Sea Lion Drags California Angler Overboard

A hungry sea lion’s snatch-and-grab attempt at an easy meal nearly turns deadly for a California fisherman.

Sea lions stealing fish directly from the hands of unsuspecting fishermen has become a fairly common, and often comical, occurrence in West Coast marinas. But for angler Dan Carlin of Carmel Valley, it nearly ended in a nightmare.

At the end of a fishing trip, with his boat docked at San Diego’s Mission Bay marina, Carlin was holding the yellowtail he’d caught for the obligatory memento photo when a large sea lion made a grab at the fish. The angler told ABC’s 10News, “The sea lion came up and grabbed my hand and the fish at the same time…flipped my legs up in the air and I went straight down.”

The angler says he was dragged 20 feet below the surface before breaking free and swimming to the surface.

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