Monster Fish films at Aquarium

Zeb Hogan filming at the Tennessee Aquarium

Zeb Hogan filming at the Tennessee Aquarium

(WASHINGTON, D.C. ) - Passed down from generation to generation, tales of epic battles between man and mega fish — underwater goliaths the size of cars and man-eating killers lurking in the murky depths — may seem unbelievable.

Inspired by these local legends, Fish Biologist and National Geographic Fellow Zeb Hogan embarks on his biggest fishing adventure yet: a mission to distinguish fact from fiction in some of the most remote regions of the planet. Premiering Friday, July 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Nat Geo WILD presents the fourth installment of the popular series Monster Fish. (For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NGC_PR.)

Nat Geo WILD cameras follow Zeb on a 30,000-mile quest for fish so elusive, they have seldom been seen. Yet the stories of their sheer magnitude make them legendary. In Florida, he investigates the “linebackers of the sea” — deadly bull sharks that can supposedly swim 2,000 miles inland! In the Pacific Northwest, where everything is big, from the Giant Redwoods to the region’s sweeping coastlines, Zeb searches for a monster that can grow up to 7 feet long! “Lured” by stories of a cow-sized goldfish, Zeb navigates Thailand and Cambodia’s river systems.

Along the way, he’ll immerse himself in local culture, where fishing is often more than a sport, or even a profession — it’s a way of life. In Thailand, Zeb meets an eccentric collector with a jaw-dropping ornate Koi fish that is valued at more than a million dollars. While searching for a carnivorous catfish in Indonesia, Zeb meets a tribe known for their headhunting past. In Alaska, Zeb pairs up with a fishing elder in search of giant King Salmon, and mingles with the locals at a pub where salmon-flavored vodka is the drink of choice. And in the Deep South, Zeb takes to the rivers with some catfishermen who have accents so thick, they almost need subtitles. Embracing Mississippi’s southern charm, Zeb learns new techniques to “net” a whopper and tries a few things he’s never done before: noodling and demolition derby!

Zeb Hogan filming in River Giants

Zeb Hogan filming in River Giants

In each episode, Zeb examines the environmental challenges these mega fish face — from climate change to pollution. Some of these goliath fish have been around since the dinosaurs, and now, like their predecessors, they face extinction.

Premiere episodes include:

Monster Fish: Giant Catfish Friday, July 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

“Lured” by stories of catfish the size of Volkswagens, Zeb is on a mission to find out if the legendary giant catfish of the South really exists. Finding huge fish is all about taking advantage of local knowledge, so he teams up with Rusty, a lifelong catfisherman with a thick Mississippi drawl and unique “southern charm.” Using a massive 7-foot-tall, 40-foot-long net, they’ll troll the waters for a record-breaking fish. From electroshock fishing to demolition derbies, Zeb will do just about anything to get in good with the locals and explore a culture where catfishing is more than just a sport or a job — it’s a way of life. He’ll even try one thing he’s never done before: noodling! Pairing up with an all-female noodling team, he dares to reach his own hands into murky underwater catfish lairs.

Monster Fish: Salmonzilla

Friday, July 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Armies of salmon surge through Alaska’s icy waters during mating season, but only one “catches” Zeb’s eye — the elusive King Salmon. Local legends tell stories of schools of King Salmon so thick, you could walk across their backs. But to find out if stories like this one are true — and if a “Salmonzilla” is really out there — he’ll have to brave rugged wilderness, hungry bears and a local watering hole where the signature cocktail is salmon-flavored vodka! Zeb’s first stop is Anchorage, where he wades out into the frigid ocean to try a unique method of dip netting. After traveling to the Ekwok village, he heads out on a remote river with Luki, a legendary fishing elder. At a remote field camp, Zeb snorkels with a school of salmon. Then, he takes to the air, flying over the tough terrain to survey salmon.

Monster Fish: Green Goliath

Friday, July 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

The Pacific Northwest is known for things that are BIG — giant redwoods, sweeping coastlines, and massive runs of salmon. But Zeb is looking for a goliath so elusive, he’ll scour every nook and cranny of the rivers here to find it. He’s after the green sturgeon — a monster fish that can grow up to 7 feet long, live up to 70 years and has been on Earth since the days of the dinosaurs. Worldwide, there are more than two dozen species of sturgeon, many of which are dying off at astounding rates. But the green sturgeon swims under the radar … so mysterious and hard to find, no one really knows how these giants are faring. Zeb joins up with biologists, angling guides and tribal fishermen to find out.

Zeb Hogan in River Giants

Zeb Hogan in River Giants

Monster Fish: 600-pound Goldfish

Friday, July 26, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Could it be? Zeb is on the hunt for a goldfish the size of a cow! Giant carp can grow up to 600 pounds and 10 feet long, but the trouble with finding these monster fish is … they only live in three of Southeast Asia’s rivers. To learn more about this elusive fish, Zeb heads to Thailand, where he helps the Thai Department of Fisheries transport 30 giant carp to a new breeding pond on the Chao Phraya River. Over on the Maeklong River, Zeb meets a monk who looks after a menagerie of giant fish species, including the biggest Amazon arapaima Zeb has ever seen! Unwilling to lose hope of finding a truly giant carp, Zeb travels to the 12th-longest river in the world, the Mekong. Known for harboring mega fish of all kinds — including a 1,000-pound freshwater stingray that Zeb caught a few years ago — Zeb works day and night with the local fishermen to “net” a giant carp.

Monster Fish is produced by National Geographic Television (NGT) for Nat Geo WILD. For NGT, Geoff Luck is executive producer. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin, senior vice president of production and development is Janet Han Vissering and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

About Nat Geo WILD

For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society. Part of the National Geographic Channels US, based in Washington, D.C., the networks are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. In 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) debuted, and 10 years later, Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with Nat Geo WILD currently available in over 58 million U.S. homes. Globally, Nat Geo WILD is available in more than 144 million homes in 140 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com.

Posted on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 5:22 am