Chasing Monsters (the channel five series) was busy filming its second season last Thursday, when The Hope Standard met up with the show’s host Cyril Chaquet and crew in Yale, as Chaquet, attempted to catch a legendary Sturgeon named Walter from the Fraser River.
According to Yale First Nation member and ex-Chief Robert Hope, Walter is a gigantic 18 foot monster that calls the Fraser River home.
“A few people have hooked Walter, but nobody has landed him yet. He must be a metre in diameter — he’s a beautiful animal,” said Hope.
Chaquet and his three person team which includes, producer and director Geoffrey Uloth, and cameraman Carlo Harrietha are an adventurous documentary film crew; traversing the wilds, and capturing some of the most dangerous, and beastly creatures from the depths of the lakes, rivers, and oceans of the world’s most exotic locations.
The crew chose the stunning Fraser River location in Yale for the fishing and the reputation of the sturgeon beauties, gliding underneath its murky surface.
“If I caught an eight or nine footer that would be really good. An eight footer is supposed to be a trophy fish here, so if you catch an eight footer, you can consider yourself lucky,” said Chaquet.
“Chasing Monsters” just finished shooting in Lousiana with Chaquet attempting to catch alligator gar, and the infamously aggressive bullsharks native to the South, followed by a few days in Florida, prior to their arrival in Yale.
In Florida the Gulf sturgeon are known to cause accidents because they jump out of the water and they hit people on boats.
“Sturgeon there can get up to 300 pounds, so you don’t want to get hit by one of those,” he said. Bullsharks are supposedly a “mean shark” according to Chaquet, who was trying to catch one in a fresh water lake.
“They are known to run in fresh water lakes. The whole point of that shoot was to prove they can be found in freshwater.” According to Chaquet, Canadian waters are too cold for the beasts, but with the dawning of global warming that could change.
After Yale, the group of three is headed to Texas, and then South Africa. Their schedule is fast paced, dizzying and long, with 15 hour days on the open water.
“It’s non-stop and it’s all year round” he said.
The show’s producer and co-director Geoffrey Uloth had a few things to say about the wild ride the adventurous bunch has been on.
“It’s fishing, we never know what we’re going to get, so we have a schedule planned out with different guides, and different countries. We have an order in advance and we try to figure out what would make the best story; but, it totally depends on what kind of bite we get and what kind of fish we get, so sometimes, we re-arrange it. We shoot all day, and then we figure out what the story is.”
One of the most challenging things for Uloth is assuring the show’s quality level, so that it can compete with the plethora of shows in the highly competitive world of sports fishing.
“It’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of work, and a lot of effort,” he said.
Travelling is one of the best parts of the experience for the group, according to cameraman Carlo Harrietha
“We travel a lot, we meet a lot of nice people, we know all the good fishing spots too, and we know all the secrets of fishing,” he said.
“The most important thing is to have contact with people to know where they go to fish, but then at the same time to have real contact with them; whether it be on the boat or on the beach, so we have the time to share our private moments with people.”
Catching the right moment is an essential element to the art of sport fishing, and any type of skilled discipline according to Harrietha.
“Fishing, it’s always a matter of timing, you never know when it’s going to bite. It’s like a reality show, but with a live animal, so you have to wait for them, and it requires a lot of patience.”
Teamwork is also an essential component, and one that will keep members alive and well in dangerous conditions including swimming in piranha infested waters, which, the cast and crew of “Chasing Monsters” have been known to do on occasion.
“It’s important to be a good team — we’re on the road a long time together, and sometimes we get bitten. A few weeks back Chaquet was bitten by an alligator gar and he has the marks to prove it.”
The show that considers itself half fishing/half adventure, and compares itself to the Indiana Jones of fishing, recommends a first aid kit for all other adventure seekers.
The show airs in over 100 countries, and the new season is expected in June and July of 2017.