Dealing with Seals stealing your fish

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by the butcher, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. the butcher

    the butcher Well-Known Member

    I must have been fortunate last september since I did not get sealed once.... But then again I was usually fishing in the deeper waters... This year I've spent more time in the sub 200 ft contour. Have hooked up a few nice fish but have lost a fish on each of my last 3 outtings to Sandheads... It's like they take sentry duty a various "stations" along the shallows waiting for a sucker like myself.... Today was the 3rd time in a row where I've been out and a seal has stolen my prize.... and all the fish are nice fat nooks... They seem to leave alone the jacks and smaller fish.. when the damn seal took my fish today, I was determined to go after it. Chased it down for almost 30 mins and wasnt' getting anywhere... He kept on diving under and spooled line and I'd have to chase him again. The thought of cutting my line early in the battle was there but there comes a time when a man can only be pick pocketed by a seal so many times until he says enough is enough. Eventually he pulled away and had my main line wrapped around my other rods which were still in the rod holder on the opposite side of the stern and I had enough and cut my line.

    How long will you guys fight a seal for before you give up? Already hard enough pulling in a 20 lb fish but add another 100 pound seal ontop of that and what's a man supposed to do? Wish we could use non lethal means to get them the hell away from our fish..

    anyone have consistent success getting your fish back or is it a lost battle?
  2. RiverBoy

    RiverBoy Well-Known Member

    ive never been sealed but from what i gather you just try and stay on top of it, negating it’s opportunity to come up for air. eventually it will have no choice but to let go of your fish to come up for air. easier said than done i’m sure.
    Dave H likes this.
  3. the butcher

    the butcher Well-Known Member

    If he can dive down with your fish can't he surface with it to breathe? Why does he need to let go to surfsce? Just trying to understand these critters. If you do get your fish back, is the fish usually mangled and ripped apart?
  4. prodjsaig

    prodjsaig Active Member

    I believe I got sealed a few weeks ago. Hooks up and is running nicely then gone. No reason for it everything held up the line drag set ok. Had to of been a seal.
  5. el.Pereh

    el.Pereh Well-Known Member

    Pull your gear and stay on top of them. Assess if you have a chance (gear not caught on seal). Main engine on. Keep them under the boat. Is the bite on right now? If yes, might not be worth your time. I’ve got it back relatively undamaged twice and been defeated more than I care to remember

    Once it let’s go, reel like hell!
  6. scott craven

    scott craven Well-Known Member

    My experience is that you seldom win if the seal really wants the fish.
    I have chased them down, and fought them but they usually bite the
    body off and you end up with a head or gill plate.
    Or... you break off and lose your flasher,lure and a bunch of line.
    Now I'll simply feed it line until he chews the fish off, get my gear back
    and continue fishing.
  7. acrowe

    acrowe New Member

    I lost one quite a while ago, about to net it, seal comes out from under the boat, grabs it and takes off, reel runs till eventually I reel in a head. This summer i had a sea lion go for a hatchery coho. It was on the surface and I saw the sea lion grab it but I guess I got lucky and pulled it away. The sea lion kept coming several more times, each time I pulled this fish hard (5lbs or so) and kept it away. The sea lion didn't give up, it was ready to do battle with me beside the boat when I was going to net it. I whacked it on the head about 3 times quickly with my rod (probably only annoying it) and hauled the fish into the boat. I noted it was a hatchery fish and kept it. It had a tooth mark on each side just above the tail. We ate it, the sea lion went hungry that time.
    prodjsaig and Dogbreath like this.
  8. Redfisher

    Redfisher Well-Known Member

    I win seal fights about half the time. Get on top of them as they have to come up and breathe. Keep pressure on rod so they cant reposition or chew on fish. Be ready to wind in and net hot if they let go.

    To do this ...all gear has to be out of water and you really need 1 guy running the boat and 1 guy on the rod. They tend to want to take you to the beach or into kelp or under log booms so try to keep inside of the bad spots they want to go to.
    CRGreg likes this.
  9. chromatose007

    chromatose007 Active Member

    Glass spheres at high speed are a good deterrent, I have found over the years...
    pennel and Aces like this.
  10. Slabbedout

    Slabbedout Active Member

    Just try and get the fish in to the boat ASAP if you know seals are after it. My thought is it’s worth rushing trying to boat it if it’s at risk.

    if it’s a sizable fish this makes things challenging but just try and not let the seal up for air. Keep the boat on top of seal and eventually they let go or break loose.

