Danger @ SBI

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Posted by Labugman on June 10, 2007 at 13:45:48:

Friends...I'm writing this to share with you a dangerous experience I had at Santa Barbara Island while spear fishing. I had just speared a white sea bass when a very large male sea lion grabbed my fish and tried to swim off with it. I played tug of war with it but it was dragging me through the water and sometimes down 5 to 10 feet as I kept pulling the fish towards me. I would pick up the pace pulling hand over hand when he would let go of the fish ... as he sometimes did. Although I tried not to get tangled in my shooting line it still happened twice in all the commotion, once around my upper arm and once around my ankle. Luckily it was during breaks in his strong tugging. I was able to untangle myself before he started to pull again.When I finally got the fish in my hands I thought he would circle around yet keep his distance, but he didn't. He had no hesitation in coming right up to me, getting in my face and grabbing the fish still in my hands. I tried to fend him off by kicking him with my fin and poking him with the back end of my shaft ( the font end still had the fish on it) but he just kept on coming. He finally pulled the fish out off my hands and swam off with it. My float line was moving through the water so fast that I thought he might take it all so I grabbed it and hung on as I inflated my utility float. I worked the float to the shooting line and he still pulled the float down 10 feet. I was tired and well aware of the danger I was in of drowning so I decided to give him the fish....but not the shaft and tip. By this time the fish had no head and the body was getting mangled as he bit it and thrashed it about in order to eat it. I pulled the fish in again between his tugging at it and finally got it in my hands again. In my hurry to get the tip through the fish it toggled inside of it. He yanked it away and swam off with it again. Little by little I pulled it back in again and then pulled out my knife to cut the tip out. Meanwhile the sea lion was in my face again ready to get his meal back. I stabbed him in the side of the head with my knife thinking that this will get him to back off but he only flinched back momentarily.......and then kept on coming. I don't think my poke penetrated his thick hide. I concentrated at cutting the fish open so I could pull out my spear tip and was able to get it just as he grabbed the fish again and swam off with it to finish his feast.The ordeal was over and I was OK . Luckily "Murphy" was occupied elsewhere and I get to tell the story. I share this with you hoping that someone else doesn't drown from one of these encounters. Although it would not have prevented this incident, from now on I'm going to swim my fish back to the boat ASAP when I'm at SBI. Swimming around with a fish around your waist is tempting fate. As for my story...Yes, I know that harming a marine mammal is a federal crime but in this instance I was the endangered species......It was self defense......Mel

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