Extreme Fishing With Robson Green

Monday 20 December, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure show with Robson Green comes to an end. In this week’s series finale, the Geordie lad heads to California to complete his world tour in dramatic style. After wrestling with a big blue shark, Robson embarks on a night-time expedition to catch giant squid, then fly-fishes for rainbow trout in the tranquil but breathtaking waters of the Colorado river. After seven months spent on the road, Robson has finally reached the last destination of his fishing world tour – California. With its 800 miles of Pacific coastline and stunning desert-fringe lakes, the state promises to provide a dramatic climax to the Geordie’s adventure. Robson begins his American road trip at Mission Bay in San Diego, where he teams up with guide David for a fly-fishing experience with a difference. The pair will be using a rod and reel, but are not going after the trout to which Robson is accustomed. Instead, the anglers are after blue sharks, aggressive predators that can grow up to four metres long and weigh 400lb. “This may seem a bit nuts,” says Robson as he heads out to sea. “But for a fly fisherman like myself, it’s the ultimate challenge.” Upon arrival at an area ominously known as Shark Valley, David empties a bucketful of chum into the water to attract the hungry predators to the boat. As he sees a huge grey object rising to the surface, Robson’s confidence wanes. “I’ll be honest with you – I’m a bit scared,” he admits. But there is no time to reflect on the situation as the intrepid angler gets his first big bite. Following a tough struggle and a good deal of assistance from David, Robson eventually manages to bring in a 150lb giant. “Absolutely unbelievable,” he says. “That is the biggest fish I’ve ever caught on a fly line – and I don’t think I want to catch another one!” Despite his tiring day on the water, Robson heads back to Mission Bay that evening for a special night-time fishing trip. “The creature I’m after could be straight out of a monster movie,” he says. He and his fellow anglers are seeking the giant Humboldt squid – a large, intelligent marine predator with powerful tentacles, a razor-sharp beak and a reputation for attacking humans.

Monday 13 December, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure show with Robson Green continues. This week, the actor heads to Florida, the king of all fishing destinations. Anglers from all over the world gather here to fish the thousands of miles of sea and rich inland waters – and Robson soon realises why. After landing some good-sized grouper, a tilapia and a giant sailfish, the intrepid fisherman goes after the ultimate marine predator. As Robson arrives in the fishing wonderland of Florida, he is greeted with the coldest spell the state has suffered for some 85 years. “You travel all this way to the Sunshine State and it’s blowing a gale!” he reflects. Refusing to let the weather dampen his mood, the actor teams up with captain Taco Perez at Fort Lauderdale and is soon on the open ocean on the trail of sailfish. Having never managed to net this beast, nicknamed the ballerina of the seas owing to its grace and power, Robson is determined that his luck will change. “America is my best chance to bag one,” he says. Despite Taco’s confidence, the sailfish are nowhere to be seen. After hours at sea, the anglers have caught nothing – until a flurry of activity attracts their attention. Taco catches a bull dorado, then leaves it in the water in order to attract females to the area. The ploy works very well, and Robson manages to land half a dozen good-sized fish in just five minutes. However, the sailfish remains elusive. The next stop for Robson is Miami, an hour’s drive south from Fort Lauderdale. To maximise the chances of fulfilling his sailfish dream, the actor joins up with local legend Bouncer Smith, who claims to have caught some 13,000 game fish in a 30-year career. Once out at sea, Robson quickly gets a bite and manages to bring in a remora, or suckerfish – a bizarre-looking fish that attaches itself to large predators for protection and transportation. He then lands a huge king mackerel. “Now that’s a lovely specimen, but I still feel like a kid who has been given the wrong present,” he says. After four hours at sea, Robson is about to give up when he suddenly gets a big bite. A flash of silver in the distance confirms his suspicions that this is a sailfish – and a big one. “What a rush!” he shouts. “There’s nothing like this!” The fish fights well, but, with the aid of Bouncer and his mate, the intrepid angler eventually manages to bring it in. “There we have it,” he enthuses. “The fastest ocean-going predator on the planet – the Atlantic sailfish!”

