River Monsters Goes Tribal   View more episodes

Aired at 09:00 PM on Sunday, May 29, 2011 (5/29/2011)      View all transcripts from this day

Transcript

00:00:00Mehow this thin vine must scare the fish and drive them into the heart of the trap.
00:00:12Right, we've now actually closed the circle.
00:00:15This is the end of one vine.
00:00:17The end of the other one is that way.
00:00:19So you can see now we're starting to get a double line of vines, and it's getting thicker.
00:00:29The best spearmen in the village stand outside the circle of vines, ready to pick off any fish that might break through.
00:00:45It's a bumphead parrotfish.
00:00:46A great catch, but as the blood trickles into the water, no one else seems at all concerned.
00:00:54Bull sharks are often seen in these waters, and from experience, I know their grim reputation as man-eaters.
00:01:03Sharks can detect one part of blood in one million parts of water, and the tribe and I plan to spend the whole day waist-deep in the sea, spearing fish.
00:01:15[ Speakingnative languag] what's happening now is the finishing touches are being added to the trap at the center of the ring of vines.
00:01:37The noose begins to tighten.
00:02:01Normally, these would be fish that I would admire in an aquarium.
00:02:05Now I have to kill them.
00:02:08[ Conversations in native language ] it's a measure of my immersion within the tribe that spearing fish is becoming second-nature.
00:02:25Where I come from, if something looks pretty, you don't stick a spear through it.
00:02:28But, I mean, everything looks pretty here.
00:02:30 you've got to stick a spear through something.
00:02:33If you didn't do that, you'd starve.
00:02:35The villagers only catch what they know they can eat.
00:02:38If they catch too many fish in the corral, they'll release what they don't need.
00:02:48With no electricity or fridges, the fish need to be eaten straight away, or they'll rot in the tropical heat.
00:02:55Each fish is wrapped in palm leaves and smoked in a fire overnight.
00:02:59This feast will fill up the entire village.
00:03:14The next morning, as I see the whole village coming in to enjoy the food, I feel proud to have helped with the corral and to have been part of this living chain of tradition.
00:03:27[ Conversations in native language ] fishing their way is how I hope to earn the tribe's trust and respect.
00:03:40But the methods are growing more bizarre every day.
00:03:44I'm about to come face-to-face with the creepiest fishing tool I've ever tried.
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00:07:44Wade: I've traveled to the solomon islands in the south pacific to learn to fish as the locals have done for thousands of years in some of the world's most shark-infested seas.
00:07:56On one island, I've heard about an incredible technique so fantastic-sounding, I can't believe it's true.
00:08:02I have to say this is probably the strangest kind of fishing preparation I've had to do.
00:08:12James is one nly two surviving men on this group of islands who know how to do this.
00:08:18He has never before shown this to an outsider.
00:08:21Wade: This spider -- he bite? james: yes.
00:08:23He bites, this one?
00:08:25All right.
00:08:27This technique uses no hook.
00:08:30Instead, we're collecting a spider's web.
00:08:33[ Speaking native language ] very good.
00:08:41Pull tight, okay.
00:08:43Ah.
00:08:44Finished, ready. ready for fishing now?
00:08:48Yeah.
00:08:49And there's no rod.
00:08:56Instead, we'll be using this elaborate handmade kite, stitched together from banana leaves.
00:09:04James may be willing to share his secrets, but I'm the apprentice here, so I'll be doing the paddling.
00:09:19The movement of the kite causes the web to skip temptingly across the water.
00:09:24We're after needlefish.
00:09:26They hunt small fish near the surface and can jump out of the water at speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.
00:09:35The theory is that the needlefish's teeth act as the hook, getting tangled in the fine, sticky mesh of ther's web.
00:09:44The kite is up in the air, but getting it up is just the beginning of it.
00:09:47What we've got to do once it is in the air is get our position, speed, direction correct so that the lure just skims aoss the surface without swinging around in the air or being too deep below, dragging along.
00:10:01I feel privileged to witness a centuries-old technique ..
00:10:07And sadness to s it come to the very end of its time.
00:10:17Is that a fish?
00:10:19Yeah, we got a fish. we got a fish.
00:10:37 no, that's not coming off.
00:10:41Absolutely caught like this.
00:10:44Looks like the wind has gone, actually.
00:10:46But, my goodness, when the conditions are right, when you get this working, it's just so ingenious.
00:10:52It's so amazing. very, very clever.
00:10:54And to be part of it, to actually catch a fish without a hook, without a rod, just a bit of spider's web and a kite, you know, I'm not sure -- if you just told people about that, I'm not sure if they'd believe you.
