River Monsters, Season 2, premiered on Animal Planet Sunday night starring biologist and extreme fisherman Jeremy Wade and co-starring the Giant Freshwater Stingray. The Mekong River area in Thailand was the setting for this program’s episode in order to look for the big fish. River Monsters sees Jeremy Wade go around the world in search of the most fascinating and dangerous water creatures, like the Giant Freshwater Stingray. The Animal Planet program runs an hour.
River Monsters, Season 2 Premiere, Saw Jeremy Wade Seek Out His Biggest Catch Ever on Animal Planet: The Giant Freshwater Stingray
Jeremy Wade went to Thailand to seek out this freshwater “monster”, which is purported to be as big as 16 feet long, 7 feet across, and weighing 1,300 pounds, which would make it the world’s biggest freshwater fish, if those stats are true; and thus, 8 times the size of the star of River Monsters. This fish is an active hunter whose face has advanced sensors to help it look for food. This stingray’s barb inflicts terrible damage when it’s applied to one’s flesh, and its poison, which is like a rattlesnake’s, has no known antidote. The Giant Freshwater Stingray was only discovered 20 years ago by scientists. The extreme angler of River Monsters talked to another fisherman who had a close to deadly encounter with this creature, where its stinging barb came close to killing him and left him with several weeks of pain.
Wade and a fishing crew went to an area in the Songkhram, Thailand area deemed “Area 51”, who locals say is full of “aliens.” He used 160 pound fishing line, which the Giant Freshwater Stingray dragged upriver with the boat and crew, then created a standoff for almost two hours of constant pulling on the rod, and taking a few feet of line. Jeremy Wade was about to reel in the Giant Freshwater Stingray, but his shark-marlin appropriate rod broke as he and the crew were about to bring up the creature out of the water. And worse yet, the extreme angler got a torn bicep.
The Mekong River also has a Giant Mekong Catfish (that can grow to be 9 feet long and 600 pounds), which Wade caught after a good fight. The catch is only 1/10th the size of what these fish can grow to be, and its deemed to be a harmless bottom feeder. The River Monsters host then headed to a fish market, and found some smaller stingrays for sale, as well as sharks. He sees that there’s a connection between stingrays and sharks, saying that the former is “a flattened shark with this long tail.”
He goes back to “Area 51” and decides to use a shorter rod. The wait isn’t long (about 20 minutes) before he gets a bite and reels the Giant Freshwater Stingray in, brought up with the help of a net. The barb is bound to the tail, and the crew gets to see their catch. It’s determined on the Season 2 premiere of River Monsters that the catch was a male stingray that weighed only 175 pounds and was 4.5 feet across, which Jeremy Wade quipped was a “mere minnow”, compared to females, who can be 8 times bigger.
River Monsters, Season 2 Premiere, Saw a 400 Pound Giant Freshwater Stingray Caught by Jeremy Wade and His Crew
So the host headed up 1000 miles upriver near the Laotian border to find what was confirmed with videos and photos 850 miles further down river, a 700 pound Giant Freshwater Stingray that took 10 people, two boats and 4 hours to catch. But on his fishing spree, Jeremy Wade is stopped by the authorities and told to stop fishing in the area. So he goes back to “Area 51” downriver to try once again to catch a real big stingray. Despite his sore arm and the boat being dragged up river for a half a mile, the crew manages to get one for the River Monsters program. This Giant Freshwater Stingray ended up being a female with a 10 inch sting that measured 6 feet across and weighed about 400 pounds, the biggest fish that the host of River Monsters has caught. The real surprise that he and the accompanying university scientific team find is that the creature gives birth to two stingray pups, who had caps on their stings to protect the mother, but they fall off quickly after birth to defend themselves. The scientific team took a venom sample, and let mom and the babies go.
Jeremy Wade had wondered why these fish like the Giant Freshwater Stingray get so large in the river. He concludes that it’s so they can survive the stress of that environment. After watching the Season 2 premiere of River Monsters on Animal Planet, it can be concluded that trying to angle for marlin or sharks is quite a modest quest.
“Death Ray”, River Monsters, April 25, 2010, Animal Planet