Back to the salt

Willie Bodger

Still, nothing clever to say...
Decided I needed to work on my casting so I went to a local beach at low tide to work on my casting technique (really, can't call it that, but wasn't sure what else to call it besides flailing). Anyway, at low tide I waded out about 150' just because I could and it was still only about 3' deep. From there I walked along the shoreline looking for baitfish etc. just trying to gain some insight as to what the water out there is like. I saw one baitfish about 3" long, not sure if it was a candlefish or a sand lance. Seemed to be more of a muddy olive on the top. I also saw one dead perch(?) perhaps, really wish I hadn't forgotten my camera, 3 sunstars and a crab about 5" across.

Then I got to the spot I wanted to fish and fished it for about 2 hours with nary a fish in sight. Only things I saw were birds and seals. So, that brings up a question... Does the presence of a seal generally denote the fishing is going to be bad because he has scared them all away? I had been fishing there for a while before he showed up and at first I was kind fo excited because I thought he may have followed some fish there, but no.

It was a lovely afternoon to be out on the sound and it was intriguing to be out wading so far, but this fishless funk I'm in has got to end soon, I can't stand it much longer.

Well, I guess there's always tomorrow...


Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
I'm looking forward to a knowledgeable answer about the seals, too. I never fished salt water until winter 2003 (I was an inlander until then) and when I first saw seals hanging around, after getting over the surprise and feeling just a little nervous about their presence, I figured it was a good sign, but never saw any change in activity one way or another that I could tie to them.

About six or eight weeks ago I was doing some scouting nearby and struck up a conversation with a local who told me that seals will sometimes hang around when they see a fisherman because they associate fishermen with fish being released - fish who may be tired and disoriented, and therefore an easy meal.

Since I haven't caught a fish when there were seals nearby, I can't confirm that theory either, but it does seem plausible. It sure would freak me out to have a seal roll nearby, having just snatched a fish I'd turned loose :eek:

Hope we'll hear some good answers to this one. :confused:
Not at all from a scientific standpoint, but rather, from an observatory standpoint, I've never had a problem with seals or sea lions. I've caught fish with both of them present. And while I do look for birds as to where the fish may be, I rely less on the mammals, as seals and sea lions eat crabs, mussels/clams, urchins, ocotpus and all kinds of other stuff, so they may be present and feeding, without a fish in sight. I do steer clear of sea lions though, as I've been charged by one in the water. Scared the hell out of me. They'll come out of nowhere and be right in front of you before you know it.

Just my thoughts.

Take care all,
On Hamersley when I troll a fly (just rowing along) I always know if I'm attracting fish because the "water puppies" will pace me, and occasionally I will see one jetting around near my fly :( oh well, I realize I am contributing to the great circle. That's when I real-up and wait until I get to a back eddy and cast. When I stop and cast to specific fish the seals don't usually come too close, and I've never had a seal grab a fish from me while fly fishing (yet). I think the seals get a real kick out of it when I take my dalmatian with me in the boat. I assume the seals think it's a cruel trick to paint a dog like an orca.
When I lived in Monterey, CA I saw fishermen come up with nothing real fast after a seal chomped it down. Dinner on a string is easier to catch. That being said there were at least a few 1000 sea lions and seals in the area.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Many Salmon Fishermen are very familiar with the seal experience. There is something memorable about reeling in an freshly abbreviated King Salmon, or trying to wrest a fish out of a seal's mouth as you desperately wind your little crank, and you usually watch helplessly as all of your line and backing follow the seal, your fish in his mouth, as he sounds to the depths.

I have seen seals on many outings. Maybe it is because we both know when the fish will be around, maybe they get used to stealing fish from fishermen, or a little of both.

One day two years ago I watched a seal "herd and drive" a few cutthroat directly into a beach, high and dry, and then snacked happily on one of the cutthroat! :rofl:

And I recently saw a pod of whales chasing and eating some seals, with about the same gusto that the seals ate the cutthroats. :thumb:

I guess seals, and whales, have to eat too. :cool:


We work to become, not to acquire.
You just made me think of when I was stationed with the USCG in Seward, AK. We would do IFQ boardings for NMFS. When onboard some longliners they would bring in halibut that were half munched on. The killer whales had some easy meals.
I managed to hook a young seal a few years ago off Pt No Pt. My observations are if the seals are in close to you - i.e. you can see him/her underwater, then the salmon can as well and will stay away.

Last fall had 3 seals chase a massive herring school up onto the beach - so many herring that is sounded like a train coming at us - a truly amazing experience. My kids then spent the next 5 minutes saving herring by tossing hundreds back in the water.

I too once hooked a young seal while fishing for coastal cutts. I had to keep steady gentle pressure in order to get the hook to straighten and pull out. Didn't fight much, just came in like a pup on a leash. If this ever happens to you, remember to not touch the seal, as the mother will probably abandon it.