화천산천어축제)


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Ice fishing was one of the winter activities I’d been wanting to try since 2016, and I finally found the opportunity to do so this year. X and I booked a day tour for Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival 2019 since it was 50% off and it’d make our day a lot easier with less planning to do.

This was not the first time I’ve fished but while fishing, I had so many thoughts run through my mind, I was amazed by this activity. Some say “patience is key”, some say it’s about the skills, and then there are those who believe in luck. What do you believe in?

I believe no one factor works alone.

You step on the slippery ice and pick a hole. Then you start fishing. You can be full of expectations, or have none. But none of that matters anymore when you have freezing feet while on the ice, and then you start seeing others who’ve caught a fish getting all elated. Some might have gotten there much earlier than you did, some at the same time, and then some later than you.

You start feeling envy. Then you wonder when it’ll be your turn. Or maybe you start anticipating it because after all, someone just caught a fish right beside you, right? It’ll be your turn soon. You see a fish come near your bait but turns its head away shortly.

Half an hour later, the same person on your left catches another fish. Someone on your right has caught one too. It seems like everyone else but you have caught something.

You start observing what they are doing, and you refine your technique. Nothing happens for the next one and a half hour, although you don’t feel like that much time has passed. In the same amount of time that you have caught nothing, the person on your left has caught three from the same hole, and one from another hole.

You’d wondered if you should move to another hole in case there were more fishes there, but all those thoughts now seem meaningless, because obviously it’s not about where you are. It’s not about the patience and hard work either, because you clearly waited patiently, doing what you were taught to do. There’s no such thing as talent in fishing. Or is there?

Is it all about luck then? Perhaps.

But if you never put in the effort to be there, to pick a hole, to put the bait into the water and then the hard work in waiting patiently for the fish to be caught, it’ll never happen.

And then when you finally catch a fish, all the time spent waiting patiently and having random thoughts run through your mind suddenly become worth it again.

Is it really worth your time? If that’s what you want, yes. If it isn’t, your time would have been better spent elsewhere.

P.s: If ice fishing isn’t for you, ice sledding, ice skating and snow tubing activities are available here too. There’s also an indoor ice plaza with large ice sculptures of Gwanghwamun, and it is a 15-minute walk away from the main activity area.