Fast Confession - Jakub Vágner: I’ll either die or survive

On life choices, fishing and love for children
15.May 2019
 
Homepage New articles

There is no need to introduce Jakub Vágner in the fishing world. The son of the famous musician Karel Vágner didn't follow in his father’s footsteps like the majority of his siblings and chose his own path. He didn’t have to wait long for his persistence and passion for fishing to be fruitful. He holds several world records in freshwater fishing, filmed the multi part documentary Fish Warrrior for National Geographic Channel and has been creating TV shows for the Czech Television for a long time. On his expeditions around the world, he has experienced many adventures and faced various dangerous situations. Although, according to his own words, he could live anywhere in the world, he’s always glad to return home. Nowadays, his home is Lake Katlov, where he has been building his fishing background for several years and where he also organizes various events for children and youth every year. In the interview he talked not only about his travels and fishing, but also about his personal life, in which he is still looking for his very own goldfish…

Video

Where have you just returned from?

I can't really talk about my last journey, because it's my secret so far. As they say, it's under the cover. My previous expedition was in the Amazon, where I was shooting for a project that I had been preparing for the past ten years. A project that doesn’t concern fish, but one of the most important Amazonian tribes with which I have spent much of my life. I made an hour-long documentary for Czech Television there. I think it will be a total hit, something that hasn't been filmed yet.

Can you be a little more specific? For example, what kind of people are these?

You will see a culture that most people consider extinct.

You go to the Amazon very often, don't you?

You could say I’ve already spent a couple of years of my life there.

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Nové Město
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Nové Město, Praha 1

We all have a place we like to return to. Why Amazon? After all, it is dangerous, you need vaccinations and it’s way beyond the limits of our comfort…

The reasons you’ve just named might be exactly why I keep going there. Going to the Canary Islands or to the Maldives doesn’t satisfy me, when I know that about a billion people have been there before me. In my eyes, the nature in such places is already destroyed and modified by people for their comfort. I don't need any comfort, I need authenticity and purity, and I can find that in the Amazon. I don’t mind leaving my comfort zone. It’s not that I don't care that it's dangerous, but that's why other people avoid going there. Such places are always dangerous in one way or another and you have to pay for visiting them by accepting the risk. These places are beautiful for me because they are pure. Real nature without the intervention of human civilization.

How many days a year are you out of the country?

It depends. There were years when I was away for ten months. But now I have Katlov and other related things to take care of. So I'm out of the country for about five months a year, mostly because of shooting.

You’ve basically dedicated your entire life to fishing. Do you think it won’t change in the future? This passion of yours has already cost you several relationships.

In any relationship I have ever had, the other person, whether they were my friend, girlfriend or family member, has always found out sooner or later, that nature and fish have been, are and always will be on the first place for me, and no one can ever change that, because it is my life. You can ask any of the people around me and they’ll confirm it. It's not possible to change my nature.

It's not a matter of changing someone’s nature, that’s not possible. It’s about making compromises. But how can you make them when you're away for so long?

That’s the reason why I historically didn’t want to make a compromise, so as not to make anyone unhappy. Because in my case, making a compromise means that the person at my side won’t be completely happy. You can’t be selfish, you’ve got to let person go, so that they could find somebody they’ll be happy with.

Aren't you afraid you'll regret this decision one day? That you have dedicated your life to fish and nature?

I know if I stopped doing this job - and it's not a job for me, it's my mission - I would disappoint a lot of people. So I will certainly never regret it.

Both fishing and your traveling must be costly. You have sponsors, but it must have been Hell first, if you were financing it all on your own.

Hell... You know, I know what it's like to live without money, to be at the bottom, what it looks like when a person is almost broken. I've experienced it all. Money is important, but it's certainly not everything. I know a lot of rich people, who are in fact totally poor. And I also have people around me who have little to no money, but they are very rich. I think the world and the values are shifting in the wrong direction.

It’s interesting and perhaps a bit ironical that your brother Charles married such an icon of luxury and beauty, it doesn’t fit into your concept at all.

People really like to put everything into boxes. An animal behaves in this way, it does this and that, reaches such and such length and weight. But it doesn’t work for any animal species, especially not for humans. Every person is unique, one weighs 50 kilos and another 150, one wouldn't hurt a fly, while another is a mass murderer. One puts money on the first place, for another it’s not essential at all. I have a great relationship with my brother Kája, we are completely different, but in many ways we are exactly the same.

You said you had a list of all possible exotic diseases. How is it possible when you inoculate? Which one was the worst? And how do you deal with it in a place where there is no hospital nearby?

Let’s take malaria, which is the cause of death of over three million people annually, as an example. I’ve had it seven times already.

