Arts & Leisure

Bangkok Hooker -- it’s not what you think

Posted on June 27, 2017

DON’T LET the misleading name fool you -- Bangkok Hooker may evoke images of the Thailand’s famous red light districts like Patpong, but the newest Discovery Channel show really is about hooking fish.

AVID ANGLER Oz Chanarat stars in the fishing show Bangkok Hooker which will air on the Discovery Asia Facebook and YouTube pages.
Set to premiere on June 27, at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel Southeast Asia’s Facebook and YouTube pages, Bangkok Hooker, follows avid angler Oz Chanarat as he experience the “weirdest and wildest fishing adventures Thailand has to offer,” according to a press release.

“This [show] has been a long time coming,” Mr. Chanarat told BusinessWorld during an interview last February at Shangri-La at the Fort

He related that he first started a blog about fishing (the blog is also named “Bangkok Hooker” -- he thought it would be a catchy and cheeky name for a fishing blog) in 2009, around the same time that Discovery Channel started airing fishing shows like River Monsters and Monster Fish.

“And I thought to myself, ‘that’s such a cool job, I’d love to do something like that.’ And here I am,” he said.

“I’m a fan of both shows... they [put out] a strong message for conservation... but what I felt missing was that neither of them were [anglers], both of them (show hosts) were marine biologists,” he said.

River Monsters first premiered on April 2009 on Animal Planet and featured “extreme angler” and biologist Jeremy Wade as he tried to catch the biggest freshwater fish in the world. The show ran for nine seasons before ending on May 2017 because they had already caught most of the fish on his bucket list.

“Some shows can run forever, but our subject matter is finite. Ten years ago, I had a list in my head, which seemed impossibly ambitious at the time, but everything has now been ticked off -- and then some. I have seen things beyond my wildest dreams, and sharing those moments with our loyal Animal Planet audiences has made them doubly special,” Mr. Wade said in a statement.

National Geographic (on its sister channel, Nat Geo WILD) aired Monster Fish in 2009 featuring aquatic ecologist Zeb Hogan as he searches for the biggest fish around the world and explains the conservation measures undertaken to protect the often endangered species.

Unlike both those show hosts who are scientists, Mr. Chanarat prides himself with being a self-taught angler and sport fishing enthusiast.

“I won’t say I don’t have a mentor. I have many friends all with different skills that I learn from, and that’s the great thing about fishing: when you meet, you share your skills and knowledge,” he said.

In the show, he will be seen fishing in a filthy Bangkok canal and on a golf course in search for a big Arapaima living in one of the ponds, among others.

He will also be throwing out tips and busting myths about fishing.

“Fishing is just like life. If you find yourself in a bad situation, sometimes it’s just better to walk away and start fresh somewhere else,” he said in a preview.

He said catching the Arapaima was “easy.”

“When you have zero pressure, fish respond to stimulus naturally,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a master, I would say I just really love to fish and I run into people who feel the same way,” he said.

His favorite fish? The Giant Snakehead, a freshwater fish commonly found in Southeast Asia which can grow up to 1.3 meters in length and can be aggressive, which makes catching it a bit of a challenge, but Mr. Chanarat thrives on challenges.

Bangkok Hooker premieres on the Discovery Asia Facebook and Youtube pages on June 27, 10 p.m. It will air every Tuesday and Thursday. -- Zsarlene B. Chua