In an ideal world, practiced Internet detectives Nev Schulman and Max Joseph would be on-hand to assist anyone who's troubled by a shady online crush, but the guys only have so many hours in a day and, unlike Chia Pets, you can't just grow 'em at home. Still, no one says you can't go Catfishing yourself!
Haven't been able to land the services of MTV's sleuthing duo just yet? Well, you can at least look to the strategies they enlist on the show for some inspiration. Below are five things you must absolutely have in your "Catfish" tackle box to successfully expose any mimicking bottom-feeder. Forget lures and bobbers -- take our advice, and you'll surely get some bites on your line.
1) Reverse Google Image Search: If we had a dime for every time Max and Nev turned to this engine... Nowadays, those who have doubts about matches they've met online know to upload photos in question to validate or void their authenticity, but Max and Nev are the instrument's true pioneers, and got viewers to stop accepting any ol' photo for face value.
2) Tenacity: Do these guys give up when the going gets tough? Hardly. Dead ends have never blown them off course, and whether Internet daters are reluctant to meet, or they live in the furthest reaches of East Nowhere, rest assured: Max and Nev will find them. They were willing to unearth Bow Wow as a potential connection, for crying out loud!
3) A quiet coffee shop (with WiFi): The distractions of home (or a hotel room, in Max and Nev's case), are too much to contend with when you've really gotta get down to business, and no matter what city the guys land in, they always seem to find a way to the closest java house. Not only do the quiet spaces offer a good atmosphere to think, the caffeine buzz from a cup o' mud could keep The Sandman chuggin' along.
4) Patience: When aiming to uncover the truth, you've gotta stay committed, but don't run yourself ragged! Remember that finding a Catfish is a process, and every so often, you've gotta give yourself a break to keep your sanity. When you hit a wall, clear your head with a game of catch or a trip to the movies, then once you're back on the grind, you'll be more focused.
5) A handycam: You'll never catch Max without his own personal recorder, and you shouldn't leave home without it either. Catching a catfish is a bizarre, twisted experience, and you'll want to remember every minute of it -- if for no other reason than to produce your own cautionary tale.