Discovery’s ‘Bangkok Hooker’ hopes to get viewers hooked on fishing

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SIttipon 'Oz' Chanarat, host of 'Bangkok Hooker.'

It’s not what it sounds like, at least not for both fishing enthusiasts and reality television fans.

“Bangkok Hooker” is actually the name of a new television series featuring Thai multimedia personality turned fishing enthusiast Sittipon “Oz” Chanarat. A journalist whose job history includes a stint at the Bangkok Post, a gig as creative consultant for the AnimaxTV and a VJ for MTV, Oz pretty much dropped his promising media career to pursue his lifelong passion for fishing.

“I’ve always felt an affinity for fishing even when I was a kid,” Oz told InterAksyon during his recent Manila visit. “I was 11 when my dad took me to the Gold Coast of Australia where I caught my first fish. Using squid as bait, I caught a 12 to 13 centimeter beamer. It wasn’t big but I was super happy.”

Even after that experience, it still took a while for Oz to seriously pursue the hobby.

“Fishing is expensive so it wasn’t until I got my job at Guru magazine for the Bangkok Post when I finally got the money to buy the equipment I needed for it.”

At right about the same time, Oz also began a fishing blog after he got bored with “writing the same stuff every week” for Guru. With tongue firmly in cheek, he called his blog, “Bangkok Hooker.”

“That was three to four years ago. When I first started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I learned how to make and edit videos from YouTube. I still have a lot to learn but with hard work, I eventually got better at it.”

The new show is more or less an extension of Oz’s blog and expands on its content. Experiencing the weirdest and wildest fishing adventures Thailand has to offer, Oz takes viewers to some of the most unusual places to go fishing—from street fishing with a homemade lure in Bangkok’s filthiest canal to a golf course to investigate rumors of a monster-sized fish living in one of the ponds.

Oz also gives us his best tips for catching his favorite fish, the Giant Snakehead, and reveals the truth behind some of the most common fishing myths. Oz combines fishing with the latest trend in outdoor adventure sports – he tries standup paddleboard fishing on Bangkok’s busiest waterway.

From there, he visits a fishing village where he gets to experience a day in the life of a local fisherman as the locals take him fishing, knee-boarding for clams and wake-boarding, “Thai style”.

Other adventures include leaving the city behind for a jungle known as one of the best fly-fishing locations in Thailand. There is also the opportunity to introduce a local celebrity to the world of big game fishing, and the challenge of playing a game of fishing roulette against some of the biggest freshwater fish in Thailand.

And that’s only in the first season. Asked if he has any plans of exploring the Philippines as possible locations for the next season of “Bangkok Hooker,” Oz said he would love it.

“Your country is surrounded by beautiful islands and includes many saltwater locations. It would be great if I could catch a giant trevally in the Philippines,” he quipped.

Having caught a good number of big fishes not only in Thailand but many other parts of the world, Oz said he did not take on the hobby to get food.

“Once in a while, that would be fun to do. But what’s more important for me is being able to go out and share my passion with other people. Even if I catch the most beautiful fish, I take a photo of it to capture that moment in time and then I put it back in the water where it belongs,” he shared.

“For me, catching the fish is the ultimate destination but the beauty of the hobby comes from the journey of getting there, from your preparation to the people you meet along the way to your actual encounter with that elusive fish. That’s where fishing becomes something special, where you are allowed to enjoy nature as much as possible without taking anything from it.”

“Bangkok Hooker” can be viewed on Discovery SEA’s Facebook page and Youtube channel every Tuesday and Thursday at 10PM. The show also airs on Discovery Channel, every Monday at 8PM.