Tigerfishing in Lake Kariba

Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers” so said Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States of America. We totally agree with him – fishing is so restful, yet utterly exhilarating – a perfect combination of pursuing that which is elusive and yet oh so attainable…and this is epitomised by tiger fishing!

Over the years, fishing has evolved from being a simple means of putting food on the table and transformed into, arguably, the most popular water sport in the world. The love for sport fishing continues to grow and this is evidenced by the number of tournaments available to fishermen across the world today.

Tiger fishing is, undoubtedly, one of the favoured types of sports fishing. Much more challenging than bream fishing, tiger fishing demands an increased level of skill and patience but also provides a greater feeling of satisfaction once the fish is landed.

The Tigerfish derives its name from its striking resemblance to the tiger. Its jaws are lined with a series of large, protruding sharply pointed teeth especially suited for hunting. The Tigerfish is a predator for most of its life, feeding on smaller fish.  With access to enough food, the Tigerfish can grow to over 16kg.  The Tigerfish, apart from humans, also falls prey to the Swooping Fish Eagle when they frequent the water surface.

This fish prefers large bodies of warm, well-oxygenated deep waters. With the correct balance of these elements, these fish breed and can multiply quickly. Because they are such fierce predators, Tigerfish are at the top of the food chain. They will feed at any depth of the waters, on anything small enough to swallow. Tigerfish only really need to beware of being swooped upon by Fish Eagles…and eager fishermen of course!

An example of a habitat that provides the ideal conditions for Tigerfish is Lake Kariba. Lake Kariba is richly blessed with one of the largest reserves of Tanganyika sardine, which is a Tigerfish delicacy. This, coupled with the very hot temperatures of Kariba, makes the lake a perfect breeding ground for them.

Although fishing tends to peak in the summer months of September, October, November and December, the generally warm weather conditions in Kariba mean that it is basically fishing season all year round.  October is the hottest month of the season. The temperatures average 32 degrees Celsius and peak as high as 38 degrees Celsius

Every October, anglers from different parts of the world descend on the town of Kariba to take part in the annual Kariba International Tiger Fishing Tournament. The record for the biggest Tigerfish ever caught in Kariba stands at 16.1Kgs landed on 12 Sept 2001 by Ms Jennifer Daynes. The biggest tiger fish ever caught in the actual competition, however, weighed more than 12.735kg, with the record holder being a Mauritian, Martinhus Van Rensburg in 2009.

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