00:11:08Even the smallest catch is shared out.
00:11:11[ Indistinct conversations ] hello, vincent. hello.
00:11:24How are you today? good.
00:11:25Vincent is keeping an eye on my progress, and he selects who will be my fishing mentors to teach me the tribe's secret techniques.
00:11:36Are you morgan?
00:11:40Morgan is an expert at handlining, which is the tribe's primary method of fishing.
00:11:48Eventually, I hope the tribe will allow me to handline a shark.
00:11:53But I have to be patient as I gradually progress up the fishing ladder.
00:11:58Morgan is going to teach me a technique called ..
00:12:05Morgan: Very close to the size of a hook.
00:12:07...Using just vines, a rock, and a lure made from a leaf.
00:12:11Then you just put it like this.
00:12:17Then a hook.
00:12:18The idea is that the rock sinks to the bottom, carrying the lure with it.
00:12:24Then, with one tug, the lure is pulled free.
00:12:28So when you pull, this comes towards the surface, and this will just sort of flutter?
00:12:32Yeah. yeah.
00:12:36I feel the eyes of the village on me.
00:12:38This is my first solo fishing test.
00:12:43But I'm about to take part in one of the tribe's mostituals.
00:12:48[ Speaking native language ] Wade:SURELY, THIS WON'T WORK.
00:12:55All right, it's not a fish.
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00:15:22Wade: For three weeks, I'm living with some of the world's greatest tribal fishermen.
00:15:27I have only one week left, and before I leave, my real hope is to handline a shark.
00:15:33But first, I have to hone my fishing skills using just a rock to sink the line and a lure made from a leaf.
00:15:55..
00:15:56I can just see a speck down there in the distance.
00:15:59It's coming towards me.
00:16:00I can't see anything homing in on it.
00:16:02There we go -- a fruitless drop.
00:16:31Still nothing hanging on to that.
00:16:33Actually, a lot of energy goes into it, and not only do I not have but I don't have something to take back to the village.
00:16:39So I'm getting behind with my rent, shall we say.
00:16:44Maybe waiting -- [ speaking native language ]whoa!
00:16:51All right,that's not a fish.
00:16:53Wade: It seems morganis beginning to trust me.
00:16:56He now revealsa very special fishing secret.
00:17:01This is haru-haru, the ancientand traditional technique of cursing at the fish.
00:17:09After a few hoursof totally fruitless fishing, I'm willingto give anything a go.
00:17:14Right, see what you can do, then, you useless, scaly abominations of this particular reef.
00:17:21Ah, you call yourself fish?
00:17:22You can't even eat yourself a piece of leaf.
00:17:24What's going on? are you that pathetic?
00:17:28Morgan doesn't seem impressed by the power of my insults, and nor do the fish.
00:17:33Soon my frustration gets the better than me, and I really let rip.
00:17:39You [bleep] [bleep] useless, putrescent [bleep] fish [bleep] oh [bleep] just -- ah!
00:17:48..oh, ah, mm-hmm.
00:17:51Come on! yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
00:17:52Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. ah!
00:17:55It's getting closer.
00:17:56[ Grunts ] here it is!
00:18:00Here it is! here it is! here it is!
00:18:02Ughter ] a bit of an anticlimax, but it is a fish.
00:18:06Look at that. it actually took that lure.
00:18:09It took a leaf.
00:18:11So that is a fish that has come on a totally inedible bait -- just purely a piece of leaf, , human ingenuity, a lot of effort, and there's a fish.
00:18:23And probably, even though it's small, one of the most memorable fish I've caught.
00:18:28This 9-inch trevally means just as much to me as any monster fish I've caught.
00:18:33And it takes me one step closer to my ultimate goal -- handlining shark.
00:18:39I return to show vincent my catch.
00:18:44Hello, vincent.
00:18:45Oh, hello. ug a fh. yes.
00:18:50I was going to bring it and give it to you, but I put it down somewhere, and someone's taken it.
00:18:55But I really did catch a fish.
00:18:56It was about that big.
00:18:57Oh, that's good. so, it's a fish.
00:18:59 I think it was a type of trevally.
00:19:01Although I've caught my fair share of fish in my time, vincent somehow makes me feellike a total rookie.
00:19:09Just one.
00:19:13..
00:19:15[ Laughter ] I've only got five days left, and I'm still hoping to handline a shark.
00:19:23While I'm living here, I have to earn my keep and make sure that I'm contributing to the communal pot.
00:19:30But every day, the fishing techniques are getting tougher.
00:19:35Lawrence is a village elder and supposedly a crack shot with the bow.
00:19:41The tribe has probably been catching fish this way for thousands of years.
