Sea trout found 35 miles upstream from Norfolk coast is the catch of Andy’s life

While fishing the upper Bure Andy Siddall caught a sea bass. Picture: Supplied

While fishing the upper Bure Andy Siddall caught a sea bass. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

It sounds like a tall fisherman's tale, but is in fact a story which demonstrates one of nature's incredible journeys.

An angler passing a few leisurely hours pike fishing on his local River Bure not far from his Buxton home received the sporting thrill of his life when he hooked a fish that leapt and tail-walked on the surface during an action-packed five minutes.

Although the spot was a good 35 miles upstream from the North Sea, the fish on the end of the line –tempted by a small spinner – was a pristine sea trout. Scaling 6lb 8oz, its proud captor Andy Siddall described it as his 'fish of a lifetime'.

To reach the spot, it had negotiated the lower Yare, though Great Yarmouth, and then up the Bure, passing under bridges at Yarmouth, Acle and Wroxham, and negotiating two fish passes at Horstead and Buxton, before settling in the meandering meadow reach above Buxton Mill.

Mr Siddall, 52, who acts as a Broad's pike angling guide when not engaged as the sports therapist with Holt Rugby Club, said: 'I have fished the River Bure between Buxton and Oxnead dozens of times and to say this fish was unexpected is an understatement.


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'Playing it was five minutes of hectic, unrelenting pressure and it capped 10 wonderful years I have enjoyed living and fishing in this marvellous county.' So what was a sea trout, correctly identified by its characteristic jawline, thick wristed tail fin formation and its black spotted flanks, doing so far from its saline habitat? Probably it was returning to its birth place because fresh water brown trout and sea trout (Salmo Trutta) are one and the same.

Brown trout can be consumed by a wanderlust that sends them migrating downriver to estuaries and along the coast line, adapted to the saline environment. They will revisit their former freshwater habitat especially to spawn during autumn and early winter.

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The heaviest sea trout ever recorded from an East Anglian river was a monster of 23lb 8oz heaved out of the River Wensum by Norwich angler Lee Carver while pike fishing along the yacht station in the heart of the city.

• Licence issues

While sea trout are not rare in Norfolk's tidal rivers they are not regarded as an important quarry probably because of the £72 cost of a salmon and sea trout rod licence.

Every year tidal river anglers especially match men and women catch sea trout. They are ineligible for weigh-in and cannot lawfully be retained without the appropriate rod licence.

One of Norfolk's best known pike fishing guides Charlie Bettell who passed away, aged 55, in 2010 was on record as the only serious angler who continued his river fishing during the close season by holding the salmon and trout licence.

• Do you have a fishing story or picture? Email norfolksport@archant.co.uk

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