Talk about the one that got away!

After a busy day covering opening day of dipnetting on the Kenai, photographer John Thain and I decided to get our nets in the water as well.

After about an hour, I had pulled out our second salmon and went back in to try for a third.

Suddenly, the woman next to me shouted, “Oh my God! He’s got a seal!”

We had seen a couple of seals swimming around the inlet for a few hours but I was sure she was mistaken.

I turned around to see a large amount of splashing on the beach.

When the water settled I could see it was – in fact – a seal caught in a man’s dipnet.

I yelled to John, “Get your cell phone!” In the split-second it took to get his cell phone out of his pocket, the seal had worked its way free and was back in the water.

Everyone around me was stunned.

The man who caught the seal, Anchorage resident David Frame, was just as surprised.

“I felt the jolt in my net and started to pull the net in. It didn’t jolt around as much as a fish typically does so that was kind of funny. So I pulled it in and sure enough it was a seal in my net,” said Frame.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said it’s not uncommon for fishermen to catch seals in dipnets on the Copper River or Chitna River, but hadn’t heard many stories of that happening on the Kenai.

Frame went right back in to try for some more sockeye, keeping a close eye on the seals in the inlet though.

“Fishing’s been okay; seal catching’s been a little bit better today,” he laughed.