What do you do then, being in a foreign country?

Nothing. You either die, or survive.

So you just suffer through it?

There is no vaccination for malaria. All you can do is take anti-malaric drugs. But I had a lot of other tropical inconveniences. The worst I’ve ever felt was probably when I had malaria and typhoid fever at the same time, that was really on the edge... But it belongs to visiting these places. Severe and dangerous diseases - that’s one of the things I’ve mentioned, the price you have to pay for moving about in an uncivilized world. If you go there often, it is likely that you will catch something.

Your name is well known among fishermen, both in our republic and world wide - you are a fishing celebrity. Is there anyone who's stepping on your heels? Whether from the Czech Republic or another country?

I don't look at it this way, never have. I didn't start fishing so I could become famous or earn money. I started fishing in order to be happy. I left the third year of the Prague State Conservatory for fish.

Grandpa used to say, "Do one thing, do it fully and do it properly." The “fame” or the money, that’s all a byproduct of what I've loved since childhood. I’m glad it came, it's great, but I never longed for it. The fact that people started to recognize me, visit my lectures, ask for autographs and interviews like this, came somehow without me trying. Of course, it is a good feeling that I’m able to make a living out of something I enjoy.

But being concerned about someone possibly stepping on my heels? That’s never been my thing. They’re all my friends, I don’t see it that way. Among the "fishing elite" of the world, we highly respect each other, we advise and help each other when needed. Once you’ve achieved something and moved past the moment that people often have when they’re young - I had it too, "I am the smartest one, I know everything and the others are stupid" - in my field that means once you’ve been fishing so long that you no longer care whether your biggest fish is three meters and seven, or ten centimeters longer, you calm down, cause you don’t need to prove anything to yourself, and your values change completely.

Nowadays, traveling and learning about new cultures are just as important for me. If I catch a huge fish, it's a great bonus, if not, maybe next time.

Luxusní byt na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m
Luxusní byt na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m, Praha 1

Do you eat fish? Aren't you a vegetarian?

I'm not, I can't be vegetarian on those expeditions, so I eat everything that casts a shadow. I do eat fish, but not very often. I've always been saying the best chicken is pork and the finest fish is bovine.

And if I asked you what’s the best fish recipe by Jakub Vágner?

I'm a horrible chef, I think I can burn even water.

What do you think about all the animal protection and environmental organizations? Those that fish plastics out of the oceans, for example in Malaysia, it’s still a huge problem…

What I think about them... You don't use plastic stuff?

Once in a while, yes.

See? So why are you asking me about it? I use it too, all the people in the world do. To blame someone, saying it is his fault, that’s like me saying that oil companies caused the destruction of the Amazon. You drive a car, I drive a car. We’d have to go back to the caves. I won’t be the one to speak like this and judge others - to have the right, I would have to live differently, too, to have a clear conscience knowing I’m not participate in it.

But you live that way sometimes, like in the Amazon.

I do, but not 100 %. If I wanted to judge someone and speak against someone, I’d need to have a clear conscience. When you live in Europe of the 21st century, it’s simply not possible.

You are shooting all the time, there are a lot of shows featuring you. How do you see the future development of fishing?

It’s an endless development, the nature keeps changing. Evolution continues, in all aspects. We can still move forward, even in terms of humanity. Personally I am saddened by the fact that some of the things I managed to film in the past can’t be filmed anymore today. And it's been some measly 20 years.

I know that if I had children, they would never be able to see the unique things I’m shooting today, only in my documents. This is how I perceive my work - that I wish to capture those cultures, not just fishing, but also the places, nature, animals. I know the moment will come, even in my life, when it will no longer be possible to capture them, because they’ll be gone.

You said “if I had children”. Do you want to have children one day?

I certainly want to have children, but that time has not come yet.

You devote a lot of your time to children, educating them, organizing various events for them…

Yes, for example, 16 teams from all over Europe will come to Katlov at the end of May. A junior championship in carp fishing takes place there. Children from ten to eighteen will be present. And on the first of June, the Children's Day of the Fishing Festival takes place and the winners of the championship will be announced then. There will be a huge accompanying program. All attractions will be free for children and parents. It's a wonderful event, we're doing it for the fifth time.

When we organized the event for the first time, over two thousand people arrived without any advertising or marketing. Last year it was six times as much, it makes us happy. We are planning it all year long, my sister Terezka is in charge, she’s doing a great job.

For the past ten years, I've been trying to spend as much time with children as possible, because I think that's the most important thing we can do. It's nice to see how happy little boys and girls are outside, in nature and around water.

That surprises me, today's kids prefer to sit at the computer and parents have a problem getting them out.

It's not that children are not interested in nature, there are just very few people who are able to show it to them in an entertaining way.

