One thing I noticed about the jungle, and about several areas actually, is that Manamon appear in certain parts of it. I mean in some cases it's obvious, Reef and Fyngon only appear in water for instance, but especially in the jungle, at the beginning it was a lot of Pythor and Trumar, the watery parts had Torto and Friggle, and I ran into quite a few hydrake and Evillion in some sections deeper in. You can probably differentiate based on the sound of the footsteps, but once I found one Hydrake, staying in that particular spot allowed me to find another quite quickly. Of course, that could just be luck too, but yeah.
As for the gold rewards, I can think of a couple of things.
1. One of you probably had a golden medal on one of your mons, the other may not have.
2. The shadow children fights that scale probably also have scaling gold rewards. I know Pokémon's money rewards were autocalculated based on the type of trainer and their highest level, and I doubt Aaron would have gone through the trouble of manually setting every single tamer's gold reward, so he probably took a similar approach.
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