    I find I am pretty successful in getting my gear back but fish are not always salvageable.
  11. profisher

    profisher Well-Known Member

    I have won a few with seals but lost more...including finding out a year latrr that the reason my gearcase on my Yamaha was growly was because I had chunked a gear going into reverse with too many revs. Right away it came to me that the only time that could happen was trying to stay on top of a seal with my fish. Now I just clamp down on the reel and hope for the best and get it over with and get back to fishing while the bite is on and while the seal is busy chowing down.
    SpringFever552 likes this.
  12. Bugs

    Bugs Active Member

    Whenever I have had an 'opportunistic' sealing by a seal away from a busy fishing area I have gotten the fish back (4 times I think). Otherwise I think you are screwed, I only have one memorable victory. My theory is that the seals learn not just how to steal fish but how to do it well... for example slack-lining you when you chase them so they can come up somewhere you are not expecting, chewing off the jaw or nose with the hook in it, etc.
  13. big rock

    big rock Active Member

    If you are fishing a seal zone. Try to stay seated keep the net down while fighting the fish. The seals watch the boats for commotion and go down. As mentioned above If you do get sealed you have to stay on top of them hard don’t let up for air otherwise your in for another 5-7 min battle. I’ve had situations where the 2 seals tag team and it was game over no chance, also if your fishing kelp beds try to get between the seal and the bed right away to spook them out. If they get in the kelp bed it’s game over.
    CRGreg likes this.
  14. the butcher

    the butcher Well-Known Member

    I used to think the youtube videos where the seals jump onto the boat or swim platform to get out of the way of orcas were cute... we'll unfortunately, I've removed my welcome mat from my boat for Mr. Seal.
    sames14 likes this.
  15. Tips Up

    Tips Up Well-Known Member

    You're The Butcher. You know what to do ; )
    scar tissue likes this.
  16. JohnnyRingo

    JohnnyRingo New Member

    Down here in south Puget Sound, our seals home in on the sound of the reel clicker!!! So we turn that off
    to gain a slight advantage, but if the fish is jumping and thrashing around on the surface, seals
    and sea lions are on the way. Horse them in and net them hot, if possible.
  17. Baxter

    Baxter Member

    Was out fishing with my dad, uncle, and a guide about 12+ years ago out of Campbell River. Thought we had a big one, but quickly learned it was a seal. He popped up behind the boat with the flasher hanging out of his mouth.

    The Guide went into the cuddy and came out with a rifle. "Mind if I shoot that F'er?" We were like, "um... ah... okay??" Before he could get off a shot, the seal dove and broke the line. Guide was pissed.

    Didn't bother me, but also was not my gear!

    I am glad he didn't shoot it, but on that same note, kind of wanted him to also. Pretty torn with where I stand on the Seal issue.
  18. acrowe

    acrowe New Member

    I thought it was amazing how far this topic went before it turned to killing seals. I don't want to argue the population vs carrying capacity of the environment etc. but I think its worth noting that those of us with at least tens of thousands of dollars in boats, gear, tow vehicles etc. can afford to buy supper if we lose a fish, for the seals its a bit more serious.
  19. RiverBoy

    RiverBoy Well-Known Member

    This behaviour is learned. this is no different than bears at the dump or seagulls congregating around McDonalds.
    But what really bothers me is the predation on salmon smolts before they even get a chance to get big. friend of mine is a tug boat skipper and he hauls log booms up and down the coast. he sez he basically ferries seals up and down the coast on his booms and they hop off at the river mouths to gorge on smolts and then they hop back on the boom to be ferried to the next river. there are simply too many pinnipeds around.
    trophywife likes this.
  20. Foxsea

    Foxsea Well-Known Member

    We need a lot more hungry, transient killer whales. I saw them once down at Race Rocks, pulling seals into the water. What an awesome, bloody sight that was!
    trophywife likes this.

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