Many thanks to all those who have contacted following the airing
of River Monsters seasons 1-5. While I do read all mails that come
in, I regret that I am unable to answer most mails,
owing to a very intense filming schedule. However, answers to certain
frequently asked questions are given below.
You can contact Jeremy Wade at the following address:
How did you get into this line of work?
A combination of hard work and luck. (Anyone who says it's all about
hard work is lying.) For over 20 years I funded my own low-budget
expeditions, paying for them by selling occasional press articles
and doing other odd jobs, and by living a very frugal life in between:
no permanent home, no car for 15 years, no holidays in the normal
sense. During this time I became an expert in a subject that few
other people were interested in, until suddenly we're in a situation
where freshwater fish are only remaining group of creatures that
(because of their elusive nature) haven't received the natural history
Can I work for you?
The crews I work with are kept very small because we need to be
highly mobile, and because fish are wild animals, which don't respond
well to lots of people in the vicinity. And because people and equipment
are expensive to move. Crew members are hired by the production
company I work with, and all are experienced (and often multi-tasking)
directors, camera operators, sound recordists, assistant producers
or production co-ordinators, who have usually worked their way through
the ranks. Many started as 'runners' (general odd-job staff) for
TV production companies, a good way to get a start in this industry,
although competition for these positions is fierce.
What fishing gear do you use?
No apologies for the lack of 'tackle talk' in RM, which would send
many viewers to sleep, but for those who are interested, here goes.
20 years ago it was very hard to get off-the-peg gear that did what
I wanted, especially rods, so I've put together quite a diverse
collection of stuff over the years. (And like many anglers I've
developed a sentimental and perhaps superstitious attachment to
some 'lucky' items, although there's now newer and shinier stuff
out there.) For most fishing I prefer multiplier reels over fixed-spools,
because they handle heavy line better and are better at controlling
fish, particularly if they have a lever drag. I'm not sponsored
by anybody, but I do have 2-speed Tyrnos 30 provided by Shimano,
which is a great all-round heavy-duty reel. But I've also used reels
by Policansky (South African), Abu and Penn. I used to build my
own rods, but nowadays a 9.5ft saltwater 'uptide' rod with casting
weight of 4-8oz or 6-10oz will handle a lot of the fishing I do,
and is not too pricey either. For ultra-heavy fishing (sharks, rays,
Amazon catfish) I have a 7ft 50-80lb-class rod that was built for
me by a friend in the tackle trade. I often use this with a Shimano
Tiagra 50. And I've just acquired a 5.5ft shark rod that I wish
I had last year. (If you see the stingray episode in RM season 2
you'll see why.) For line, I commonly use 80lb BS mono, or 150-200lb
braid, if I can keep it away from rocks. For many fish I have to
use wire leaders, either because they have teeth or because other
toothy fish (such as piranhas) might attack the bait. Breaking strain
is commonly 100-140lb; 49-strand uncoated is more supple than 7-strand
coated but can be more prone to kinking. Double crimps are much
stronger than the simple cylindrical variety, but you have to carry
special crimping pliers. I commonly use Owner, Mustad and Gamakatsu
hooks, and for several years I have been increasingly using circle
hooks (with barbs crushed down), which lodge in the corner
of the mouth almost every time, where they can be quickly and easily
removed. The main knots I use are grinner (uni-knot), 4-turn untucked
blood knot (for heavier mono), Bimini twist (for creating a length
of double line), and Allbright knot (for joining braid to mono).
What fishing tips can you give?
That could be the subject of an entire book. For a start I'd say
don't get too hung up on gear. Keep it simple, but pay attention
to detail, things like knots, sharpness of hooks, condition of line.
All these things can make the difference between success and failure.
Try to match your line and other gear to the size of the fish you
are likely to encounter. Fishing light will get more bites, but
there's no point hooking a fish if there's then a good chance that
you'll lose it. At the water, think before you fish. Look at the
water. Really look at it and try to imagine the underwater geography.
Then imagine you're a fish. Where is the food? (Often weedbeds in
a lake and eddies in a river.) Where is the shelter? Where can you
hang out where it's safe, yet in easy reach of food. Then it's about
putting the right bait in the right place at the right time. Most
times it will still be a waiting game, but even so I normally prefer
to use just one rod, which I hold while feeling the line. With more
than one rod you can lose your focus. Finally remember that fish
are wild animals. Sometimes they are right next to the bank, and
can be caught there, unless you scare them away.
Are you married / in a relationship / gay?
No (see above)
Do you look at the River Monsters Facebook page?
Yes, and it's really great to see the interest that's out there.
But I am not a member of Facebook, so I don't post any comments
myself. Nor am I signed up to Twitter, Instagram etc. Those pages
with my name on are posted by people with more time on their hands.