RODS AND MONSTERS: On Jeremy Wade’s Hook

This is how you do it.

Ok, let’s just get this out of the way: Jeremy Wade of River Monsters is easy on the eyes and ears.  He has a lifetime of tales weathered into his face, but it comes off more rugged than ragged. White hairs reveal his advanced age, which would give anyone watching his primal approach to angling the impression of wisdom rather than deterioration.  The accent is just an unfair cherry on top.  I’m not unaware of the true reason that my wife watches the show with me, and it ain’t for the UFO shaped thing pictured above.

That being said, River Monsters has enormous appeal that goes deeper than simple aesthetics.  It is easily the best “legend hunter” show on television, with an unique angle focusing on the aquatic dangers that lurk in freshwater, naively considered safe by the general public.  Jeremy’s narration keeps the pace moving with fishing factoids and insights from his vast research and experience. These elements make for great entertainment, with every adventure being at least deeply satisfying if not completely successful. The balance of action and research makes every episode watchable from beginning to end.  However, other traits found in the show capture my attention.

Jeremy displays a hunting nobility, much like what most would associate with indigenous people using centuries old techniques.  This isn’t too far fetched of a compliment, consider how often he consults with local fishermen at the places he visits.  He takes folklore seriously, never overlooking any legend for angler tips and investigative confirmation.  It’s great to see him be so humble, regardless of whatever leviathans he’s already pulled from the depths.  Speaking of which, his respect extends to the animals themselves as well.  Most of the monsters are caught and examined, exposed as just highly adapted predators instead of supernatural beasts.  Releasing them back into the wild is a final act of honor, completely expected at this point due to Jeremy’s devotion to doing his sport the right way.

Anyone under the impression that fishing could never truly be a sport would swallow their ignorance whole after watching an episode.  Jeremy not only lets his intelligence and wisdom dictate where and how to find the monsters he’s after, but he also pushes his body to its limits, never letting exhaustion get between him and his fish.  Equipment can and does fail after hours of battling a behemoth, but Jeremy’s spirit keeps him focused and confident.  Just when your mind starts to wander into Captain Ahab comparisons, Jeremy succeeds in pulling up yet another monster, sometimes literally by hand.

Rugged.  Respectable.  Relentless.  That’s River Monsters.

Are you not entertained by the monsters of the deep?
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