Mouth hooked sea lion.

whosmatt

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 25, 2011
151
79
San Diego, CA, USA
Name
Matt
Boat
17' self built cc skiff, Daft Boot
I've debated about posting this just because I expect to get a get-out-the-popcorn response but I wanted to post it because I tried to do the right thing. Was bottom fishing shallow sandy near the jetty in SD and dropped a sardine in an area where there was bait and dolphins. My bait was taken before it hit the bottom and the drag started singing. The hook was a Gamakatsu 3/0 (i think) circle hook tied to 20# mono halibut rig, to more 20# mono topshot to 50# spectra. I specify this because of what happened next. What was on my line was a small sea lion, solidly mouth hooked and running and jumping like crazy. I debated what to do and my first thought was just to try and get it to break off, presuming the mono leader would give first. I buttoned down the drag and aimed the rod right at the sea lion and even thumbed the spool. All that happened was it towed my boat around. I could not get the line to break. Yay for me for tying good knots, and yay for Trilene big game I guess.

I debated cutting the line off where it was but that would have left a mouth hooked sea lion towing around a bunch of mono and potentially braid and I knew that would be a disaster. So I basically just fought it like a fish (bearing in mind that it was dragging me around too, motor off the whole time) and eventually got it close enough to the boat where I could hand line it and get close enough to cut the leader so that the damage was limited to a circle hook and about 2' of 20# mono.

So I guess my purpose in posting this is to ask if I handled it the right way? I've had the same problems as the rest of you with stolen baits and even stolen fish but when I got it close enough to cut the leader the terror in its eyes got to me. The only other thing I've seen quite like that is driving my boat up to a whitetail deer (different boat, different place) swimming in the middle of a mile-wide body of water.
 

jsquez

master backlasher
Jun 8, 2015
106
50
34
Name
jesse
Boat
no
I’ve seen it handled many ways kinda like what u did to max drag swinging pulling trying to rip the hook out... I’ve hooked a shit ton of birds ( a lot easier to deal with ) but have yet to hook a sea lion... not sure how I would have handle it... I guess it would depend on the bait I had tied on... watched my buddy lose a couple xraps and a daisy chain... shit gets expensive so I would try to get lures back... if it was just a hook I would get as close as I could and cut it off...
 

T Shark

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 15, 2007
379
109
So Cal
Name
Michael
Boat
My Medication
Sounds like you did all you could. I would of done the same.
 

Joe Somontan

Member
Nov 12, 2018
41
16
48
Fontana, California
Name
Joe Somontan
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Morning Star
Yeah, I would've done the same. Either the line breaks some where or reel it up close to cut the leader. I think you're actually doing the sea lion a favor as you don't want the sea lion to get wrapped up on the braid if you were to cut the line too soon.
 
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mhanson59hb

Fear No Fish
Apr 22, 2013
1,803
2,785
Huntington Beach
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Mike
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2008 Trophy 1802 "Mako My Day"
:hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha::hali_ruahahaha:
Forget those floating flea bags. But you did right by cutting the line short. Now he just has some of that millennial bling to show off to his dog pack. He's lucky you weren't using a trap rig! Now maybe it'll think twice before stealing someones bait again......
 

sdjfish

Deck Ape
Mar 26, 2003
931
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Name
steve
Boat
2320 Parker, Tracker
Get back as much line as possible in any misadventure like this. The hook should rot out due to salt and body acids. Birds are a problem as they can't clot their blood as well and can bleed out from any wound. Be kind rewind.
 

sealskinner

Retired Pimp
Apr 24, 2005
13,126
7,193
in the Hood
Name
Mike
Boat
Franks ho
I was down at Colonet and the yo-yo YT were going good. I got picked up and the fight was on. Line came up really fast. When the pup surfaced, he was hooked in the armpit.
Got to try out my drags before the Dickie cut it loose.
Good fight on 40#.
 
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skrilla

allirks
May 26, 2006
2,939
6,100
San Diego
Name
Len
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plastic fantastic
but when I got it close enough to cut the leader the terror in its eyes got to me.
This was your only flaw IMHO. Drain all emotion, get the job done, and realize you did all you could do. Not saying be a cold blooded killer. But you must build up the courage before you commit given the upcoming situation at hand can turn South real fast the moment you lose focus.
 

Charts

Nothing demonstrates hope better than fishing.
Aug 22, 2015
233
76
San Diego
Name
Charts
Boat
arima sea explorer 16
I've always wondered if this happens. I've trolled around dolphins hunting and worried about them getting hooked. Same for fishing with the sea lions around. So far no trouble I've been hoping they're smart enough to recognize the lure/line.
 

swami 805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 9, 2016
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Bill
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sunk it
When I still had a boat I had a giant knot head eat all of a Tady 45 on 40lb. I tied it off to a cleat and let him tow the boat until he got tired enough so I could get close. Took over an hour. I did the same as you. Only half of the jig was sticking out of his mouth. You did the right thing
 

MattFred1414

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 3, 2020
200
426
26
San Diego
Name
Matt
Boat
17ft Pro Steelheader
I hooked three in one weekend that didn’t want anything to do with my boat. Tried to get as much line back as possible but sometimes they take a bit.
In Florida we used to catch pelicans all the time. I HATE them so much especially since everyone feeds them down there.
 

GregAndrew

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 28, 2008
696
535
San Gabriel,Ca.,USA
Name
Greg
Boat
T15 Kayak
Released a pup at the side of my kayak that had taken my Squid tipped Iron. Did not want to leave it with that kind of handicap in its mouth. Painful to watch, but he left with a couple of holes that would heal, not a mouth full of metal that would prevent him from eating. Got it on video somewhere on my YouTube channel (but not for the faint of heart).
 

dudeman

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Apr 5, 2011
200
240
san diego
Name
jason
Boat
Fish Taco
I hooked one on bait once. It came straight to surface yelping and porposing swimming away. I cut the line. est 150lb sea lion, playing him to the boat would seem more cruel to me and I don't think I could of stopped him so I cut my losses. Lost about 1/2 spool line. I hate them when they steal fish, but I didn't want to torture the thing. I think the hooks rust out in a week or so. I bet that's how they learn to eat the back half of the sardine. Don't second guess yourself, you did what you thought was right in the moment.
 

reelbadlarry

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 25, 2005
735
512
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socal
Name
Larry
Boat
23ft parker, reel bad
brand new iron at izors….and a boss 270 reel....my buddy fought the crap out of that thing....finally the line broke at the knot.....He tried.