California Angler Holding Trophy Catch Dragged Under Boat by Sea Lion


A hungry sea lion trying to steal a fish instead ended up catching the fisherman. According to U-T San Diego, a 62-year-old man fishing in Mission Beach Channel near San Diego was unexpectedly attacked while holding up a a fish to be photographed. The sea lion, estimated to weigh around 300 pounds, jumped out of the water and attempted to grab the fish, but instead caught the angler by the hand and pulled him overboard.

“It was estimated that he was in the water for 15 to 20 seconds. At that point the sea lion let go and he was able to jump back into his boat,” Lt. John Sandmeyer of the San Diego lifeguards told the Los Angeles Times. “He was in pretty good shape, so there was no near-drowning potential but it was just a scary event.”

Officials said the man was transported to a nearby hospital for minor lacerations and is expected to be fine. You can watch a brief interview with Sandmeyer and local boaters below:

Sea lions and seals are notorious for stealing fish from anglers, although injuries are rarely recorded. Anglers are advised to be cautious when fishing or displaying fish around sea lions, as the mammals are much more agile than they look. Some anglers also intentionally feed sea lions discarded fish parts, which in addition to being illegal, also encourages the animals to view humans as a source of food. Sea lions who have become familiar with humans can also be notorious thieves, as shown in this viral video taken in 2013 near Cabo.

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