by David Allen
WAKE FOREST — When Brigs Restaurant of Wake Forest food and beverage Manager Jason Kelly went fishing at Freeman Park in Carolina Beach May 22, he hooked a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Kelly and a fishing buddy spotted a gray seal that had made its way down to the Carolina coast a few days last week.
“The first thing in the morning, at probably 7:30-8 a.m., this seal came right over to us in the water,” he said.
He threw the seal mullet (bait fish), unaware at the time it’s federally protected and people are asked to stay away. The seal caught the mullets and swam around in the water for 30 to 40 minutes.
The encounter is rare — it’s the furthest south a North Atlantic gray seal has been seen in North Carolina, a marine biology professor told media. The seal also put in appearances at Wrightsville and Kure beaches.
“It was really cool,” added Kelly. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me.”