Florida icon and Outdoor Channel‘s “Savage Wild” host and star Manny Puig showed off his newest Trident hunting spears at this weekend’s Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo.
The Cuban-born wild animal expert, alligator wrangler and long-time adventure TV staple has been quietly working on these hand-made, steel weapons in his South Florida home for a few years.
Puig tells DeeperBlue.com that he wanted to create a better spear than what was being used, one that was safer and more effective at controlling a large animal.
Originally designed for wild boar, which are an invasive and highly destructive denizen of Florida’s swamps and woodlands, Puig describes how the trident is equally adept for hunting alligators and large fish.
While he has designed dozens of knives, spears, axes, hammers and other primitive weapons for hunters, the trident is by far the biggest, most lethal of the collection, which can be viewed on Puig’s Facebook page.
Manny Puig is magnetic. Larger than life, with his trademark white hair framing his face, he gleefully shares stories with the gathering crowd of large-animal encounters and some of the many close calls he’s experienced while chasing after almost every dangerous animal in the Americas.
Puig recounted the time a Lemon Shark stole his diving fin in the Bahamas and he had to jump back in without a fin to recover it. Almost as an aside, Puig talked about the time an alligator bit his back, no bravado in his voice, just reciting the facts.
Waving his left hand in the air as he talks, one can immediately see Puig’s missing middle finger. When asked if that was due to alligators, sharks or perhaps an industrial accident while crafting his tridents, Puig calmly says “Rattlesnake” and goes on to tell the rapt audience about how the Western Diamondback had taken advantage of a momentary lapse and the subsequent damage from the venom had caused the loss of the finger.
It is these stories and experiences that people want to hear. They have seen Puig on Extreme Contact, the Jackass TV shows or movies, Outdoor Channel’s “Savage Wild,” or MTV’s “WildBoyz” and want to meet the legend in person.
Puig took the time to answer questions, pose for photos and describe his tridents, knives, axes and spears. One gets the sense that Puig is not wholly comfortable with the role of hero or legend, seemingly surprised at the number of fans who approached him asking to get a picture “with the legend.”
When asked what the future holds in store, Puig says “one day at a time.”
Puig did, with some prompting, admit he wanted to be in the water with a Polar Bear, one of the only predators he hasn’t been eye to eye with. Puig also shared how he has been doing a lot of “hand fishing,” i.e. noodling or grabbling for fish with his bare hands.
To date, Puig says his largest catch has been a 350-400 pound Grouper. That said, “I can catch a bigger one,” he added, which neatly sums up the indomitable spirit of this Florida legend.