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Thread: Tee Harbor Sea Lion attack

  1. #1
    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default Tee Harbor Sea Lion attack

    I just got back from Tee Harbor today, and after a few hours fishing in the same general area my buddy decided to take a break. He was messing with his pole near the edge of the boat, and a Sea Lion came out of the water right at his face. He jumped back, and was scared straight. It seemed to come from straight under the boat like an ambush or something. We laughed it off, and thought it was kinda strange but we continued fishing. About 5 minutes later my buddy was standing up toward the other side of the boat, and this time the Sea Lion again with no warning just shot straight up out of the water all the way past his front flippers leaned his head over the side of the boat with his mouth wide open then snapped his jaws together just inches away from my buddys arm. It happened in just a split second but I remember clearly seeing his front canines just before he snapped. My buddy was scared for sure now, and he told me to "get us out of here now!" as I was driving. We sped out quickly but it kinda ruined the day cus we were scared to even look over the side of the boat or rinse our hands or anything.

    Someone tell me why that thing was acting like that, and why was it only after my buddy? My thoughts at this point are either it is used to being fed from boats, and smelled the herring or it's territorial, and just wanted us gone. Any thoughts? I really want to avoid that situation in the future.

  2. #2
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Sounds like the one that jumped up on the dock and bit the kid in the butt a few weeks ago in Petersburg...
    Aggressive suckers, aren't they?

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Seal Lion 4 The Return!

    This time, it's personal!

    umm, dunno, but sounds like your buddie got away lucky...

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogoalie View Post
    This time, it's personal!

    umm, dunno, but sounds like your buddie got away lucky...
    That, and I got chased off a dock by one in Monterey last fall... Scared the pee out of my wife... literally!

    With all the damage they do to the efforts to re-build salmon fisheries in WA and OR, I'd think the attempts to classify them a "nuisance" specie would be greater. Maybe the board of Game here in AK could request a LIMITED exemption to the MMPA and issue a lottery or draw permit to harvest a few... I'd be one of the first in line for some oil and a pelt!

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Sea lion should be shot!

    In this case is it against the law to shoot this Sea lion??? If it is then why? In any other case in alaska if your life is in danger you can kill the animal. Well just my thought on this. I know you wouldn't get a shot off even if it happend a third time. Still it would be good to know if it happend/ happens to anyine else. Hey mabey JMH who wanted to hunt a porpise could hunt sea lions also. Haha just kidding. I used to
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    I think you might have a conditioned sea lion on your hands. They have bitten fishermen before, but I don't know of any fatalities. It would be really hard to claim DLP unless it had a hold of your buddy, and you shot it in the act.

    I fish Tee quite a bit, and I do not see enough sea lion activity in there to consider any of them as having a "territory." Though, I do remember a trip out to Benjamin Island where I was astraddle the bow and several sea lions came up under my feet with their mouths open too close to my feet to make me stay their long.

    Tell your buddy to wash his clothes in orca urine. Then he should be able to fish anywhere unopposed.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Forgot to ask..... Did you guys catch any fish?

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    SoggyMountain:

    Someone has to ask, are you volunteering to get the urine?

    kingfisherktn

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    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default no

    Nothing worth mentioning. I cant get that crazy Sea Lion out of my head though. It was like he was sneaking up on us, and ambushing us. My buddy will probly have nightmares.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Kingfisher, I took an oath years ago to avoid contact with the urinary organs of salt water mammals. Otherwise, I'd be glad to help.

    Lung, nightmares are good. If this creates an opening on your boat, just email me. My life is a nightmare! I'm much more worried about not fishing than I am about being sea lion bait.

  11. #11
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoggyMountain View Post
    I think you might have a conditioned sea lion on your hands. They have bitten fishermen before, but I don't know of any fatalities. It would be really hard to claim DLP unless it had a hold of your buddy, and you shot it in the act.

    I fish Tee quite a bit, and I do not see enough sea lion activity in there to consider any of them as having a "territory." Though, I do remember a trip out to Benjamin Island where I was astraddle the bow and several sea lions came up under my feet with their mouths open too close to my feet to make me stay their long.

    Tell your buddy to wash his clothes in orca urine. Then he should be able to fish anywhere unopposed.
    Benjamin is a "haul out" and is designated for no approach within 1000 yards. There are 3 or 4 animals that are known for their territory around the buoy and south Point of Tee. I'd be surprised if it were a problem a few weeks from now when there's plenty of fish for everyone. Things are still thin now, so you'll get aggressive sea lions and eagles that you can call with a whistle. Not so once the fish arrive in bigger numbers.

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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  12. #12
    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default Can Can

    Ive been told kings are about done there in Tee. Fish in bigger numbers? Are you talking other salmon? Silvers?

  13. #13
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Yeah, the REAL fishing season... you know, when there isn't a golf ball in every tree looking for a meal. The time of year when the bears aren't so darn grumpy.

    I've already caught my first chum for the season, so I know they're on the way. Pinks and cohos to follow shortly...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Default Aggressive Sealions

    I was raised at the Marina in south Tee Harbor and have fished it for Kings every Spring (With the exception of the 16 yrs I lived over in Sitka). From the time I was out there as a kid in a row boat I personally never had any trouble with them directly until the last couple of years.

