Fishermen’s tales aplenty and much more with River Monsters star Jeremy Wade in Hertfordshire

10:15 19 March 2014

River Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic Hall

River Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic Hall

Archant

Fishermen’s tales were central to the tales told by one of the world’s most famous fishermen, when he pitched up in Hertfordshire last week.

River Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic HallRiver Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic Hall

Jeremy Wade, extreme angler, biologist, explorer and star of ITV’s River Monsters, revealed behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes from the show when he appeared at the Broxbourne Civic Hall, in Hoddesdon, on Friday.

Ranging from the deadly to the funny, Wade regaled the packed house with stories including near-death experiences like a plane crash in the Amazon and contracting malaria to being caught short relieving himself off the side of a boat, and having to stand for hours on packed trains in India.

As well as fascinating tales from murky freshwater depths, Wade also showed footage of some of his more spectacular adventures, including dodging man-sized jumping arapaima in Brazil, hunting gigantic goonch catfish in India and tracking a monstrous goliath tiger fish in the Congo.

He also spoke about how he came up with concepts for his cult TV programme, by delving into stories of mysterious deaths told across the flickering embers of far-flung fishermen’s campfires, or etched into ancient woodcuts and manuscripts.

Chief reporter Paul Christian meets Jeremy Wade at his River Monsters Face-to-Face show at Broxbourne Civic HallChief reporter Paul Christian meets Jeremy Wade at his River Monsters Face-to-Face show at Broxbourne Civic Hall

Wade’s journey began closer to home, in Sussex, where he got into angling as a child.

He showed pictures of some of his first catches as he graduated from gudgeon, to perch to pike to carp, before turning to more exotic piscine prey.

There was also a lot of audience participation and an opportunity to quiz the star.

He demonstrated the technique of ‘noodling’, or hand-fishing for catfish and also showed how to reel in a river monster.

River Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic HallRiver Monsters Face-to-Face with Jeremy Wade at Broxbourne Civic Hall

Wade revealed that a trip to India in his 20s changed his life, as he survived on a meagre budget and travelled from river to river in search of huge freshwater beasts.

It was only after catching an arapaima years later in Brazil that Wade gained national media attention and led, ultimately, to River Monsters and the ultimate achievement of being paid for his travelling and angling exploits.

The affable adventurer signed autographs and posed for photos in the foyer after the show to the delight of fans, who flocked to meet him.

When the Welwyn Hatfield Times caught up with Wade ahead of the show he said of the future of River Monsters: “It’s getting harder, but we’ve got a bit more in the pipeline.”

On the evidence of this, he certainly has.

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