Big city kayak fishing is a different beast—in this case, an Australian fur seal. We join James from Victoria Fishing as he paddles and fishes in central Melbourne’s Yarra River estuary. He shows how this urban waterway hosts an impressive wealth of marine life including snapper, bream, mulloway, estuary perch and a frisky fur seal that catches a fish of its own. What will the seal make of its kayak-bound competition?
Today We Fish for Pinkies
James and friend Derek begin their day on a calm, sunny morning in Melbourne’s central business district. “We’ve had a rainfall, so the water’s not the best quality,” James says, “but…hopefully we can get onto a few fish.” The pair plan to use soft plastic swimbaits on light tackle to target juvenile Australasian snapper, also known as pinkies.
The anglers catch a couple of pinkies before a fur seal shows up in their midst. The seal bursts out of the water with a big mulloway grasped in its jaws, smashing the fish against the water’s surface multiple times to finish it off. Then the seal seems to take note of the anglers floating nearby.
“Oh my god guys, there’s a bigass seal and he’s coming right for us!” James shouts, hunkering down in his kayak. “Don’t you dare knock me off. Don’t you dare!” But the seal backs off and feasts on a fish right in front of the anglers. “He’s actually got a very nice fish in his mouth. He’s just eating it now,” James narrates.
Fur Seals are Fine Fishing Competition
It may not seem like much fun to compete in fishing against someone with built-in flippers, but fur seals could use a leg up. Although they are now protected in Australia, the marine mammals were hunted nearly to extinction in the 1800s. While this close encounter is not the norm, fur seal sightings are becoming less rare along the southeastern coast of Australia and around Tasmania.
What would you do with a big seal barreling down on your kayak?