Fish Warrior is a TV series shown on the National Geographic channel. To date there have been two series, each consisting of three episodes. It is presented by Jakub Vágner who is described as a “champion Czech angler with a bag of world record catches under his belt.” The show appears to be very similar to River Monsters as Vágner travels the world seeking to catch exceptionally large freshwater species (it should be noted that River Monsters predates Fish Warrior by one year). Across the episodes he targets include Nile perch, alligator gar and the Wels catfish – all species which have featured on River Monsters.
Vágner is certainly an enthusiastic screen presence, and although he comes across as incredibly earnest he is clearly passionate about both catching fish and protecting and conserving the species featured in the show. The species caught are certainly impressive – in the episode entitled “Texas Titan” he catches an alligator gar which is measured as being 74 inches (1.8 metres) long, and in “Colossal Catfish” he catches a massive Wels catfish which is larger than he is. Indeed, it is revealed in this episode that Vágner holds the IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) “All Tackle” world record for this species with a specimen weighing 242lb.
Vágner is certainly an enthusiastic screen presence, and although he comes across as incredibly earnest he is clearly passionate about both catching fish and protecting and conserving the species featured in the show. It is unclear whether the show is aware of how ridiculous it sounds at times as lines like “I’m Jakub Vágner and I have one passion – catching monster fish!” and “Jacob Vágner always gets his fish!” are difficult to take seriously, as is the loud rock music which begins when he is reeling in a large fish. He is also referred to as the “fish warrior” throughout the show, which adds to the silliness.
Like most of these shows there is little discussion of tactics and equipment and the programme is squarely aimed at a mainstream audience. Vágner is obviously successful at catching large freshwater fish and cares deeply at conservation. He is distressed by the falling numbers of alligator gar in the “Texas Titan” episode and cannot understand how some large specimens have been killed and simply strung up in a tree and not even utilised as a source of food. He catches a number of alligator gar himself but tags and releases them as part of a US conservation scheme.
Although some of the dialogue may be classed as cringeworthy Fish Warrior is still an interesting and entertaining show which anyone interested in fishing will enjoy. Vágner is a constant combination of enthusiasm and entertainment, and the programme has a pleasant focus on conservation and catch and release fishing.