New video of the carcass of a large devouring white sea lion


Captain Ethan Hougie was overseeing a half-day fishing trip about 14 miles off Mission Beach in Southern California when he noticed a cloud of blood in the water. From his perch atop the ‘tuna tower’, he instructed the operator of the King Triton to come to the mess and put the boat in neutral. A large carcass was floating in the water and a great white shark was circling just below, preparing to take a huge bite.

“Look at the size of that thing, man! Hougie exclaimed just as the shark rose from its nose in the water and clamped its jaws around a piece of sea lion.

“We got windy so all the blood was kind of coming our way and you could still see the sea lion. [The shark] had already eaten a quarter of it, but the thing was still alive,” Hougie said. Outdoor living. “You could see his eyes blinking again. And the sea lion must have weighed about 500 pounds.

Hougie recalled not being able to see the shark right away when he first spotted the blood and commotion through his binoculars. Then a fin appeared just below the surface and the boat raced towards the scene.

“Then out of the shadows comes this absolute mammoth of a shark,” he said. “He barely opened his mouth and he probably took 40 or 50 pounds of meat in one small bite.”

The Tuna crew put the boat in neutral, stayed put and took in the amazing view. “It was the first time I really realized the size of a shark’s jaws,” Hougie told NBC 7 San Diego. “When we catch 200 pound tuna it’s like you’ve been waiting all day and finally there it is. If you don’t sit down and enjoy it…a 20 minute moment with this shark is going to pass enough quick.

There was some controversy over the actual length of the shark. Hougie is convinced it was over 20ft long based on the 35ft boat, while California State University, Long Beach Shark Lab director Dr. Christopher Lowe claimed the shark was closer to 13 feet.

Charter clients watch as the shark returns to the carcass. Via California Sport Fishing Company/NBC 7 San Diego

California’s southern coast has seen a remarkable increase in shark sightings in recent years, which Lowe attributes to state protections instituted in 1994.

“The population is recovering, and that’s a good sign,” Lowe told CBS 8 San Diego. “About 10 years ago when we first started seeing them, they were mostly around Santa Monica Bay, Santa Barbara, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and we had none off San Diego. About two years ago we started seeing juvenile white sharks in San Diego County, and it’s now one of our biggest hotspots.

A guest on the trip, a cast member of Bravo’s “Below Deck” known as “Sustainable” Shane Coopersmith, called the encounter “the bloodiest thing” he had ever seen.

“It was just full intestines floating around…giant shark jaws had latched onto the sea lion’s flanks and then ripped a bite out,” he told NBC 7 San Diego. “You could see the teeth marks and where the fat gets between the jagged teeth. I’ve seen sea lions giving birth and other amazing things in the wild, but watching this great white shark eat was more beautiful than intense and scary.

More and more great white sharks are also appearing along the east coast. earlier this summer Outdoor living interviewed several Cape Cod charter captains about their encounters, and you can read their shark stories here.


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