‘River Monsters’ hunts the Amazon this season

WASHINGTON – For the host of Animal Planet’s extreme angling show, “River Monsters,” it’s not about the fish, it’s about the adventure.

Biologist and fisherman Jeremy Wade tells WTOP that he researches the fish he plans to catch each season so he can safely reel them in. But the danger of traversing exotic and remote waters brings unexpected risks, like when one of the sound recorders was struck by lightening during a trip to Suriname.

Members of the crew suffered headaches after the strike but determined they would all survive.

“We’ll always film it unless it is actually gets in the way of dealing with the incident,” Wade says of the crews mishaps. “It doesn’t get any more real than that.”

The new season of “River Monsters” began this week and will focus on the Amazon and surrounding waters.

“We got some fascinating stories and some very big fish as well,” he says.

Python of the Potomac

Closer to home, the Potomac River is now home to a rather ferocious-looking fish – the northern snakehead. The fish isn’t native to the Mid-Atlantic and is considered an invasive species.

The population of northern snakehead has grown enough that anglers can target them. The fish, which has a crisscross pattern that resembles a python’s skin, can weigh more than 10-pounds, Wade says.

He says it’s too soon to know how the snakehead will affect native fish populations. A different species of snakehead in Florida hasn’t hurt native species there.

Snakeheads are efficient breeders. Although they produce fewer eggs than other types of fish, the snakehead guard their young, giving the next generation a head start on survival, Wade says.

“From an angler’s point of view, it’s an interesting fish to have there that wasn’t there before. But fingers crossed that it doesn’t impact the native species as well.”

“River Monsters” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet.

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