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'Fish Warrior' extreme fishing series starts Monday on National Geographic Channel

July 20, 2010 |  2:15 pm

Jakub Vâgner is all smiles as he poses with the massive 8-foot, 8-inch piraiba catfish he caught.

Following last Sunday's debut of the extreme fishing series "Monster Fish," the National Geographic Channel offers up another show in the popular genre. "Fish Warrior" follows adventurer and angler Jakub Vágner as he journeys on extreme fishing expeditions to the most remote regions of the world.

Premiering Monday at 9 p.m., the series follows Vágner he travels deep into the Amazon, searching both for the arapaima, which can weigh 400 pounds, as well as for the giant piraiba catfish, known to eat birds and monkeys. Vágner also visits Kenya’s Lake Turkana, where he seeks the 6-foot-long perch that makes the lake home and is a valuable but potentially deadly food source. Along the way, he meets the locals, observes their customs and hears surprising fishing legends.

Vágner, a lifelong adventure angler, holds many notable records, including one for catching 147 catfish in 40 hours and another for landing a 242-pound, 8-foot-long catfish on Italy's Po River. Vágner’s angling endeavors succeeded in proving the mass existence of catfish in the Czech Republic, and he is a passionate promoter of catch-and-release fishing.

The "Fish Warrior" series schedule and episode descriptions are after the jump.

Monday, July 26, 9 p.m.: Amazon Giant
Vágner treks deep into the Amazon in search of a river monster essentially unchanged since the Jurassic age -- the arapaima. These skilled predators can grow to massive proportions and eat just about anything, even snatching birds and monkeys from the water’s surface. It’s a grueling expedition, but after days of hiking, canoeing and camping in the jungle’s extreme environment, Vágner makes the catch of a lifetime, reeling in the biggest arapaima he’s ever seen -- a 10-foot-long specimen measuring nearly 5 feet in girth and weighing a whopping 325 pounds.

Monday, August 2, 9 p.m.: Colossal Catfish
Vágner ventures into the world’s largest rainforest to go head-to-head with the giant piraiba catfish. These behemoths are one of the largest catfish on Earth, with some growing to nearly 12 feet long and weighing a scale-busting 440 pounds. They use their whisker-like appendages to search for food, and, though mainly preying on other fish, have been known to eat birds and monkeys -- local legends even tell of these powerful predators dragging fishermen to the river’s bottom. Vágner endures torrential rain and sleep deprivation to catch this mega catfish of the Amazon.

Monday, August 9, 9 p.m.: Nile Mammoth
Vágner travels by any means necessary in search of the Nile perch in Lake Turkana, Kenya. This megafish, which can grow to about 6 feet and weigh more than 400 pounds, could be a popular export for the country, except for concerns about a potential parasite that may make the perch dangerous to eat.  Vágner is called in to catch a large specimen of the freshwater perch for scientists to examine and determine if there is in fact a deadly parasite problem. But extreme heat, wind and sandstorms make the journey treacherous and have Vágner struggling to push on.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Jakub Vágner is all smiles as he poses with a massive 8-foot-8-inch piraiba catfish he caught. Credit: NGT

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