Monday 6 December, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure show with Robson Green continues. This week, the actor heads to India, but fails to catch any of the huge fish reported to occupy the surrounding waters. Following a few days without any success, Robson attempts to reverse his fortunes with a trip to the Maldives, only to encounter some rare bad weather. Eventually, the Geordie hits some fishing form and lands a variety of reef predators. As he arrives in the city of Kochi on the south-west coast of India, Robson has high hopes for this leg of his journey. “I can’t wait to discover what treats lie in store for me,” he enthuses. The fishing starts immediately in the medieval port town of Old Kochi, where local fishermen continue to use a technique introduced in the early 15th century. Known as Cheena vala, the system involves giant cantilevered wooden structures attached to large nets. Working from the shore, the fishermen lower the nets into the water with the aid of ropes and stone counterweights, then bring the nets back up after just a few minutes in the water. Robson’s first attempt at Cheena vala fishing lands him a few tiddlers, including tiny catfish, sardines, baby tigerfish and an unusual-looking frogfish. After a few more tries, Robson accompanies his guides to market to sell the day’s catch. “It’s a great team effort,” he says. However, while the Geordie seems competent at landing the fish, he is less experienced when it comes to trading. In the end, he sells the entire catch for a measly 20 rupees, but promises to make up the difference from his own wallet. “I’ve clearly got a lot to learn about selling fish in this country!” he reflects. That evening, Robson gets the opportunity to brush up on his acting skills when he takes part in a kathakali performance – a mix of dance, drama and music. Once suitably kitted out in colourful costume and makeup, Robson takes on the role of a small female fish and performs a bizarre dance in front of a bemused audience.

Monday 29 November, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure show with Robson Green continues. This week, the intrepid Geordie heads to Panama in Central America, where more game-fishing records are held than anywhere else in the world. Making the most of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, Robson goes in search of peacock bass, tarpon, dorado, sierra mackerel and some big-game billfish. Robson’s Panamanian adventure begins in the 164sq ft Lake Gatun in the middle of the Panama canal. To increase his chances of landing some of the beautiful peacock bass reported to inhabit these waters, Robson has joined up with world record-holding angler and local legend Ciccio, who is brimming with confidence about this trip. “I can’t wait to get stuck in!” enthuses Robson. After feeding fruit to some local monkeys, Robson casts his first line with assurance. However, it is not until a few hours and several unsuccessful casts later that Robson lands his first peacock. “I’m happy about the fish, but I’m even happier I best Ciccio to the prize!” he says. Not to be outdone, Ciccio quickly brings in another – much larger – fish, but Robson’s good mood remains. “What a way to start my trip!” he says. “I’m beginning to fall in love with Panama.” The following morning, Robson returns to Lake Gatun to meet up with Marcial, a member of the native Embera tribe. The pair’s task for the morning is to catch lunch for the whole village – some 31 people. However, while Robson may be accustomed to fishing with hi-tech boats and rods, he now pins his hopes of success on a hand-held line with a simple plastic lure, and a ramshackle rowing boat. This particular area is said to be good for bream and snook, both of which are great to eat. However, after hours of trying, Robson and his guide catch nothing, and must return to the village empty handed when the boat begins to sink. Following a disappointing morning, Robson heads east to the Bayano River, where tarpon weighing up to 200lbs have been caught in the past. Known locally as s�balo, these fish are one of the all-time greats of game fishing, and are renowned for being fierce fighters. Once again, Robson finds himself having to wait for a bite. “I think I’m going to have to be patient,” he says. Under the tutelage of an expert local guide, Robson eventually lands his first fish – a big tarpon that fights to the last second. “Today was not about quantity, it was about quality. That is an absolute stunner!” he says.