    Right now there are a large number of sealion working the Breadline and points south. There are a lot of them around in all areas being fished, including plenty over by Cordwood Creek yesterday. No shortage of killer whales around, too - but the latter don't seem to be thinning the sealion population any from what I can see.

    Last year I had a sealion come right out of the water, onto the swim step and look down into our boat while we were anchored fishing for halibut north of Aaron Island. I had just tossed a large sculpin back into the water that I had trouble getting the hook out of and she apparently ate it and wanted MORE! My partner Patrick got some great close ups of her, but when she pulled the swimstep stunt we were ready to jerk the anchor and leave.

    The year before last I had one come up right into my face when I was washing off my hands over the side of the boat while anchored at the south end of Lincoln Island. Scared the crap out of me because I only saw it coming up through the water out of the corner of my eye and I fell back across the engine cover as a reaction. Patrick saw the whole thing and said it was just inches from me and reared up halfway out of the water. This one had a transponder glued to the top of her head (as part of the sealion study being done on the population in northern SE). After that experience, I have a pretty good idea of how your fishing partner felt, LungShot.

    I don't have any sort of scientific explanation for this behavior, but when I am fishing halibut spots and catching scrap fish and tossing them back, or replacing big wads of assorted guts and fish chunks for bait on large circle hooks - I have seen sealion in the general area and suspect that they are opportunistically cleaning up these "scraps". I am constantly changing my baits while trolling for Kings so it makes sense that even single herring might be attracting those animals used to following boats around. It seems to me like juvenile bulls are usually the more aggressive ones.

    FYI - It has been rumored that at least one of the whale-watch operations was feeding sealions up near Poundstone Rock buoy last season so there would be something to show their clients when they ran up that direction. If this is true - there may be a lot of animals that identify boats with easy "hand-outs". I guess this means we have to keep our eyes open and be more careful when washing the herring blood, scales and slime off our hands from now on.

  15. #15
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Cancan,

    When we went to Benjamin I doubt it had those restrictions.... and, if it did, I'm sure we were about 1,000 yards from the beach.

    For the record, I think the "haul outs" were established to keep paying tourists off of the resource just like the buffer zone on whales. But, for those of us who are out there just living and breathing, there is certainly some exception in the mind of most Alaskans. There is a world of difference between chasing/harrassing than there is from fishing/hunting.

    When I rescued an eagle off of Salisbury, my hunting partner opposed me. He cited laws about encroachment, of the protected status, and etc..... but, in the end, we saved his life.

    Haul outs, nests, dens, and estuaries are all around us. Allen Marine keeping their distance vs. me keeping my distance are two completely different things in my opinion.

    Lung, I had 4 fish on at Tee on 6/1 and was there by myself. I'm not sure what the "real fishing" season is. I'm not a commercial operator, just a guy that likes to fish and catch fish.

    I'll take a picture of the one (or more) I catch in the next few days from the beach out there I hope.

    Personally, based on previous experiences I do not think the season done there.... I think it is late. I have three kings when I should have 6 or 7 to my name.

  16. #16

    Default Lungshot

    Shoot I'd be counting my lucky stars if I were your partner. He could have just as easily been going pee off the side of the boat when that happened!

    Sounds scary, I'd be carrying a gaff hook any time I got near the edge of the boat there, ready to whack him in the ear if he tries it again. MMPA or not, after what happened in Petersburg and to you today, that could be considered a boarderline DLP.

  17. #17
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    It's not just Petersburg and Juneau. It has also been recorded in Seward and Kodiak in my memory. These are bites, or chomps. In every situation that I know of, the sea lions have been very habituated to people, and, to the food they generate. Then, they push their luck.

    The guy in Kodiak got bit on the butt while he was on the dock. He went to look for his gun when his buddy talked him out of it. I'm not sure if it is like that now, but that year, the Kodiak dock WAS a "haul out." Or, as someone said earlier, a hand-out.

    It was easy to find food, no predation, and a place to bask.

  18. #18
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    Wink Some years ago...

    ...a fisherman in Kodiak boat harbor got pulled over from the side of his boat. People had been feeding the sealions in the harbor, and the beasts were conditioned to "come and get it". Anyway, the guy was grabbed by his butt from the gunwale of the boat where he was sitting, and pulled down into the depths. The only thing that saved him was that he was wearing loose fitting rain bibs which he was able to wiggle out of.

    Homer had a sealion that lived on the transient dock one spring. Everyone had to give him a wide birth, which made boating a bit difficult for a while.

    Porpoises are cute, whales are majestic, sealions... in the words of Homerdave's client: "what are they good for?". (No I don't really mean it, so don't respond with nasties).

  19. #19
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    A deckhand got pulled of a boat at the Trident Dock in King Cove a couple of years back as well. His dad was the skipper..Scared em both crap-less.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  20. #20
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    P.S. Certain pods of orcas feed almost exculsively on fish (transients I thinkg) while other pods feed almost exculsively on marine mammals (residents? might be the other way arounds) which explains why the orcas aren't keeping the sea lion population down at all. Anyway just a cool tidbit of info...

    Fish Creek and dipac kings should be hitting the beaches soon eh? Go get em! Ahhh fly fishing for kings
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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