‘Walking’ fish baffles bystanders in Bideford

The strange fish spotted in the Torridge. PIicture: Robert Harrowet.

The strange fish spotted in the Torridge. PIicture: Robert Harrowet. - Credit: Archant

Fishermen shocked to see fish appear to ‘walk’ out of River Torridge before slithering back into water.

An encounter of the fishy kind has baffled a Bideford angler after he watched a strange sea creature emerge from the River Torridge.

The fish emerged onto mud by Bideford’s Bank End car park and was spotted by Robert Harrowet and his friends Rob and Chris.

“It came out of the water and tried to walk on its fins. It had the tail of a conger eel and the head of a pike and was trying to pick something up with its mouth,” said Robert.

“I’m a keen fisherman myself – sea fishing and freshwater – and I’ve never seen anything like it.”


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After the fish had completed its mysterious business it slithered back into the water again.

Robert suggested it could have been a coelacanth, a ‘living fossil’ thought to be extinct but rediscovered in 1938, though usually found around the Indian Ocean.

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Marcus Williams, senior biologist at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth told us the fish could be a rockling: “Rocklings do have the ugly eel like appearance, but this behaviour would be abnormal,” he said.

“A fish we can definitely eliminate is the snakehead fish, as this would be brackish estuarine water and they are solely fresh water.”

Tell us what you think the fish might be? Email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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