Monday 22 November, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, the Geordie heads to Japan, where he encounters a culture quite obsessed with fish. After dicing with death in attempting to catch and eat the highly poisonous fugu, Robson goes in search of the tiny ayu, some bottomdwelling sea snails and the magnificent oilfish. Robson starts his Japanese adventure with an early morning visit to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market – the largest fish market in the world. Ten per cent of all the fish caught across the globe pass through this vast emporium, which takes millions of pounds every day. Some 400 different types of seafood are sold here – amongst them the highly poisonous fugu, or blowfish. “It says a lot about the Japanese that their favourite delicacy is a fish that could send you six feet under,” reflects Robson. “And they’ll pay up to a hundred quid for the pleasure!” Unfortunately for him, Robson’s experience of the iconic fugu does not end at Tsukiji. The following morning, the Geordie joins a local fisherman for a perilous trip into the unknown. “It’s bewildering and petrifying at the same time,” he says. Having donned several layers of protective clothing to safeguard against the deadly toxins in the fish’s skin, Robson helps prepare the lines. So valuable are the blowfish that Robson’s guide lays some 1,500 hooks to ensure he does not return to land with nothing. After a long wait on the calm seas, it is time to pull in the lines. Will Robson have caught his first fugu, and will he live to tell the tale if he does? “The suspense is killing me!” he says. The next stop is the Kano river, where the intrepid angler prepares for a fishing trip with a difference. A popular sport in this region involves dressing in wetsuits and using live bait to catch ayu, a tiny but supposedly delicious fish. Using a method known locally as ayu-no-tomozuri, Robson and his guide hook a live ayu, then release it into the water. When the hooked fish encounters another, a fight will break out and the second fish will also become ensnared – or at least that is the theory. After four hours in the water, Robson has had no luck. “I’m reliant on how aggressive my little fish is feeling,” he says. “Unfortunately, this one seems to be a bit of a pacifist.” Half an hour and a change of bait later, Robson finally manages to catch a tiny fish – but promptly drops it when removing it from the net.

Monday 15 November, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, the Geordie heads to Cuba, where he finds an unexpected fishing wonderland. When not salsa dancing or taking in the unique culture and beautiful scenery on land, Robson goes after the spectacular tarpon, the lightningfast bonefish and the delicious-tasting grouper. Robson starts his Cuban adventure in Havana, where he elects to stay in the famous Nacional Hotel, wich has played host to such legends as Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Ant and Dec. His first fishing expedition of the trip takes him to the Malec�n, an esplanade stretching along the city’s coastline. Joining a number of locals fishing for their dinner, Robson clambers onto the sea wall and casts his line – but is soon hit by the first of many waves. “This is like fishing in a washing machine!” he cries. Having landed just a solitary sardine from the Malec�n, Robson moves on to the watery wilderness that makes up much of Cuba. An hour’s drive south-east takes him to the Rio Hatiguanico, one of the country’s biggest rivers, where he hopes to catch the elusive tarpon. Renowned for their ability to jump high out of the water, these fish are notoriously tough to land. To increase his chances of success, Robson hooks up with local guides Lazaro and Philippe and starts his journey upriver. Before long, Robson gets his first tarpon bite. True to form, however, the slippery fish shakes free of the hook. The Geordie tries again, but the same things happens. “Just how many tarpon am I going to hook and lose today?” he asks. “This is torture!” In fact, Robson manages to miss a tarpon some 12 times, before eventually taking on the advice of his guides and mastering the art. When he finally brings in his quarry, he is elated. “How about that for a beautiful-looking fish!” he exclaims. The experts are pleased for their guest’s success, but clearly less impressed with his histrionics. “What a drama queen!” observes Philippe. After another drive through the beautiful Cuban countryside, Robson arrives at his next angling destination – the remote island of Cayo Romano at the north-east of the country. Sparsely populated and rarely fished, these waters offer excellent angling opportunities. Robson’s prey on this occasion is the fast and elusive bonefish

