THE BBC2 show Earth's Wildest Waters - The Big Fish reached its climax with three remaining competitors doing battle for the title.... 'Geordie' James Stokoe triumphing.

TAGS:

Zambia in Africa was the venue for the final part of Earth’s Wildest Waters: The Big Fish.

And the stunning waters brought a victory by a narrow margin, but well deserved, for James, 33 (pictured above).

He finished ahead of Sam and Dan in a thrilling two-day fish-off involving fly, spin and bait tactics for catfish, tiger fish and other species.

James, a car salesman, is a member of the North East’s Hexham AC and spends a lot of time fly fishing for salmon on the River Tyne.

Speaking on his Facebook, James said after the series finished: “What a journey that was.

“This whole year has been life changing for me traveling and fishing in the most breath taking locations but most of all meeting and making best friends for life every single member of the crew and especially the rest of the cast were amazing.

“I may have been crowned the champion but we are all winners and I’d like to say a massive thank you to you all. I’m sorry if I don’t reply to everyone’s messages, I’m sorry, my phone is melting – I love you all.”

Programme Name: Earth's Wildest Waters - The Big Fish - TX: 15/11/2015 - Episode: Zambia (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Local judge Charles holds up a vundu catfish, caught and released in the Lower Zambezi National Park - (C) BBC - Photographer: Patrick Avery

Local judge Charles holds up a vundu catfish, caught and released in the Lower Zambezi National Park, during the TV final.

Challenges of the Zambezi

The last episode of the series saw the three finalists face their sixth country and their final frontier. Navigating the immense Zambezi River, the anglers fished alongside wild animals on land and in the murky water.

Top angler and series judge Matt Hayes was  joined by Charles Tembo (pictured above) to decide the winner. Charles has grown up on the banks of the Zambezi.

The anglers searched the croc-infested waters for huge vundu catfish, fishing local style from wobbly dugout canoes and trying to catch Africa’s equivalent to the piranha – the tiger fish.

They needed to use everything they have learnt across their worldwide expedition as the judges were  looking for which one of them is the complete angler.

The fish in Zambia have adapted to survive in these dangerous waters. The anglers had just one week to prove they have the courage – and the skills – to do the same.

Main host Ben Fogle was in Zambia with the anglers every step of the way on their final journey... and what a journey!

Main host Ben Fogle was in Zambia with the anglers every step of the way on their final journey… and what a journey!

Matt Hayes delighted with series success

The Earth’s Wildest Waters: The Big Fish series has gone down well with anglers and non-anglers alike.

And Matt Hayes said via his Facebook page: “One of my top ambitions, (until now unfulfilled), was to make a series about fishing with the world’s greatest broadcaster.

“The series has been a big hit, spreading the word way beyond the normal reach of the angling media about how great sport fishing is.

“Being part of the team that made the series was the highlight of my professional career so I would like to say a very public thank you!”

Matt Hayes (left) enjoyed his BBC debut in the series, after appearances for many years on other channels.

Matt Hayes (left) enjoyed his BBC debut in the series, after appearances for many years on other channels.

 

The final was broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday, November 15 – it is available watch again for a limited period on the BBC iPlayer.

Got a view on TV angling? Email a letter or short comments to: amletters@timeinc.com …and you could feature in Angler’s Mail magazine.