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Monday, July 17, 2017

River Monsters

     Of all the reality TV shows about fishing this is my favorite. Unfortunately, host Jeremy Wade has hung up his fishing rod. On River Monsters, Wade tried to locate killers and discover which are predators, which are victims, and which are myths and legends. 
     The final season of River Monsters began on April 23rd. Usually such shows end when ratings start to drop, but not in this case...the show is going out on a high note. No reason was given, but Wade said he’s covered everything we wanted to cover. 
     Over the years a few fish have eluded him though. As Wade said, he suspects River Monsters has wide appeal because viewers don’t see it as just a fishing show, but a way to find out about creatures they never knew existed, plus it showcased different areas of the world and different people which is always interesting. 
     One thing Wade has always emphasized it that fish are wild animals and they can be dangerous. Also, fish are sensitive to vibrations in the water, so capturing footage of them requires a measure of stealth on the part of not only Wade, but his crew. 
     The final episodes includes Wade's effort to discover what happened to over one thousand passengers of the RMS Laconia which was torpedoed in the mid-Atlantic. For those that live in the UK Animal Planet has commissioned the creating of a completely new series staring Wade. Details are sparse, but it will explore the health of the world’s rivers and the lives of the people and wildlife dependent upon them. 
     Jeremy Wade (born March 23, 1956) s a British television personality and author of books on fishing who is best known for his television series River Monsters and Jungle Hooks. Wade attended Dean Close School and has a degree in zoology from Bristol University and a postgraduate teaching certificate in biological sciences from the University of Kent. He has also worked as a secondary school biology teacher in Kent. He is fluent in Portuguese, which he studied during the many years he spent fishing in Brazil, and also speaks French and Spanish well.
     Over the years, Wade has caught (and released) some of the slimiest and largest animals lurking in the world's water. Naturally, there is always a risk...remember, fish are wild animals! One of the most dangerous creatures he ever encountered was the electric eel. A big one can deliver about 500 volts and a victim could drown in shallow water since the shock can paralyze a person and even a rescuer can get zapped. When working around them, it's like working on a high tension electrical line. Thick rubber boots and gloves re required. Plus, a defibrillator is always good to have.
     His closest brush with death happened in the Amazon, when he was trying to net an arapaima. The big, ugly arapaima is a very large freshwater fish that can weigh up to 400 pounds. While trying to net a small on weighing about 80 pounds, it suddenly hit him right in the sternum leaving him with pain he could feel for six weeks. 
     When deep in a forest river sometimes weather can be the worst enemy. One time the crew member that did the sound recording was stuck by lightning and a patch of skin on his legs had the hair singed off and left him with a tremendous headache. On a scale of 1 to 10, the gut put it at a ten. See What Happens When Lightening Strikes You HERE.
     One extremely painful experience was getting stabbed on the back of his hand by a small catfish. Not surprisingly, getting snagged by a fish hook is always a painful possibility. Fish aren't the only danger either. Wade has been detained as a suspected spy, caught malaria, been threatened at gunpoint and survived a plane crash. 
     Is the show real or fake? Yes and no. Obviously when filming such a show, you can't make the fish bite and when they do, you can never be sure it's the one you want. When it comes to the fishing, the actual footage is real, but there are also plenty of re-enactments involving fake blood, people drowning, screaming and dying. Those are fake. No doubt the pictures of people who have nasty scars from getting bitten by the fish are real, too. And, to add additional drama, creatures are often described as killers, man-eaters, flesh rippers, executioners, etc. It spices up the program.

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