TWO local anglers were out-fished by a furry mammal near the Nowra Bridge last Friday.
Tim McGoldrick and Wes Murphy were fishing in the Shoalhaven River when they spotted the seal.
“We were in a boat, on the northern side of the Shoalhaven River near the fish co-op,” Mr McGoldrick said.
“We noticed a lot of birds gathering and circling and it was nearing the top of the tide, so we thought we might of had a shot at catching a Jewie.
“We starting flicking our lures at a drop off but soon heard something breach behind us, we missed it the first time but the second time we saw the seal surface.
“I quickly grabbed my camera and got a few shots of it catching and throwing decent sized tailor around.
“But we quickly realised that with the seal around that our chances of a Jewie had disappeared.
“This is the furthest up the river I’ve seen a seal. I saw one at Broughton Creek last year.”
Meanwhile beach-goers on the Far South Coast should prepare to share the sand with visiting leopard seals over the coming months.
At this time of year young seals are dispersing and older animals are returning from Bass Strait.
NPWS marine fauna co-ordinator Geoff Ross said we are now moving into leopard seal season, and like all marine mammals, it is a protected species.
“We commonly see one or two leopard seals each year, and having come a long way at the mercy of ocean currents, they arrive weakened and debilitated,” Mr Ross said.
“Like all seals, this beautiful Antarctic species hauls out on beaches and estuaries to rest and recuperate as part of their natural behaviour.”
Mr Ross reminded people to keep dogs, children and the wider community away from hauled out seals, to protect the safety of all involved.
“Seals are magnificent creatures and it’s fine to admire them from a distance, but people and pets must not approach them,” he said.
“We see more and more seals each year, so it’s important to live alongside them harmoniously.”