Podcast Interview: “River Monsters” Host Jeremy Wade

Jeremy Wade battles a giant grouper on "River Monsters"

MidCurrent gear editor Tim Romano interviews Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet’s show “River Monsters.” He asks Jeremy about the type of survival gear he takes with him and when we can expect to see an entire River Monsters episode devoted entirely to catching fish on a fly rod.

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Direct download: MidCurrent Interviews Jeremy Wade

Jeremy Wade is a biologist, extreme angler and writer specializing in travel and natural history. He is best known for using fishing as a means to look beneath the surface of human life in remote places, notably the Congo and the Amazon. Having grown up in rural Suffolk in the United Kingdom, he studied zoology at Bristol University and went on to teach biology at a grammar school in Kent.

Wade started fishing on the Suffolk Stour and went on to fish stillwaters for carp and catfish. At 16, he was the youngest member of the British Carp Study Group. In his early twenties, however, he hung up his rods, an antisocial response to overcrowded British lakes. Then in 1982, inspired by a magazine article about fishing for mahseer, he went to India.

Since then he has made many expeditions to Southeast Asia, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), India (again) and the Amazon. During these journeys he caught malaria, was arrested for spying, narrowly escaped drowning and survived a plane crash. In between, he has worked as a tour leader, motorcycle dispatch rider, supply teacher, art tutor, translator (Portuguese-English), public relations consultant, dishwasher and newspaper reporter. For a while he was senior copywriter at an advertising agency—until the excitement became too much for him.

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  • Cwoolston

    He’s way too dramatic and plays up too much to the camera. I don’t think he gives fishing a good name and I certainly don’t think he would give fly fishing a good name.

  • The fact that he travels around the world to show what is in the lakes and rivers, is a testament to his conservation and preservation of the world’s freshwater large fish species. Remember, it’s tv-so there has to be some moments of dramatic recreations-but if we get the message of the show…..that’s what counts.

  • Troutnut

    I really enjoy Jeremy’s show despite the occasional inaccuracies and massive over-dramatization.  In the end, it’s a well-shot, adventurous show about the pursuit of some really interesting fish in exotic places, and violating a couple pet peeves can’t ruin that for me.  I understand that the things that bother me as a purist and a fish ecologist are probably part of the key to making River Monsters a popular mainstream show on a major cable channel, rather than just another no-name fishing show on some outdoor network with a tiny audience.  I bet Jeremy’s copywriting background helped him strike that balance for broad commercial appeal, and I don’t fault him for it.  However, to draw a comparison with some shows in a related niche, I wouldn’t mind if he stylistically went for a little more Les Stroud and a little less Bear Grylls… just dialing up the authenticity a notch or two.

    • I think by the fact that we are discussing the show will bring attention to the need for fish conservation around the world-which in reading articles Jeremy has written, was his purpose of the show.

  • Jadailey

    Ive only caught the show a few times but found it interesting. No fly rod so as is usually the case, I surf after a few minutes. I put his approach up there w/ anthony bourdain. Exotic travel showing places & experiences most of us wont ever see.

  • Jason

    How about doing a show on the new guinea black bass? Hearing rod Harrison and lefty talk about them sounds like it would be right up his alley.