Just retired in May!
For the first time since the 70’s and early 80’s (dating myself here) I’ve had time to re-explore my old favorite beach fishing locations around the Cape and Islands. I’ve been away from New England for a long time and now as I’ve covered a lot of beaches here I’ve been shocked at how many smart and aggressive seals I’ve encountered. “Smart” because while surfcasting, 9 times out of 10 no matter where I’ve been, within 5 minutes of the splash of my lure(s) one or more seals pops up near me. Fly fishing does not trigger the “seal stampede” immediately to my location I’ve come to expect while surfcasting, but I believe simply the daylight profile /shadow I create by fly fishing on the beach or in shallow water elicits fairly “soon and certain” seal “swim-bye” too.
“ Aggressive” because several fish I’ve hooked have been attacked by Seals. Several times I’ve reeled in just fish heads. One time I reacted too slowly and got spooled. Then to add insult to injury the attacking seal then circled back and munched on what remained of “my” bluefish less than 10 yards out in front of me. Wow!!
This reminded me of “educated”. Barracuda and bull sharks over heavily fished wrecks and or reefs in Florida. There I reeled up many fish heads there too!
So my question to this community forum .... What do you think we (beach fishermen) can safely do for us and the seals to mitigate the seal participation in our fishing outings?
A fellow fisherman I talked to on a Cape beach the other day (in between Northeasters) said he opens his bail or loosens his drag once he sees a seal in pursuit of his hooked fish. His claim is the now “free swimming” fish gets a better chance to escape the pursuing seal... (???). In my opinion, maybe an escape initially may not end well if the seal is persistent...
ideas, alternatives or recommendations?
One obvious insight for me is location - I've found shallower fast moving water creates less hungry seal encounters.
Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!