00:19:49Mullet eat algae off leaves, so they're very hard to catch using a hook.
00:19:53Lawrence tells me that they tend to shelter in between the mangrove roots.
00:19:58..
00:20:00Yes.
00:20:03Yeah.
00:20:07Oh! hey! hey!
00:20:09[ Chuckles ] [ speaking native language ] Wade: Lawrence is one ofvery few people in the village who still use a bow and arrow to fish.
00:20:22I've got just a few hours to learn what lawrence has mastered through decades of practice.
00:20:31Now it's my turn to hit a small, fast-moving fish while standing in a wobbly canoe.
00:20:48This one.
00:20:52Dah!
00:20:53It really does concentrate the mind if you're fis got one! got one! got one!
00:21:06[ Speaking native language ] lawrence fires in another shot just to make sure the fish doesn't wriggle off my arrow.
00:21:16Okay.
00:21:21I have to say that I've got a dying fish in front of me, but I'm actually feeling very p it's almost as if I've tapped into something, you know, very, very deep in my psyche for this.
00:21:32And it is an interesting feeling, and it has got a certain rightness about it, as well.
00:21:39You know, this is food, and I've just caught myself some food.
00:21:44As I delve deeper into the life of this tribe, I feel I'm being swept into a primordial current that stretches back across the oceans for millennia.
00:21:54I want to find out more about them and their extraordinary beliefs.
00:22:01Is it true that no vahole person has ever been attacked by a shark?
00:22:04Yes, yes.
00:22:06So it's never happened?
00:22:07It's never hap but strangers?
00:22:16So as long as the strangeris part of the community, part of the vahole people for a short time, then the sger is also protected?
00:22:26Yes.
00:22:27Lawrence believes that now i, too, have this special protection from sharks.
00:22:32I discover that while no vahole person has ever been killed by a shark, five people from neighboring tribes have been killed in recent years.
00:22:42Catching that fish has given me the reward I most wanted -- the tribe is beginning to accept me.
00:22:51That finally I have a fish to bring back to vincent.
00:22:57My mullet is thrown in the pot along with the rest of the day's catch and some rice that they have bought from other tribes.
00:23:04You know, it feels very good.
00:23:06The children were all being very restrained.
00:23:08And then as soon as -- it's almost like a sta you know, they all just -- look at that. it's all almost gone.
00:23:12So, that's very good to feel that your food is appreciated.
00:23:16So it does feel like I've made a real contribution here.
00:23:22I came to this tribe to learn how they live, fish, and survive.
00:23:26[ Speaking native language ] but I also have a personal ambition.
00:23:30Since I first read hemingway's book "the old man and the sea," I've wanted to catch my own sea monster on a handline.
00:23:38I'm about to get my chance.
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00:27:18Wade: I have been living with the vahole tribe in a remote part of the south pacific for nearly three weeks.
00:27:25I have brought home fish for the tribe.
00:27:27I ha learned their ways.
00:27:29And now I've been given permission to attempt to catch and release a shark -- a dream I can trace back to when I was 13 years old.
00:27:38The most common form of fishing here is perhaps the simplest there is -- just a line and a hook.
00:27:44No rod, no reel.
00:27:46It was morgan who took me handlining before, but this time the quarry will be very different.
00:27:54That's a bit of stingray because that's what everyone says is the bait for sharks.
00:27:58And slight apprehension, actually, before putting it in the water because this is a small, wobbly, dugout canoe.
00:28:06You know, normally, if you're fishing for sharks, you've got a big boat, you've got a reel ..
00:28:10While I'm gonna be using a handline.
00:28:13So I've got line around my ankles.
00:28:14Something could take off at speed -- there's always the possibility that line will catch me.
00:28:20I have chosen to fish in the narrow stg into the lagoon.
00:28:23The deep waters here funnel and eddy with the shifting tides -- the perfect spot for sharks to lurk.
00:28:31Morgan is a man of few words and guards his secrets closely, so when he opens up, I listen.
00:28:41Why is that?
00:28:56Morgan reveals that this spot is home to a shark sacred to the vahole tribe.
00:29:02I suddenly wonder if I should be fishing here.
00:29:04But before I can take out my line, somethinges.
00:29:09Now I'm tightening. I'm tightening. I'm tightening.
00:29:12Got something on. got something on.
00:29:21The cameraman is in the boat directly in front of me.
00:29:24If we collide, I could end up in the water.
00:29:26 move the bloody boat.
00:29:28Move the boat! it's moving towards you!
00:29:38There's a shark on. there's a shark on.
00:29:39I'm having real trouble holding the line with myhoare hands -- real trouble.
