A fisherman had a “once-in-a-lifetime catch” when he hooked a fish native to North America – the first of its kind to be caught in Britain.

Martin White, of New Barnet, was on one of his regular fishing trips to Dover, Kent, when he caught the 2lb 7oz striped bass.

Speaking to the Times Series he said: “I go down there about once a month and this time it was my lucky day.

“I caught some mackerel and used one as bait. When I had a bite and pulled it up I knew it was a bass straight away – but I also knew it was a bit different.

“I showed it to the steward and he agreed and said ‘it’s certainly not one of ours – it’s a strange species’.

“When I went home I checked online and discovered it was a US striped bass.”

The 56-year-old, who has been fishing for 20 years, could not believe his luck.

He said: “I guess I just had the right bait at the right time and I was in the right place at the right time. It’s certainly a once-in-a-lifetime catch.”

The self-employed landscape gardener said the bass tasted “delicious” after he baked it with lemon and black pepper.

Mike Heylin, chairman of the British Record Fish Committee, told the Times Series he believes the fish is the first of its kind to be caught in Britain.

However he added: “There is some debate as some people have said it looks similar to sea bass caught in Britain. It’s certainly a stripey bass but if it’s an actual striped bass then it's the first of its kind.

“If we can obtain some scale samples a DNA test will confirm what species it was.”

The US bass normally stays within five miles of America's east coast but US experts have said it is possible this particular fish came over to the UK in the Gulf Stream when it was a fry.