Sea lions and hoop netting


Well known member
Oct 23, 2018
Newport Beach
Luhrs 32 sport, Boston Whaler 170 Montauk
since bug season (lobster) is due to start in just under 3 weeks, I’ve been starting to think about last years pros and cons. One of my biggest cons was the sea lion issue, especially at Catalina. We’d pull the nets, and the sea lions would literally swim to the back of the boat and wait for us to throw the short lobsters back (free food!) At the same time, we obviously couldn’t keep the shorts after they were measured, so what would you do in this situation? Try and beat the seals back long enough to let the lobster sink back down? distract them somehow? Toss the lobster like you were pitching a baseball? I felt bad giving the seals a free meal so easily, but it was a seal and a hard place... also: what do you all do to keep your nets from getting thrashed by them? We lost a few nets when the seals got between the bridles and the line as we pulled them up, I watched one literally slice through the bridle with his teeth as if it was butter... I have the tubular ‘seal proof’ bait cages by Promar, but I heard a rumor painting the line black would help make it harder for them to follow it to the net, could be a cheap test...? Thanks for the input!
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active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    whichever has the longest bunk
    It is sure frustrating when you try to do the honorable thing and it seems to be a waste of time. I well remember releasing a fat white sea bass that was just a half-inch short and not five seconds after returning it to the water it returns to the surface in the mouth of a sea lion.

    I doubt if a sea lion would have any problem seeing a line in the water, they feed down to several hundred feet all of the time and it is very black down there to human eyes.

    Just do the best you can to stay straight. If you throw the shorts back and not all of them make it back down to the bottom, well, at least you tried. I know of one hooper who keeps a couple of mackerel handy to distract a sea lion while his partner drops the shorts from the other side of the boat. Maybe it works . . .
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    michael e. bingham

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 26, 2015
    Pura Vida
    Pura Vida 30' Custom Panga
    I take cut up sardines or bonita and throw a hand full out from the boat and then drop the shorts along the side of the boat or l lead the seal away from my gear even before I start to pull my hoops. I don't think we're going to beat the seals 100 percent but its better than them eating short bugs , bottom line is seals ate f-cked
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