In the special two-hour Season 4 premiere of Animal Planet‘s River Monsters, premiering this Sunday, April 1, at 9pm ET/PT, host Jeremy Wade visits the United States to investigate various reports of freshwater fish that have grown to enormous — potentially human-threatening — size. His first stop is in Florida, where he searches for the bull shark, which has been reported to frequent inland canals and rivers (and which is also the shark whose infamous series of 1916 attacks in New Jersey inspired Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws). Wade does in fact find and catch a bull shark, verifying the reports that this fish, which is responsible for more attacks on humans than great whites, is indeed in waters just off of people’s backyards. But perhaps Wade’s most interesting catch in Florida is when, while fishing for a bull shark, he inadvertently hauls in a Goliath grouper, a simply massive beast weighing around 350 pounds (see video below).
Next, Wade goes to Texas to hunt for the alligator gar. He follows reports and eyewitness sightings that lead him to an isolated canal where he attempts to find the creature. Then it’s on to a dam in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, where reports of gigantic catfish (even bigger than the one pictured at top) are circulating — and where a number of bodies have disappeared in the lake. During his quest for the catfish, Wade also encounters the bizarre-looking but harmless paddlefish. Finally, in Oklahoma, Wade tries his hand at noodling — catching fish by hand — for the first time, in his ongoing quest for enormous catfish. He helps two expert noodlers as they compete in a noodling competition, and engages in the dangerous task first-hand.
Coming up in the rest of Season 4, Wade will visit Southern Africa’s Okavanga Delta, Africa’s Zambezi River, India’s Himalayas, Russia, Mongolia and Australia. He will also feature a special on killer sharks and rays, as well as a two-hour season finale on May 27 that looks at one of his most challenging expeditions, a visit to the jungles of Guyana.
Leading up to the season premiere, from 8-9pm ET on April 1, Wade will be holding a live online chat at animalplanet.com/monsterchat. Ever wonder how he caught the infamous Goliath Tigerfish, for example? Now’s your chance to ask.
Photo credit: Alex Parkinson/Animal Planet