National Geographic Reels in the Summer with 'Hooked'

Ravenous Flesh-Eating Carnivores, Fish with Human-Like Teeth, Stingrays the Size of Buffalo and a Conservationist on a Mission to Protect Them -- See the Amazing Encounters of Man and Megafish 

"The biggest fish we've seen!  A real-life Loch Ness monster." --  Zeb Hogan, fish biologist, conservationist and National Geographic Explorer

Popular Hooked Series Moves to Regular Night and Time with Summer Premieres -- Beginning Monday, June 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

(WASHINGTON, D.C. -- JUNE 12, 2009) Whether for science or sport, encountering the sheer power and size of the world's biggest fish is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  This summer, on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT, beginning June 29, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) brings the excitement of monster fishing home with a new season of Hooked.  We'll journey across the globe to see the most extreme encounters in megafishing and the groundbreaking research being done to protect these fish.  In each episode, we'll be there as avid anglers and scientists track, bait, catch and release fish of extraordinary proportions.  Then, in two episodes we join fish biologist, conservationist and National Geographic Explorer Zeb Hogan on a five-year mission to help preserve the world's biggest freshwater fish.  

From a colossal squid weighing in at more than 1,000 pounds to a stingray almost 12 feet long, each adrenaline-filled episode examines the environmental challenges these megafish face -- from climate change to pollution to overfishing.  Some of these Goliath fish have been around since the dinosaurs, and now, like their predecessors, they face extinction.  With each capture, conservationists and biologists can study these amazing creatures and begin the dialogue needed to analyze their sometimes dire situation and debate possible solutions.  As producer/filmmaker Dean Johnson says, "Most of the species I film won't be on this planet in the next 50 years, and each time I look through the viewfinder I realize the images we are capturing will be telling a story that others may never have the opportunity to see."

Read the rest of the press release...

Summer premieres include:

HOOKED: VAMPIRE FISH 

Monday, June 29, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT

Trek to remote regions of the world for up-close encounters with monster fish armed with mouthfuls of razor-sharp teeth.  In the Amazon, scientist Dr. Justin Grubich embarks on a risky expedition to record the dental imprints of two natural-born killers -- the pacu, a cousin of the piranha with teeth and jaws that look human, and the "vampire fish."  Nicknamed for its 2-inch fangs, this megafish can literally "suck your blood."  By studying their bite impressions, Grubich hopes to learn how these river monsters are adapting to a food chain affected by pollution.  Then, in the Congo, join the hunt for an elusive river assassin that bears teeth like a dragon and fights with the fury of a pit bull -- the Goliath tiger fish. 

Down under in Australia, see a group of fishing daredevils reel in a great white as we've never seen before -- using just a rod and reel, they swim bait out into shark-filled waters and pull in their catch ... from shore, using a vehicle!  In order to tag and track the migration and growth patterns of great whites, the ingenious team fashioned a special chair that hooks to a truck, allowing them to reel in their catch safely.  Then, we come face-to-face with the long, broad snout and daggerlike teeth of the alligator gar in the southeastern United States.

HOOKED: MONSTER FISH OF THAILAND 

Monday, July 6, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT

The giant freshwater stingray is a megapredator, a true-life Loch Ness monster that can kill with a swipe of its tail! Amazingly, the elusive leviathan was discovered only 20 years ago and already it's on the vulnerable list.  Fish biologist, conservationist and National Geographic Explorer Zeb Hogan is on a mission to find these remarkable creatures as part of the Megafishes Project, a five-year study supported by the National Geographic Society.  He'll head to Thailand, one of the last places on Earth where the freshwater stingray thrives, to see some with his own eyes, and reel them in for a closer look.  Hogan will dive into the murky water to learn more about their mysterious behavior--where they roam, how many there are and which areas need protection. 

Then, be there for the milestone moment when Hogan hooks the biggest stingray he's ever seen. Measuring more than 11 feet long, it takes 12 men to lift the monster ashore.  Based on the dimensions, Hogan believes it could possibly be a world record-breaking fish.  But, upon further examination, an ultrasound revealed the giant was actually pregnant and the decision was made to not weigh her (a process that involves removing the fish from the water for a short time).  Fortunately, the capture, tag and release of this once-in-a-lifetime stingray is all on film for the world to see! 

HOOKED: MONSTER FISH OF MONGOLIA 

Monday, July 13, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT

In this episode, Zeb Hogan continues his quest to find and protect the world's largest freshwater fish, in the frigid rivers of Mongolia.  He travels by plane, truck and horseback to find the Hucho taimen -- an oversized version of the trout we have in the United States.  These ultimate aquatic predators can grow up to 6 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds and eat just about anything -- including muskrats, bats, squirrels, mice, ducks and even each other!  Once king of the river, the species is quickly disappearing.  Healthy populations of the taimen are now found in only the most remote and pristine regions of Mongolia and Russia.  In other locations, populations have declined due to mining, pollution and dams.  In those places, it's the fish, not its prey, that fights for survival.  Join Hogan and a team of scientists, anglers and local Mongolians as they track down these elusive fish in an attempt to preserve them from extinction.

HOOKED: MONSTERS OF THE DEEP 

Monday, July 20, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT

NGC hooks some of the biggest, baddest and most ferocious underwater creatures on the planet in this episode.  See a team of commercial fishermen hook the largest invertebrate the world has ever seen -- a colossal squid weighing 1,091 pounds and measuring 26 feet long!  These megamonsters rarely rise the thousands of feet from the depths of the ocean to the surface, making this catch truly one of a kind.  After a grueling three-hour battle, the crew donates the record-breaking discovery for scientific study to further ocean and squid conservation.  Next, a fishing enthusiast takes drastic measures after making the catch of a lifetime.  Upon releasing a 130-pound giant trevally, the angler realizes the fish is sinking and jumps into shark-filled waters to save the injured creature.  Off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, an expert angler struggles to reel in a 1,400-pound tiger shark that's bigger than his boat!  In Thailand, a local boy brings in the world-record freshwater catch on rod and reel -- a giant stingray weighing a quarter of a ton with a 7-foot wingspan.  And in England, anglers battle with the king of eels -- called the conger, these serpentine stalkers can reach lengths of 9 feet and weigh more than 250 pounds.

Other upcoming episodes: 

A catfish the size of a grizzly bear, a snakehead fish that walks on land, a thousand-pound marlin with a deadly sharp bill, fishing rituals in Papua New Guinea and fanatic fishermen who use their own arms for bait:  These are just a few of the astounding fishing stories seen in Hooked.

About Zeb Hogan

National Geographic Explorer and conservationist Zeb Hogan is the director of the Megafishes Project, a five-year study to help protect these monsters of the deep supported by the National Geographic Society.  He earned an undergraduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of California, Davis.  He was a Fulbright scholar at the Environmental Risk Assessment Program at Thailand's Chiang Mai University, and has also served as a World Wildlife Fund freshwater fellow.  Hogan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2004.  He is now an associate research professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

"Science is not our only tool; I also use photography to get people excited about conservation," Hogan says.  "A picture of a 10-foot-long fish can really take your breath away!"

For more information, please visit natgeotv.com/hooked.

1 Comment

Dr.Justin Grubich,
I was friends with you at University of Miami. I wanted to congratulate you on Hooked. It's an awesome show and my ten year old loves it. He wants to be a paleotologist when he grows up. He knows everything about them. Anyway we were watching you the other night and he loves the show. Stay on a long time, you've got loyal viewers.
You've done well for yourself Mister SAE.
Gretchen
kwbaughs@yahoo.com

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