The Kansas City Star has published an article about zoologist, angler and TV host, Jeremy Wade, who has traveled the globe in search of huge, mysterious, freshwater monsters that make sharks seem as docile as dolphins.
The host of Animal Planet’s “River Monsters,” Wade trudges through inhospitable environments and plies his skill with heavy fishing equipment and a passion, he admits, that borders on obsession.
“You start off interested in variety, and then it’s always about bigger fish, bigger fish, and I became fairly obsessive I think in my late teens and early 20s… Then I just by chance came across an article about somebody who went to India fishing for a fish called a mahseer. And a couple years after that I found myself in India with not much money in my pocket and not much of an idea of what I was going to do.”
What he was going to do was stalk that mahseer as though it were Moby Dick. He wrote some articles about that battle, which led to working as a part-time journalist and a copywriter. A zoology graduate, he also taught biology for a while.
For 15 years he would trek to some exotic location, try to snag some scaly Sasquatch for three months and return to erratic day jobs. His latest conquests include the Indian goonch, the colossal arapaima (commonly said to be the biggest freshwater fish in the world) and a gargantuan Congolese relative of the piranha known as the Goliath tigerfish.
“It is, for all intents and purposes, a giant piranha. It’s and it’s got the same dentition, where you’ve got the triangular teeth, but the whole animal is scaled up. People get very excited about piranhas, but this is huge.”
“There’s less mystery in the sea than there is in fresh water. If you look at television, there’s lots of documentaries on whales, on coral reefs, the deep oceanic trenches. There’s loads of stuff. But as soon as you look for anything about fresh water, the information is very sketchy… I think it’s for a very simple reason. Sea water is clear, and you can put the camera in sea water and you can see stuff, whereas fresh water is often zero visibility… Fishing is one area of life where you’ve still got real, where you can’t just go to a textbook or the Internet or whatever. You just have to go and find out for yourself.”