In Search of the World’s Largest Freshwater Fish

By: Zeb Hogan and Stefan Lovgren




National Geographic fans may be familiar with Zeb Hogan and his show Monster Fish. I didn’t know anything about him or the show but was intrigued by his quest to find the largest freshwater fish. His show is available on Apple TV for a fee, but I did find several videos on Youtube as well as a TED Talk he did at the University of Nevada. Be sure to check them out if interested.

Hogan travels to Thailand and Cambodia in search of the Mekong Giant Catfish, hoping to catch and see one for himself. These fish are truly monstrous coming in at over 6 feet and over 200 pounds. I can’t even imagine catching a fish this size let alone seeing one in person. These fish are having trouble surviving due to excessive fishing, environmental changes, and developments happening near their natural habitat. By training the local fisherman and tagging the fish, Hogan and his team have been able to keep track of and save the declining population of many of the endangered fish in the rivers there.

“The decline of giant fish was one hundred percent the result of human activity. And if humans wre the ones causing this catastrophe, then humans could also stop it.”


If you like the “thrill of the catch” kind of stories, keep in mind this has a slower pace and lots of research and stories attached. But, there are some great stories of some amazing fish and surprising catches. He does find the largest freshwater fish, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out what it was and where it was located.

“Handling a large fish is always a thrill. Immediately, I am filled with adrenaline, trying to figure things out. How does the fish feel? How does it move? How does it react to being caught? Or being handled? Is it injured? How can I ensure that the fish is released back into the wild unharmed? It’s my favorite part of the job, being in the field, handling the fish as rare and special as the sawfish.”


There were a few photos in the book, but I wish there were more. I was doing a lot of googling to see where in the world he was catching these fish and what certain fish looked like even though his descriptions were pretty accurate. His youtube videos were also pretty accurate in how he described the fishing, netting, and catching/releasing the fish in the book. I learned so much about fish I have never even heard of or knew very little about including sawfish, lungfish, alligator gar (that I was surprised can be found in Iowa rivers), and arapaima to name a few.

For those that like adventure types of books, National Geographic shows, or fishing, I recommend this book. Even though most of this book talks about places around the world, there are some pages that discuss large fish in the US.

Check out the book trailer:

Zeb Hogan is a research biologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species Scientific Councilor for Fish. Hogan’s research focuses on migratory fish ecology, fisheries management, and endangered species issues.

Stefan Lovgren is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker with more than 25 years of worldwide reporting experience. He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic’s numerous media platforms since 2003.

To purchase a copy of CHASING GIANTS, click the photo below:

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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