River Monsters is a show I found on Netflix that – horrible pun alert – had me hooked. Host Jeremy Wade is a biologist and extreme angler who has been traveling the world for the better part of a quarter century. In each episode he investigates reports of people being attacked by fish in fresh water and tries to land the most likely suspect.
While quite a few of the stories seem like nothing more than local legends or tall tales, they’re really only an excuse to go hunting for extraordinary fish. Often Jeremy relies on local fishing experts to help him find his quarry, since many of the biggest specimens have already been fished out. His interactions with the locals can be quite interesting, particularly seeing some of their traditional fishing techniques. Along the way, he usually catches a variety of species and educates the viewer about them.
Jeremy Wade catches a freshwater Goliath Tigerfish
Some episodes are less interesting than others, but there are some really great ones. His experiences with ravenous piranha, the world’s largest stingray, and the incredible Goliath Tigerfish are some of my personal favorites. Perhaps most frightening of all are the bull sharks which are known man-eaters. They can adapt to fresh water and travel miles upriver where you wouldn’t expect them.
Jeremy Wade is a charismatic host, and he’ll struggle for days and sometimes weeks to finally land one of the fabled creatures. It’s not all just for fun, as he often teams up with local biologists to help with their research, and almost always puts his catch back in the water. Since most of these species are quite rare and can only be found in exotic locations, I doubt you’ll think twice about going for a swim – but it’s always nice to know what might lurk unseen beneath the surface.
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