freshwater giants

Who is Jakub Vágner

Jakub chases fish and adventure to nearly every corner of the globe. His expeditions generally lead him to remote, and often little explored regions of our planet. In recent years he has focused on trips to the Amazon River basin in South America as well as the Dark Continent, where he has been investigating the last pearl of Africa, Congo. In the past he has worked as a fishing guide in many European countries and led expeditions to countries of the former Soviet Union. As a successful guide in Australia, Jakub worked for Big Game Fishing, landing swordfish, tuna, and sharks. Here, he also encountered Australian fishing guru Rex Hunt, who became his fishing and spiritual mentor.

Jakub Vágner holds many interesting official and unofficial fishing records, including some kept by the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA). He holds world records for catching the largest arapaima (Arapaima gigas) weighing 130 kg, Wels catfish (Silurus glanis) weighing 110 kg, devil catfish (Bagarius bagarius) weighing 75 kg, or the legendary Amazonian goliath catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum), actually breaking the record three times in a row.

In February of 2008, he first landed a goliath weighing 190 kg, which was also the largest purely freshwater fish which had ever been caught. During a three-week Amazonian expedition in late February and early March of 2010, he caught another two goliaths weighing 186 and 215 kg, breaking his own world record. On the same trip, he broke the three meter barrier for freshwater fishing when he battled an arapaima measuring 307 cm and weighing 154 kg. This catch was yet another world record for Jakub Vágner and arapaima gigas.

Jakub Vágner focuses only on the recognition of world records in the „All – tackle“ category. The official world records are always the largest historical specimens of a given fish species captured using only a fishing rod.

In September, 2006, Vágner and some friends got together to see how many trophy catfish they could catch over a 40 hour period. Together with catfish specialist Claude Valette, Vágner and seven others caught an unbelievable 147 catfish over 40 hours of fishing.

He was thus the first to demonstrate the massive presence of catfish in the Czech Republic and one of the key figures supporting catch and release. Jakub Vágner has put his name behind the promotion of this concept, sport fishing, and youth fishing.

He has produced fishing documentaries for the Multisonic company which are regularly broadcast by television stations in the Czech Republic and abroad. He also has made 14 DVDs with Multisonic which have sold more than 500,000 copies in the Czech Republic alone.

In 2010 Jakub Vágner was honored by the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) with an invitation to publish his article about fishing the Congo in the annual IGFA book for 2010, which was well-received all over the world.

For his work, in March 2010 Jakub Vágner received a multi-platinum disc. He is also the creator of the 20-part television serial „S Jakubem na rybách“ (Fishing with Jacob), which is broadcast by Czech and Slovak state television. He is a frequent guest on the most prestigious talk shows on television and radio. He has given countless interviews for magazines, regularly writes for Czech and international trade magazines about his experiences, and also gives lectures in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe. He has taken many celebrities fishing, athletes, cultural icons, and even the president of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus.

Jakub Vágner’s greatest dream is to map the largest and extremely rare freshwater fish of our planet. Jakub calls them „ Freshwater giants“. He has created a list of 24 freshwater giants, representing the top predators of the Earth’s largest rivers and lakes. Each of these giants can reach a weight of 100 kg and length of 2 m.

This project is timeless, since more than half of these rare fish species will most likely not live to see the next century. For 8 years, Jakub and his team have traveled to all the continents of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. After many grueling expeditions, 16 freshwater giants have already been mapped.

In 2010 he finished and published his first book, titled „My Friend the Catfish“, which was a long 13 years in the making. He has had several exhibitions of his photography, and his accompanying commentary has been broadcast by the Discovery channel. Presently, Jakub is busy filming his own series of fishing documentaries for the National Geographic Channel.