Animal Planet’s series “River Monsters,” the show that brings the mysterious creatures of the deep to our living rooms, is set to air its ninth and final season on Sunday, April 23. Season 9 takes care of “unfinished business” and host Jeremy Wade gets to turn a loss into a W.
“There is one fish that I failed to get and we go back for a rematch,” Wade told Metro. “There’s an old score that needs settling.”
In seasons past, Wade investigated reports of killer catfish pulling people under the water never to be seen again, reeled in a 208-pound stingray for four hours, finally caught a goliath tiger fish in most inaccessible part of the Congo River on the third try after two failed expeditions, dove as deep in the water as the Empire State Building is tall, and chased sea serpents.
So, what else is there?
“Although we’re getting short of material,” Wade said, “we’ve kept the best stuff to the last.”
The ninth season of “River Monsters” will include an “ice cold killer” as Wade follows the trail of an unknown sea monster, killers that impale snorkelers and fishermen lurking in coral reefs, terror on a volcanic island and the “killer catfish” returns.
Finding fish that are becoming rarer than they were 100 years ago, Wade said, all began with a list of six to 10 fish.
“The thing about ‘River Monsters’ is our subject matter is finite,” biologist and extreme angler Wade said. “It’s not something like a home makeover show where you can keep going.”
With such threats as overfishing, pollution and climate change, it’s very important that Wade and the crew go to the right place at the right time; the annual river cycle has gotten unpredictable during the past decade, he said.
“River Monsters” isn’t just for viewer entertainment or education. Catch-and-release fishing is a part of the show, which has an audience of 50 percent women, but there is a broader message.
Wade told Metro that the show has inspired young kids to study marine biology.
Wade said he has worked with scientists on a number of occasions, especially when trying to get near a fish that is under a particular threat.
“Scientists need specimens, so I can help them get specimens from which they can take DNA samples,” Wade explained.
Scientists can also tag the river monsters to study their lifespans and habits. Wade said he worked with scientists to catch bull sharks in South Africa and tiger sharks in the Bahamas.
The most dangerous don’t always have the treacherous-looking jaws or razor-sharp teeth, Wade added. The electric eel can produce 500 volts, which could paralyze a person in knee-deep water, causing them to fall face down and drown.
The electric eel detects electricity in the water, like the microcurrents from a beating heart, and goes in to finish the job.
“I spoke to someone once who was shocked,” Wade recalled, “and the electric eel wrapped around their chest and just kept shocking them.”
There are plenty of fish in the sea, Wade admits, “but it’s the fact that you can put a camera in the water, but you’re not going to see anything, so I wanted to show there’s large and outlandish things [in rivers].”
But this isn’t the last of Wade. “I bought a very nice pair of slippers. I have a few years of mobility left … There are a few stories connected with the underwater world I would [still] like to tell.”
“River Monsters” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on Discovery’s Animal Planet.
To commemorate the final season, fans of the show can vote for their favorite episodes. Wade will reveal the top fan favorites during a marathon leading up to the premiere.
Catch up and stream past seasons on AnimalPlanetGO.com or by downloading the Animal Planet GO app.
During the season, Animal Planet’s original digital series “How to Catch a River Monster” will return as Wade dives even deeper into the techniques, technologies and equipment used to hook each monster, along with the care and handling required for its release.
Fans will also have the opportunity to submit questions to Wade via social media which will be answered on air each week, and for the first time can get a rare glimpse inside Wade’s life and adventures by following him on Instagram.