Fast confession:

What fishing means to you in one sentence.

Lifelong passion.

You are a pro at catching fish, how about girls?

Probably not.

Except fishing, what are you good at?

Friendship.

How do you like to spend your time when you're not around water?

I'm always around water.

Where would you like to invite the public in the nearby future?

To the Children's Day of the Fishing Festival at Katlov on June 1st.

The worst nightmare of every fisherman?

That he won't catch anything.

The most dangerous fishing in your life?

Congo.

Where in the world do you think the most beautiful sunsets can be found?

At home in the Czech Republic at Katlov.

Where can I catch a fish without microplasts in its body?

Almost nowhere.

The worst injury that happened to you at work?

A long list of exotic diseases.

How do you want the public to see Katlov?

As a place where the whole family can relax.

Where would you invite a girl for your first date?

I’d take her fishing, of course.

The sexiest woman in the world?

My mum.

What do you think of commercial whale and dolphin hunting in one sentence?

It’s the twenty-first century, so not anymore.
Question from the interviewee for the editor:

How are you?

Great, but I won’t go fishing with you.
Don't say that, it can change!
Luxury Prague Life

Share / become a fan

Photo gallery (6)

View photo gallery

About the author

Redakční tým
Luxury Real Estates
Luxusní byt se zahradou na Praze 8 - 339m
Praha 8

Luxusní byt se zahradou na Praze 8 - 339m

4 + KK 139 m², ter. 27 m²
17 304 348 CZK
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 5 - 320m
Praha 5

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 5 - 320m

5 + KK 320 m², bal. 4 m², ter. 38 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej 620 m2 - Praha
Praha 6

Luxusní vila na prodej 620 m2 - Praha

Atypický 620 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt Pařížská 205m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt Pařížská 205m

5 + KK 205 m², ter. 40 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 5 - 260m
Praha 5

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 5 - 260m

4 + KK 234 m², bal. 16 m², ter. 40 m²
23 900 000 CZK
Show property
Unikátní byt na Praze 1 - 174m
Praha 1

Unikátní byt na Praze 1 - 174m

4 + KK 174 m², ter. 14 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha - 981m
Praha 5

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha - 981m

8 + KK 981 m², ter. 41 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha
Praha 6

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha

7 + KK 634 m², ter. 190 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt Petrské náměstí - 214
Praha 1

Luxusní byt Petrské náměstí - 214

4 + KK 214 m², ter. 62 m²
25 000 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha 6 - Hanspaulka
Praha 6

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha 6 - Hanspaulka

7 + KK 527 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město

4 + KK 229 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej 267m
Praha 6

Luxusní byt na prodej 267m

7 + 1 267 m²
32 900 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní penthaus na Praze 1 - 226m
Praha 1

Luxusní penthaus na Praze 1 - 226m

4 + 1 226 m², bal. 7 m², ter. 24 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Nové Město
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Nové Město

3 + KK 132 m²
14 600 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha východ 1341m
Okolí Prahy

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha východ 1341m

7 + KK 1341 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m

5 + KK 318 m², ter. 80 m²
46 000 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní vila na pronájem na Praze 5 - 996m
Praha 5

Luxusní vila na pronájem na Praze 5 - 996m

5 + KK 707 m², bal. 20 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město

3 + KK 156 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Staré Město

2 + KK 73 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní penthouse na pronájem na Vinohradech
Praha 2

Luxusní penthouse na pronájem na Vinohradech

5 + KK 343 m², ter. 34 m²
175 000 CZK
Show property
Byt na pronájem Praha 1 - 86m
Praha 1

Byt na pronájem Praha 1 - 86m

2 + KK 86 m², bal. 3 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt s výhledem na hrad Smetanovo
Praha 1

Luxusní byt s výhledem na hrad Smetanovo

2 + KK 106 m²
100 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní penthouse na Vinohradech - 343m
Praha 2

Luxusní penthouse na Vinohradech - 343m

5 + KK 343 m², ter. 34 m²
56 300 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní byt s terasami Hřebenky - 251m
Praha 5

Luxusní byt s terasami Hřebenky - 251m

5 + KK 251 m², bal. 26 m²
price upon request
Show property
Byt na prodej Karlín - 50m
Praha 8

Byt na prodej Karlín - 50m

2 + KK 46 m², bal. 5 m²
7 499 000 CZK
Show property
Dům na prodej Malá Strana Praha
Praha 1

Dům na prodej Malá Strana Praha

3 + 1 92 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt s terasami Hřebenky - 426m
Praha 5

Luxusní byt s terasami Hřebenky - 426m

5 + KK 387 m², bal. 26 m², ter. 118 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní kancelář Petrské náměstí 214m
Praha 1