Monday 8 November, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, Robson heads to the coast of west Africa to take on the monsters of the Atlantic in a trip filled with thrilling fishing firsts, a broken rod, some mammoth catches and a surprise appearance from a large shark. Robson flies in to Dakar in Senegal, then faces a bumpy five-hour drive across the country to the port town of Saint-Louis. There he visits a horribly flyblown fish market – evidence of the teeming marine life off the Senegalese coast. However, Robson is keen to land some big game fish, so is soon on the hunt for the Atlantic sailfish. These brutes can weigh up to 140lbs and reach speeds of 60mph. Robson is so excited by the prospect of landing one of these beauties that he practises his technique in his hotel room the night before with a broom and pillow. Due to the size and strength of the sailfish, timing is crucial. After getting a bite but receiving conflicting advice from his instructors, Robson does not strike soon enough and loses the prize catch. Luckily, a floating piece of whale blubber attracts a feeding frenzy and three fish are snagged at the same time. “We’ve got a pack attack here!” an excited Robson shouts. These transpire to be large-sized dorado fish -will Robson be able to reel them in? Robson’s next stop is Guinea-Bissau, a country about which he is completely ignorant. “I have no idea where it is – it’s a heck of an adventure even getting there!” he says. The remote country is an hour’s flight from Senegal. From there, Robson has to complete a five-hour bus journey, then travel a further three hours by boat to the desert island of Unhocomozinho. “This is Extreme Fishing with Robson Crusoe,” the actor quips as they land. Robson has made the effort to come to Guinea- Bissau to fish its teeming waters for red snapper and barracuda. Within seconds of casting his line, he hauls out two red snappers, followed by a bigeye jackfish, giving the Geordie a rare fishing hat trick. “Three casts, three fish – get in!” he jubilantly crows. The fish are so abundant off the coast that it is reportedly possible to fish straight from the shoreline. Robson tests this theory and soon lands himself a marbled grouper, renowned for being one of the tastiest fish to eat in the world. He sets up camp and puts the fish on a barbecue, setting himself up for the next day’s activity.

Saturday 13th February 9.00pm

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, Robson plumbs the depths of Sri Lanka’s fishing heritage. He visits the colourful Kandy Perahera festival, goes cave fishing in Uda Walawe national park and attempts to catch the mighty mahseer.

This week, Robson journeys to stunning Sri Lanka, where fishing is the lifeblood of the coastal communities around the island. The adventure begins with some real local colour at the Kandy Perahera festival. This event is a unique symbol of Sri Lanka’s heritage, celebrating Buddhism with dancing. Garishly decorated elephants are often the most memorable images from this incredible spectacle. Robson also observes the traditional ‘water-cutting’ ceremony – the Diya Kepeema.

Next up is a stop at the beaches of southern Sri Lanka. Robson heads for the seaside town of Koggala where fishing continues as normal, despite the massive damaged caused by the 2004 tsunami. Robson encounters the Weligama stilt fishermen, who have practised their unique technique of balancing on poles for decades. Passed down from father to son, the position of these poles along the coastline is much disputed. The fishermen carve intricate notches, enabling them to climb up on to their 10ft-high crossbar perches. As Robson follows the fishermen out into the sea, he prepares himself to climb the poles. How will he fare when he is attempting to keep his balance while catching his supper?

Despite not being fond of the dark, Robson then visits the Uda Walawe national park and challenges himself to fish in one of the caves. There is the potential to catch stinging catfish, eels and gobies, amongst other weird and wonderful creatures. It is not an easy task, but with the right bait Robson could be successful. However, with thousands of bats flying around, eating anything caught in this cave would not be advisable!

In search of spirituality, Robson decides to visit a Buddhist temple on one of the beautiful islands found on the Madu Ganga river. He then heads out for a fishing trip on the river, one of the most abundant in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by thick jungle, the water is stocked to the gunnels with freshwater fish and huge barracuda, barramundi, mangrove jack, bull eyes and mackerel. After a surprisingly Zen experience at the temple, will fortune smile on Robson’s adventure?

However, Robson has one major goal on this leg of his tour. Found in the Mahaweli river, the mahseer is the main species of indigenous sporting fish in Sri Lanka – and the Geordie lad will not be happy until he has caught one! This is the ultimate freshwater fish, renowned as the hardest-fighting species on the planet. The mahseer in the Mahaweli can reach weights of up to 107lb – is Robson up to the challenge?

Leaving southern Sri Lanka behind, Robson’s final trip takes him to the wilds of the Indian Ocean. The Geordie sets off from the fishing village of Hambantota looking for the ocean’s biggest predators – but it is monsoon season and conditions are horrendous. After three terrifying hours at sea, it is time for Robson to catch something extreme! But will he be able to handle his rod – and his fish – in such wild conditions?

Thursday 11th February 9.00pm

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, Robson plumbs the depths of Sri Lanka’s fishing heritage. He visits the colourful Kandy Perahera festival, goes cave fishing in Uda Walawe national park and attempts to catch the mighty mahseer.

