By All Accounts, 'River Monsters' Is One of the Most Legit Reality Shows Around

How real is 'River Monsters' with Jeremy Wade? It's true not all reality shows are created equal, so how does the popular fishing program stack up?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

May 14 2021, Published 1:21 p.m. ET

River Monsters
Source: YouTube

Everyone knows that reality TV shows aren't exactly the "realest" around. With pre-scripted scenarios, straight-up fabricated events, and re-enactments conveniently posing as "off the cuff" interactions, most reality TV shows are just awfully-acted dramas where none of the "actors" are required to become unionized.

While that's to be expected of shows like The Hills and Keeping up With the Kardashians, is that the case with more educational shows like River Monsters? How real is Jeremy Wade's program?

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Is 'River Monsters' real? It sure seems like it.

It's difficult to argue with Jeremy Wade's credentials. The man has been a lifelong fisherman who's legit traveled the world in order to catch some of the world's rarest fish — usually of the freshwater variety.

What's interesting about the program is that many reports state that the production crew did their best to stay away from some of the chintzy and "cheap" thrills of other shows.

For example, they weren't jumping the gun to film injuries. Sure, Jeremy would get his hands and arms cut by some of the sharp teeth of the crazy fish he'd catch on the program, but they are keener to get folks medical attention when they get hurt instead of just filming it for the shock value.

When Wade got his hand slammed in a car door and he wanted to put the injury on camera, production was more concerned with getting him help.

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River Monsters
Source: YouTube

Then there's the fact that Wade is absolutely obsessed with learning as much as he can about the fish he's attempting to capture. In fact, all of the research that they're doing off-camera has resulted in some truly fascinating finds.

There was the mystery involving a missing bride that was purportedly dragged to her death in the river by a huge stingray. Wade managed to capture the ginormous beast and inform locals of the power it holds.

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He also spent a whopping four hours trying to reel in a poisonous stingray in Argentina. Kind of hard to cram that entire struggle into a single episode, but the show managed to pull it off.

Wade's no stranger to suffering for his passion. He's sustained a ton of injuries over the years both on the show and off. From being gouged by super-sharp fishing hooks to having his skin deteriorate from touching the toxic slime of exotic fish, he's been through it all.

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This one story that predates 'River Monsters' is so crazy, some folks can't believe it's real.

In one crazy story, Jeremy Wade was arrested on suspicion of being a spy while fishing in the Mekong River in Southeast Asia because they just couldn't believe that some random dude decided to up and fish there for fun. 

He was detained and questioned, but everything seems to have turned out OK for the fishing enthusiast as he was released and went back to his fish-capturing ways.

While it may seem a bit "convenient" that Wade's able to capture the fish that he sets out to catch for the show that's just because he's really, really good at it. The man's been doing it for fun way before he got a TV show. 

In fact, he got so good at it that it was the main reason why River Monsters ended: Jeremy Wade was able to cross off every fish from his bucket list so they stopped filming. Not bad.

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In case you're wondering, Jeremy's also all about the thrill of the catch, not mounting whatever "prized" fish he captured. The man always releases the fishes he catches, no matter how glorious. That's because he considers himself a legitimate animal research biologist before being a fisherman.

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And as for the "leads" that Wade and his crew follow for the show, none of them are conjured. They get real accounts from local fishermen and others. While they don't always get to the bottom of the leads that are presented to them, they almost always manage to get their hands on a super cool and strange-looking water-dwelling creature.

And while Wade may act fearlessly when capturing these amazing creatures, he has admitted that there was one thing that scared him above all on his adventures: roads. In many of the countries he's driven in, the roads are absolutely treacherous and the automobiles aren't exactly maintained up to the highest standards.

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