00:29:44I don't want to wrap it around my hands 'cause I'm over the side then.
00:29:47Right, the boat's now going. that's good.
00:29:49That's a bit of relief, actually, because -- right. the boat is now going.
00:29:53It's when the boat isn't going and the fish is accelerating, I'm taking all that on my hands.
00:29:58The line's like a cheese cutter on my bare hands, so I pull on a glove.
00:30:01So, I'm being very cautious.
00:30:02I'm just getting that line in slowly, just constant pressure on the shark, tiring it out.
00:30:11Is it gone?
00:30:14Is it gone?
00:30:18It's gone. it's gone.
00:30:23What's happened?
00:30:26[ Sighs ] that's actually bit through the wire.
00:30:35That's bit through the wire.
00:30:36That felt that that was well and pretty hooked, which it was.
00:30:40And so much for actually taking the hook out.
00:30:43That shark has taken the hook.
00:30:45I finally got the chance I'd been waiting for, and I've blown it.
00:30:53God.
00:30:55..
00:31:03I'm hoping vincent can enlighten me about the mysterious shark that took my bait.
00:31:12Yeah.
00:31:14Kisu pa lingutu.
00:31:19There's no way?
00:31:43Okay, right.
00:31:44So you're saying there's one shark there which is the defender of the lagoon.
00:31:49..
00:31:51Vincent believes that what I had on the end of my line was no ordinary shark.
00:31:57I had, in fact, hooked one that is sacredle, which protects the tribe.
00:32:03Word that the sacred shark, kisu pa lingutu, bit through my line quickly spreads.
00:32:10Lawrence, another of the village elders, is the man who taught me to fish using a bow and arrow.
00:32:20He tells me there's something he can do to help.
00:32:29[ Speaking native language ] I'm profoundly moved by lawrence's prayer for my success.
00:32:51This is my last chance to fulfill a childhood dream.
00:33:09!
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00:36:28Wade: I'm living with a tribe who have had a unique relationship with sharks for centuries.
00:36:35Since I first read ernest hemingway's book "the old man and the sea," I have wanted to catch my own sea monster on a handline.
00:36:44I've tried and failed once already.
00:36:48I'm up at sunrise fishing outside the sacred passage.
00:36:52This time, I have a blessing and a new secret weapon.
00:36:56The tribe has given me a special rattle made from shells, which they tell me magically lures in curious sharks.
00:37:15I'm not sure if it is lawrence's prayer, the shark rattle, or just good luck, but it's not long before something takes my bait.
00:37:24Tightening up, tightening up, tightening up.
00:37:31There's a shark on. shark.
00:37:37Finally, I can feel the raw power ofhis predator running directly through my hands.
00:37:43Ooh, therk's just seen us. just seen us.
00:37:47That was a run. gosh, that was a run.
00:37:49I'm in a small, unstable dugout, and the shark could easily over-balance me and capsize the canoe.
00:37:58Oh, this is when it could really kick off.
00:38:01It's circling. what it's doing, it's circling.
00:38:04I've got to get this line well clear of me.
00:38:05That's it.
00:38:08 it's gonna run now.
00:38:10It's running. it's running. it's running.
00:38:10It's running.
00:38:12It's sounding, going down.
00:38:13I'm gonna try and just tire it out very slowly.
00:38:16I can feel a very quick pulse -- dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun .
00:38:19I'm quite puzzled by the way this feels.
00:38:21But again, I'm not used to fishing a handline.
00:38:23I'm used to fishing a rod.
00:38:28[ Water splashing ] ohh!
00:38:30[ Grunting ] there's a knot.
00:38:35Right, what I'll do -- I might provoke the shark a little bit more.
00:38:37I might just bring it up towards the surface more.
00:38:39 that's its reactio what it does, it kicks.
00:38:44Okay, up to the boat, and it's a kick.
00:38:47That's a kick. that's pulling.
00:38:48Handlining is exhausting, relentless work.
00:38:53..
00:38:59But after a long duel, the shark is finally tired enough to land.
00:39:05So we can bring it in safely, morgan tries to put a lasso around its tail.
00:39:11[ Grunts ] I've waited nearly 40 years and traveled halfway around the world for this exhilarating moment.
00:39:19I've landed a shark using the simplest of traditional techniques.
00:39:23So, there we go. that was the hook.
00:39:25Corner of the mouth. barb crushed down.
00:39:28So that comes out easily.
00:39:29The shark is none the worse for wear in the mouth department.
00:39:32It's a grey reef shark, weighing about 80 pounds -- the perfect size.
00:39:38Much bigger, d I probably wouldn't be able to get it in the small canoe.
