Book Review: River Monsters: True Stories of The Ones That Didn’t Get Away

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I have enjoyed the show River Monsters for a few years now, and while I have no interest in fishing myself, there is something about watching Jeremy Wade fish up these monstrous fish from all over the world that is appealing to me. So when I saw that he had also written a book describing a number of these encounters of course I knew that I had to read it. However it wasn’t until I came across the audio book that I decided to truly dive into this book and explore all these finish adventures.

I’ll be honest, I could listen to Jeremy Wade talk about fish all day long. It is clear that he is not only passionate about what he does, but puts in a great deal of research for each expedition, not just on the fish he is looking for, but also about the lands and rivers he will be encountering, and spending time with the locals trying to get their input on the stories he had heard which brought him to that particular location.

Each chapter of this book discusses a certain fish that the author is set about catching, from Bull Shark, to Sting Ray to Arapaima, and many more. Wade describes how a certain new paper article about an attack or some other legend would be the thing that would set things in motion in a quest to catch that particular river monster. But it also went into dealing with the logistics and permissions required for him and his crew to not only fish in certain areas but also to film it, and the many set backs that he has encountered over the years while trying to film episodes of River Monsters. This book has definitely given me a new appreciation for all the work that has to be done to film even a single episode of the show.

He also talks about the film project he was a part of before River Monsters took off, and that was a show called Jungle Hooks. It was his work first capturing the elusive Arapaima that eventually led to those show being filmed, however it never took off. Though it is obvious that without Jungle Hooks there is a very good chance that River Monsters may have never come to be.

Really the only downside to this book is that, though he does a fantastic job of describing each river he has fished in and the experiences of pulling up that certain fish, I missed actually seeing it happen. The show just puts an extra bit of reality to the stories when you watch Wade pull an enormous fish from the water after days of struggling to get even a single bite.

Fans of the show will certainly enjoy this book, since it does have many of the elements that make River Monsters such an interesting thing to watch, but it also delves a bit more into Jeremy’s life as well. I am definitely glad I had a chance to get to this book and I would recommend it to fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers and those just looking for an interesting book to read.

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