In the summer of 2002 Jon and Richard where “Up North” investigating a wallaby-slashing at the Hope Animal Sanctuary in Loftus (See CFZ Expeditions for details) but that was not the only weird thing to happen in the area because as the slasher was slashing in Loftus, just up the road at Skinningrove a lady angler pulled more than she bargained for out of the north sea...an oar fish!
The local rag said...
A woman has landed one of the world's rarest fish, almost 13 kilograms heavier than herself, while trying to catch cod off a pebble beach near her home on the north-east coast of England.
Val Fletcher is believed to be the first person to have caught an oar fish on a rod and line. Only a few are seen each century.
Little is known about the bright metallic silver fish, which is believed to swim vertically and live in the open ocean. Ms Fletcher, 40, was using squid as bait when she got a bite. She spent the next 40 minutes trying to land her catch.
She landed the monster at Skinningrove, near Saltburn, Cleveland, on Monday. The last recorded find of an oar fish anywhere was off the US coast in 1996.
What the paper neglected to mention was that Ms Fletcher was with her boyfriend at the time, a certain Mr Herrings. The oar fish is also known as the King of the Herrings! Read into that what you will Doc Shiels affectionos!
I must admit I was a bit jealous: “Why hasn't Seaham on Sea got an Oar Fish” I grumbled to myself, but quickly got over my green-eyed monster as the Bolam Lake Beast of 2003, and then my trip with Richard and Lisa to Morar in 2004, occupied my time. But I need not have worried because everything comes to he who waits. In March 2009 I finally got my wish. If you step out my front door turn left and walk 200 yards you are greeted by the north sea and the sea delivered...you guessed it: an oar fish!
Right on my doorstep: a weird and rare find. Fantastic, I thought, but the Crypto-gods were not finished with my little hometown just yet because...
A SUN FISH TURNS UP ALIVE!!
The local rag said of this amazing find...
A family was stunned to come across this creature from the deep as they walked along our coast.
While the region was battling Arctic temperatures, this giant sunfish – usually found in warmer climes – was washed up on Seaham beach.
The Dowse family were walking along the beach near East Shore Village on Saturday when they came across the sunfish.
The fish measured 3ft across, about 5in in width and had fins a foot long.
Geoff Dowse, wife Lisa and their son Cameron, 11, a pupil at St Aidan's School, in Sunderland, were helped in their bid to identify it by a passer-by and by later research on the Internet.
They helped it back into the North Sea after spotting it was still alive and coming under attack from birds.
The fish is native to tropical and temperate waters, such as those off the coast of California and the Mediterranean.
Geoff, 53, an accounts manager who also has an older son Patrick, 15, said: "Cameron spotted it. He said 'What's that big fish lying there?' and there were some gulls pecking at it.
"We pushed it back into the sea after taking some photos."
A spokeswoman for Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth said the fish was an "amazing find".
She added: "Our aquarists said it is definitely a sunfish and that it is rare to find one on our coast, especially in the winter as they prefer much warmer waters – 12 degrees or more.
"It might have been attracted to us because of all the jellyfish which they like to feed on.
It just gets better and better.
So, dear reader, what is going to turn up next on the beach at the bottom of my street? A beaked whale? A Narwhal? Or a fully fledged sea serpent? We'll wait and see, eh.