A San Diego fisherman was posing for a photo on their boat with a large fish they had caught that day when a large sea lion yanked him overboard.
Dan Carlin's wife had asked him pose for the camera when the sea lion jumped out of the water and sunk its teeth into his hand, before pulling him into the sea, AP reported.
Mr Carlin, an accountant in his early sixties, was battered against the boat's side and dragged six metres under water, before he was suddenly released.
He thought he had escaped, and swam back towards the boat and the surface of the water, until the sea lion bit into his foot, puncturing a bone.
Though Mr Carlin is now just over three weeks into his recovery, and looking forward to returning to fishing next week, he was forced to spend two days in hospital, while the bite on his hand needed 20 stitches.
He said that the experience showed how dangerous sea lions - an animal most people do not think of as scary - could be.
The average male sea lion weighs about 300kg.