Luxusní kancelář Petrské náměstí 214m

4 + KK 214 m², ter. 62 m²
25 000 000 CZK
Show property
Penthouse na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m
Praha 1

Penthouse na prodej Rašínovo nábřeží - 318m

5 + KK 318 m², ter. 80 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt terasou na Praze 1 - 232m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt terasou na Praze 1 - 232m

4 + 1 232 m², ter. 60 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Malá Strana
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 - Malá Strana

3 + KK 239 m²
36 329 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní byt s terasou Praha 1 - 208m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt s terasou Praha 1 - 208m

6 + KK 208 m², ter. 24 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej - Malá Strana - 257
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej - Malá Strana - 257

5 + KK 257 m²
price upon request
Show property
Byt na pronájem Praha 1 - 105m
Praha 1

Byt na pronájem Praha 1 - 105m

3 + 1 105 m²
50 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Josefov Praha
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Josefov Praha

3 + KK 115 m², bal. 3 m²
price upon request
Show property
Byt s terasou na prodej Hradčany - 196m
Praha 1

Byt s terasou na prodej Hradčany - 196m

4 + KK 196 m², ter. 12 m²
20 500 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní vila na prodej na Praze 5 - 996m
Praha 5

Luxusní vila na prodej na Praze 5 - 996m

5 + KK 707 m², bal. 20 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt Praha 6 - 89m
Praha 6

Luxusní byt Praha 6 - 89m

2 + KK 89 m², ter. 8 m²
price upon request
Show property
Byt na prodej s terasou 246m
Praha 8

Byt na prodej s terasou 246m

4 + KK 246 m², ter. 96 m²
price upon request
Show property
Byt na pronájem s terasou Praha 1 - 202m
Praha 1

Byt na pronájem s terasou Praha 1 - 202m

5 + 1 202 m², ter. 13 m²
90 000 CZK
Show property
Luxusní penthouse Troja 415m
Praha 7

Luxusní penthouse Troja 415m

Atypický 415 m², bal. 4 m², ter. 9 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní penthouse Troja 396m
Praha 7

Luxusní penthouse Troja 396m

6 + KK 396 m², ter. 71 m²
price upon request
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 Staré Město
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Praha 1 Staré Město

2 + KK 133 m², bal. 3 m²
Reserved
Show property
Luxusní byt Praha 1 - Malá Strana 66m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt Praha 1 - Malá Strana 66m

2 + KK 66 m², bal. 5 m²
Reserved
Show property
Obchodní prostor na prodej Malá Strana 31m
Praha 1

Obchodní prostor na prodej Malá Strana 31m

Atypický 31 m²
Reserved
Show property
Luxusní byt v Troji
Praha 7

Luxusní byt v Troji

1 + KK 38 m²
Reserved
Show property
Byt se zimní zahradou Smetanovo nábřeží 256m
Praha 1

Byt se zimní zahradou Smetanovo nábřeží 256m

4 + KK 256 m²
Reserved
Show property
Byt na Praze 6 - 105m
Praha 6

Byt na Praze 6 - 105m

4 + KK 105 m²
Reserved
Show property
Luxusní byt na prodej Staré Město 159m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt na prodej Staré Město 159m

4 + 1 159 m², bal. 2 m²
Reserved
Show property
Pronájem luxusního bytu s terasami Praha
Praha 4

Pronájem luxusního bytu s terasami Praha

3 + KK 146 m², bal. 5 m², ter. 17 m²
Reserved
Show property
Obchodní prostor na pronájem Praha 1 - 277m
Praha 1

Obchodní prostor na pronájem Praha 1 - 277m

Atypický 277 m²
Reserved
Show property
Byty Janáčkovo nábřeží 211m
Praha 5

Byty Janáčkovo nábřeží 211m

4 + 1 211 m², bal. 4 m², ter. 11 m²
Reserved
Show property
Pronájem bytu Janáčkovo nábřeží 211m
Praha 5

Pronájem bytu Janáčkovo nábřeží 211m

4 + 1 211 m², bal. 4 m², ter. 11 m²
Reserved
Show property
Byt s terasami u řeky 239m
Praha 8

Byt s terasami u řeky 239m

5 + KK 239 m², ter. 66 m²
Reserved
Show property
Luxusní byt na Praze 3 - 128m
Praha 3

Luxusní byt na Praze 3 - 128m

3 + KK 128 m²
Reserved
Show property
Luxusní byt Praha 1 - 96m
Praha 1

Luxusní byt Praha 1 - 96m

3 + KK 96 m²
Reserved
Show property
Supermakléřky - real estate comics