This week, Robson journeys to stunning Sri Lanka, where fishing is the lifeblood of the coastal communities around the island. The adventure begins with some real local colour at the Kandy Perahera festival. This event is a unique symbol of Sri Lanka’s heritage, celebrating Buddhism with dancing. Garishly decorated elephants are often the most memorable images from this incredible spectacle. Robson also observes the traditional ‘water-cutting’ ceremony – the Diya Kepeema.

Next up is a stop at the beaches of southern Sri Lanka. Robson heads for the seaside town of Koggala where fishing continues as normal, despite the massive damaged caused by the 2004 tsunami. Robson encounters the Weligama stilt fishermen, who have practised their unique technique of balancing on poles for decades. Passed down from father to son, the position of these poles along the coastline is much disputed. The fishermen carve intricate notches, enabling them to climb up on to their 10ft-high crossbar perches. As Robson follows the fishermen out into the sea, he prepares himself to climb the poles. How will he fare when he is attempting to keep his balance while catching his supper?

Despite not being fond of the dark, Robson then visits the Uda Walawe national park and challenges himself to fish in one of the caves. There is the potential to catch stinging catfish, eels and gobies, amongst other weird and wonderful creatures. It is not an easy task, but with the right bait Robson could be successful. However, with thousands of bats flying around, eating anything caught in this cave would not be advisable!

In search of spirituality, Robson decides to visit a Buddhist temple on one of the beautiful islands found on the Madu Ganga river. He then heads out for a fishing trip on the river, one of the most abundant in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by thick jungle, the water is stocked to the gunnels with freshwater fish and huge barracuda, barramundi, mangrove jack, bull eyes and mackerel. After a surprisingly Zen experience at the temple, will fortune smile on Robson’s adventure?

However, Robson has one major goal on this leg of his tour. Found in the Mahaweli river, the mahseer is the main species of indigenous sporting fish in Sri Lanka – and the Geordie lad will not be happy until he has caught one! This is the ultimate freshwater fish, renowned as the hardest-fighting species on the planet. The mahseer in the Mahaweli can reach weights of up to 107lb – is Robson up to the challenge?

Leaving southern Sri Lanka behind, Robson’s final trip takes him to the wilds of the Indian Ocean. The Geordie sets off from the fishing village of Hambantota looking for the ocean’s biggest predators – but it is monsoon season and conditions are horrendous. After three terrifying hours at sea, it is time for Robson to catch something extreme! But will he be able to handle his rod – and his fish – in such wild conditions?

Saturday 6th February 9.00pm

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, Robson travels to China, where fishing is a very big deal. He encounters the revered big-headed carp in Qiandao, eats his own octopus catch in Xiu Shan, attempts the ancient art of cormorant fishing on the Longhu river and enters a prestigious fishing tournament.

China is the world’s largest consumer of fish, with 11,000 miles of coastline, 3,000 lakes and 1,500 rivers at its disposal. The Chinese have devised all kinds of strange and ingenious fishing techniques, and Robson is about to experience one of the most extraordinary. At Qiandao lake, he joins 100 locals who are after the most revered fish in China – the stunning big-headed carp. Helping them to pull in a huge net containing thousands of jumping, thrashing carp, Robson then samples the catch – including the delights of carp lips and eyeballs!

New gastronomic experiences also await Robson at his next stop. In Xiu Shan, to the south-east of Shanghai, Robson spends a day hunting octopus in the mud. After hours of futile digging, and a lot of help from local expert Zhang, Robson finally snags himself a tentacled catch. Then it is on to the nearest floating restaurant for an eat-what-youcatch banquet. Robson has eaten octopus before, but never the head – or the three hearts!

Next, Robson arrives at the Longhu River for one of the world’s most iconic and ancient fishing methods: cormorant fishing. These elegant birds have been trained to dive down and catch fish for Chinese fishermen for over 1,000 years – but the method relies entirely on the harmony between man and bird. Unfortunately for Robson, his bird is more interested in escaping than helping him!

Finally, Robson gets to use a traditional rod and reel – in the prestigious Dongtou International Fishing Tournament. The only European in a field of more than 100 competitors from all over Asia, Robson is under big pressure. The aim is to catch as many highly prized black sea bream as possible – will Robson make it into the Chinese top 40?

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