River Monsters – Season 4 – Episode 7 – Mongolian Mauler

It’s already Episode 7 for season 4 of River Monsters. Jeremy has traveled to Mongolia this time, in search of a Taimen. A fish he has wanted to catch since he was a child after reading the old folk tale about the Taimen. “A taimen was trapped under ice in a village where starving livestock herders made it through the harsh winter by slicing off pieces of the fish. When spring came and the ice melted the fish climbed on land and ate all the herders”.   Obviously this is a pretty far fetched tale, but it still shows how much locals fear this fish. The Taimen can grow to 6′ long and has a mouth filled with needle sharp teeth, surely a River Monster or a Tank Terror, if you’ve got a river sized tank that is.

Jeremy is going to Northern Mongolia, an area where the fish might still be thriving due to the extreme remoteness of the area. There isn’t much as far as human life in the remote wilderness, so the fish hasn’t been fished into near extinction like it has in more populated areas. Funny enough, he lands in a town called Moron, Mongolia. To people there it probably isn’t funny but where I come from “Moron” is a term used to describe a stupid person. So the fact that the town is called Moron is quite amusing. After landing Jeremy discovers that no local people really know much about the Taimen because no one there seems to fish. They don’t eat fish and killing them is bad luck, so they have nothing to offer Jeremy as far as tips or tricks. He heads down to a River to try his luck.

He once again tries fly fishing, with pretty much instant success. He lands a fish, but it’s hardly a River Monster. It’s a small Siberian Dace (Leuciscus baicalensis), a member of the carp family. As Jeremy says, he is on the food chain now, he just needs to move to the top.

Siberian Dace (Leuciscus baicalensis)

He meets up with Janga (I assume this is the spelling) who is taking Jeremy over 100 miles into the wilderness. In search of the elusive Taimen. It is so remote a 6×6 army truck is needed to make the journey, 100 miles of off road wilderness would not be so kind to a normal vehicle. The area he is travelling to is a lawless, his guide has been shot at in the past while camping here. After 10 hours of driving they make it to a river, that is an average of only 10mph. Janga tells Jeremy the story about being shot at in the past, presumably by gold hunters who want him out of the area. It is sort of like the old wild west, there are no police, it is far to remote. So the renegade gold diggers shoot at anyone to scare them off.

Jeremy is finally at the remote river, searching for the Taimen. He finds some tiny Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) and Lenok (Brachymystax lenok) in a smaller stream, where they are safe from larger predators such as the Taimen. This is a good sign though, it means there is food for the Taimen in the river he is fishing in. He lands a fish but unfortunately it is not a Taimen. It is a Lenok, much larger than the tiny ones he saw in the stream earlier. This one is about 3lbs, but still not what he is looking for. The teams runs across a deadly snake (Gloydius halys), a relative of the pit viper. They move it very far from camp as anti venom or any medical help is a long way away. After more fishing Jeremy lands a Grayling, but still no Taimen.

Lenok (Brachymystax lenok)

After days of drifting down the Delger-Moron River, Jeremy still has no luck catching a Taimen. This is surely frustrating as he didn’t catch other Monsters he was looking for in earlier episodes this season as well. He visits with a local shaman, hoping for some much needed luck. He is now back on the river, hoping for better luck catching a Taimen. Jeremy can see a large shape heading for his lure in the water, it strikes and he begins reeling the monster in. He gets the fish right next to the boat but unfortunately at the last minute he loses it. After resetting and trying his luck some more he finally lands another one, but this time it doesn’t get away. Jeremy has finally caught the elusive Taimen. It is not the Monster he is hoping for but it is a decent size. So the next day he tries one more time and with a stroke of luck lands another Taimen, this one much larger than the first. His childhood dream of landing a Monster Taimen finally comes true. The most impressive part is that is was on a fly with a fly rod, which is much more challenging than a standard bait cast or spin cast fishing reel.

Jeremy Wade and his guide Janga holding the larger of the two Siberian Taimen he caught in the Delger-Moron river.

An example of how large the Siberian Taimen can get, this one is around 6′ long and what looks to be at least 100lbs.

 Update, here is some Video from this episode.

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