World record-holding angler Jakub Vagner has dedicated his life to catching the world’s biggest fish. These fish are rare and extremely tough to catch, but Jakub is a daring fisherman who’ll do whatever it takes to discover the secret lifestyles of these mighty predators.
Animal Planet in its new programme BIG FISH MAN introduces Jakub Vagner who’s heading out on a series of incredible journeys to some of the most inaccessible waters on the planet, hunting down freshwater giants that grow bigger than a man.
In BIG FISH MAN, Jakub embarks on extreme fishing expeditions to the most remote regions of the world in search of fish that have never before been filmed in the wild - many weighing more than 200kg and measuring over six metres in length.
His exploits take viewers to a variety of remote locations Congo, Mongolia, Europe, Canada, Thailand, Ecuador and Peru. Carrying all his kit and supplies, Jakub spends days trekking through unforgiving jungle and paddling against wild river currents. He survives using the hunting and foraging skills he’s honed over almost two decades of fishing missions.
On these visually stunning adventures, he tries to land the Amazon’s largest freshwater fish in Ecuador and the mighty Goliath Tiger Fish, with its 32 shark-like teeth, in Congo. He enlists the help of nomadic reindeer herders to land a giant Taimen in the ice cold rapids of the Shishgid River in Mongolia, and tries to catch a massive Northern Pike in the Canadian sub-Arctic even though their natural habitat is completely frozen over.
The series is packed with drama and danger. Jakub is stubborn and determined as time after time he faces nature at its most extreme.
BIG FISH MAN is airing on Animal Planet; Monday to Friday at 10 PM, from October 12 to November 6.
Who is Jakub Vágner
Jakub Vágner (born 24 December 1981), from Prague, Czech Republic, is a musician, television presenter and extreme angler specializing in travel and natural history. Jakub Vágner is a lifelong angler and world record-holding fisherman. Vágner embarks on extreme fishing expeditions to the most remote regions of the world in search of some of the largest and rarest fish.
In recent years Jakub has focused on trips to the Amazon River basin in South America as well as the Dark Continent, where he has been investigating the last pearl of Africa, Congo. In the past he has worked as a fishing guide in many European countries and led expeditions to countries of the former Soviet Union. As a successful guide in Australia, Jakub worked for Big Game Fishing, landing swordfish, tuna, and sharks.
Jakub Vágner holds many world records for catching the largest arapaima (Arapaima gigas) weighing 130 kg, Wels catfish (Silurus glanis) weighing 110 kg, devil catfish (Bagarius bagarius) weighing 75 kg, or the legendary Amazonian goliath catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum), actually breaking the record three times in a row.
In February of 2008, he first landed a goliath weighing 190 kg, which was also the largest purely freshwater fish which had ever been caught. During a three-week Amazonian expedition in late February and early March of 2010, he caught another two goliaths weighing 186 and 215 kg, breaking his own world record. On the same trip, he broke the three meter barrier for freshwater fishing when he battled an arapaima measuring 307 cm and weighing 154 kg. This catch was yet another world record for Jakub Vágner and arapaima gigas.
He has produced fishing documentaries which are regularly broadcast by television stations in the Czech Republic and abroad. He also has made 14 DVDs with Multisonic which have sold more than 500,000 copies in the Czech Republic alone. For his work, in March 2010 Jakub Vágner received a multi-platinum disc. He is also the creator of the 20-part television serial “S Jakubem na rybách” (Fishing with Jacob), which is broadcast by Czech and Slovak state television. He is a frequent guest on the most prestigious talk shows on television and radio. He has given countless interviews for magazines, regularly writes for Czech and international trade magazines about his experiences, and also gives lectures in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe. He has taken many celebrities fishing, athletes, cultural icons, and even the president of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus.
Jakub Vágner’s greatest dream is to map the largest and extremely rare freshwater fish of our planet. Jakub calls them “Freshwater giants”. He has created a list of 24 freshwater giants, representing the top predators of the Earth’s largest rivers and lakes. Each of these giants can reach a weight of 100 kg and length of 2 m. For 8 years, Jakub and his team have traveled to all the continents of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. After many grueling expeditions, 16 freshwater giants have already been mapped.
In 2010 he finished and published his first book, titled “My Friend the Catfish“, which was a long 13 years in the making. He has had several exhibitions of his photography, and his accompanying commentary has been broadcast by the Discovery Channel / Animal Planet.
1. The first official IGFA* world record in the All-Tackle category was the catch of an Arapaima gigas in length of 249 cm and weight of 130 kg (286 lbs. 9 oz.). Jakub Vágner caught this gigantic Arapaima gigas (Piraruca) in Brazil in the basin of Amazon on 17 August 2008.
2. The sport fisherman Jakub Vágner managed to set another IGFA world record in the All-Tackle category during his fishing in April 2007. He caught catfish of gigantic dimensions. One of them was 243 cm long and its weight was 102 kg, the other, the one to beat the world record,was 251 cm and 110 kg (242 lbs. 8 oz.). Both were caught in the Italian large stream of Po during the shoots of the film about fishing for catfish “The Legend Called Catfish” that depicts successful catfish-fishing expeditions of the last several years. Both fish, after successfully tackling and documenting them, were given back to the waters.
3. The third official IGFA world record in the All-Tackle category is the catch of a Swai catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) with a weight of 21.3 kg (46lbs. 15oz.). Jakub Vágner angled this catfish in Thailand on 9. May 2009 in the Bung Sam Lan Lake…
4. In January 2008, Jakub managed to create already the fourth official IGFA world record in the All-Tackle category: he caught a rare Kokuni catfish with a weight of 30 kg (66 lbs. 2 oz.) at the Congo river in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This catfish was angled during the shoots for a film in a country that is being considered the last pearl of Africa by adventurers.
(* IGFA - International Game Fish Association World Records)