I love watching fishing on TV and in recent years one of the biggest and most popular shows has been River Monsters with Jeremy Wade and at the Big One recently, Hurf and me both got books signed by the great man himself!
Shows like River Monsters and Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing popularised fishing for more exotic species in far flung locations and after a disappointing 2009 trip after big catfish in Spain, one of the guides showed us a brochure for Gillhams in Thailand and myself, Scotty Russell and Ash Tomkins booked up for the following year. We had an amazing time, so much so that Scott and me went again the next year as well. While we were there, who turned up to do some filming, none other than Jeremy Wade!
He was a really nice guy and was there trying to catch a wallago attu, him and the crew certainly put the hours in and after several days intense fishing, he’d caught loads and loads of fish including some real monsters but the one he was after eluded him. The day after he left, I was in the swim next door when I caught a small one of around 2lb!
Then a few years later, Icon Films, who make River Monsters, contacted me and asked if I’d review their new fishing app on the blog, I downloaded it and did quite an in-depth review, they also sent me a press release with details of the new series and I cheekily asked if there were any books linked to the series that I could review but it didn’t come to anything.
Fast forward four years to now and I’ve finally got around to reading one of his books, to be honest, I wasn’t really too sure what to expect, I’ve watched all his programmes and envisaged the book might contain a more detailed account of some of his adventures maybe with a bit of background thrown in for good measure. Typically TV tie-in books tend to be a bit of a money spinner, just regurgitated content from the series in the form of glossy photos and text in a big hardback book that costs you upwards of £20 and doesn’t contain anything you haven’t seen before!
That’s not strictly true in this case, for a start it’s a paperback and only cost £9.99, which isn’t bad, especially as it’s signed by the author! Secondly, although it does contain written accounts of loads of his trips that you may have already seen on the telly, so you already know if he got his fish or not, it’s the back story that I found fascinating. There are lots of little nuggets that you don’t really see in the show, the difficulties in filming in extreme environments, the logistical problems, having to deal with local customs and adverse weather conditions among other things. All of which I found really interesting and it also makes it all the more remarkable that on such a limited budget and with little in the way of resources and manpower, that they manage to produce such a polished looking show for television.
I’m not going to go into a blow by blow account of each of his adventures detailed in the book as that would just spoil things but he does talk about his childhood and explains how he ended up where he is today and again, it’s a really interesting read and from the moment I opened the front cover I was ‘hooked’ (sorry!).