00:39:42Here we go.
00:39:43Catch-and-release shark from a dugout canoe.
00:39:45I mean, quite an insane venture in some ways, but it worked.
00:39:49And, uh, yeah, what a great thing to do.
00:39:53Okay.
00:40:00You know, just a fantastic experience.
00:40:01I mean, you can keep your rod for this kind of fishing.
00:40:04I mean, this is -- this is -- you know, for emotion, for excitement, for that hint of danger and for that feeling of just incredible achievement -- this takes a lot of beating.
00:40:19For me, that had to be the ultimate in catch-and-release fishing.
00:40:22But perhaps more importantly, my fishing skills, which the tribe have helped me to sharpen in my time here, have taken me deeper beneath the surface of their village life than I ever expected to go.
00:40:37[ Laughter ] bye-bye, everyone. bye.
00:40:40The simple and ancient art of fishing has unlocked a vanishing world and allowed me to immerse myself in the life of this remarkable tribe and its proud, deeply traditional people.
00:40:52Got one! got one! got one!
00:40:54I thought I came here to learn unique ways to fish and to fulfill a childhood dream -- to catch and release a shark on a handline.
00:41:04Instead, I have plunged deepinto a culture that has lived in balancewith the oceans for millennia.
00:41:10Their lives are dependent on the sea and everythingthat comes out of it.
00:41:15I have discoveredwhat it truly means to fish -- not for researchor for pleasure, but to survive and simply to be.
00:41:26Bye.
00:41:27[ Indistinct shouting ] Cruz: People come here to miami for the beaches, the recreation.
00:41:54People have a false sense of security being out there.
00:41:56..
00:42:03...With lots of snakes.
00:42:06They're just hiding and just waiting for their opportunity to strike.
00:42:10This is the largest antivenom bank in the country.
00:42:15It's liquid gold.
00:42:18Narrator:..
00:42:21Pythons are breeding in the everglades.
00:42:24But now they're moving back towards suburbia.
00:42:27Seifert: If you've got a hungry snake and small children, uld be a horrible event.
00:42:32Narrator: Plus, venomous cottonmouths are lurking where you'd never expect.
00:42:36And giant lizards with razor-sharp teeth are coming out of the swamp.
00:42:41She's headed your way!
00:42:45Miami is paradise sitting on the edge of a swamp.
00:42:54The miami-dade fire rescue venom one team is an elite group of firefighter-paramedics that protect the people from the most dangerous animals that come out of the everglades.
00:43:13In many ways, miami'sa perfect place to live -- beautiful weather, wonderful neighborhoods.
00:43:21[ Bell dings ] [ helicopter blades whirring ] but this is the part of miamimost people don't see.
00:43:30That's the real miami.
00:43:36[ Snake hisses ] look at the big boy right down there!
00:43:43Holy cow!
00:43:44Those is some real miami natives down there.
00:43:47[ Chuckles ] there's snakes everywhere.
00:43:54You're only a sidewalk away from stepping into snake country.
00:44:01On thether side, your kids go to school and you have your recreational parks.
00:44:07[ Snake hisses ] people get upset when they get bit by a snake.
00:44:18It's not the snake's fault.
00:44:20They live in a swamp. you moved in.
00:44:24Last year, we had over 100 python calls.
00:44:27And it's estimated that there's tens of thousands of pythons out here in the everglades.
00:44:39Snakes travel from theverglades up to suburbia.
00:44:45That's when my team gets called in.
00:44:50I started venom oneback in march 1998.
00:44:54We're all snake fanatics.
00:44:56If you're dealing with snakes, you're gonna get bit.
00:44:58It's like dealing with electricity.
00:44:59Sooner or later, you're gonna get shocked.
00:45:00I think this is the corner here.
00:45:02Seifert: Venom one, you can show me arrival.
00:45:05We got a call today of a very large snake just off the sideof the intersection by multiple motorists and reportsupwards of 20 feet long.
00:45:13Grab the hooks.
00:45:17[ Siren wailing ] venom one, dade county. you can show me arrival.
00:45:24Jillson:THERE'S AN OPEN FIELD THAT WAS JUST Cultivated for farming, so it's very possible that drovethe snake out of its hiding.
00:45:32All right, we'll go around the corner.
00:45:34Okay.
00:45:36Seifert: He could be anywhere inside this mess.
00:45:39 he should be pretty obvious.
00:45:42Jillson: If you see him, he's probably gonna jump out at you.
00:45:48Diaz: I was nervous because I'm aware that this big snake could actually bite me.
00:45:52Being nervous is actually partof your awareness.
00:45:58Watch yourself.

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