Every single freshwater fisherman dreams of landing a tiger fish. These toothy devils are a challenge to even the most experienced fisherman as they are some of the toughest fighting fish that you will every encounter. One of the best ways to experience tiger fishing in South Africa is on a kayak. Finding great kayaks for sale can be tricky but it’s well worth the trouble as it will make your fishing experience that much sweeter.
South Africa is home to some of the best Tiger fishing spots in the world so we will go through them with you and also give you a rundown on some great tiger fishing tips and info on landing yourself a massive Tiger Fish.
What is Tiger Fishing?
The Tiger Fish is fierce, very intelligent, and widely regarded as the best freshwater game fish to catch in Africa. The Tiger Fish has a blue/silver fusiform shaped body, red and yellow pointed fins which are enclosed by black trailing edges. The head of the Tiger is large with abnormally bony cheeks and jaws. This is another reason why they are so hard to catch as the bony cheeks make it difficult for your fishing hook to penetrate the fish. There are 8 teeth per jaw which are conical & extremely sharp. These teeth are used more for grasping prey than tearing its flesh. They are designed to hold onto prey in heavy currents. These teeth are replaced thoughout the Tiger Fish’s lifespan. Males and females are very similar to each other in shape and colour but males are generally smaller. They only reach +_ 500mm at maturity while the females can be much larger, reaching over 700mm at maturity. The average size is quite misleading as Tiger Fish that are found in the fast flowing waters of the raging Zambezi, for example, can reach 10kg in weight. (The largest one on record is said to have weighed 70 kg).
It’s the only fish that have no fear of crocodiles and they will actually eat the smaller crocodiles if they venture too near. It outclasses every African game fish in speed and power.
As you can see, the Tiger fish is not to be trifled with. This is what makes it such an amazing fish to catch. If you couple that with the act that they can only be found in large freshwater river systems then you can get an idea of why these fish are a freshwater fisherman’s dream.
Best Spots for Tiger Fishing South Africa has to offer
There are really only two places in South Africa where you can find monster Tiger Fish, Jozini Dam and Komatipoort.
Jozini Dam (Pongola): Jozini Dam is in the heart of the Zulu Kingdom in Kwazulu Natal and has many small bays and inlets that are perfect for fishing tiger fish, kurper and barbel. This dam is comparable to other legendary African tiger fishing spots including Cahora Bassa, the Okavango and Lake Kariba. A very healthy Tiger fish population exists here, with tigers of up to 10kg being caught all year round.
Komatipoort: 8 km from the Crocodile bridge in the Kruger Park. This area is abundant in dams, the largest being Driekoppies Dam. It is well-stocked with fish like Florid Large Mouth Bass, Small Mouth Bass, Tilapia, Yellowfish and good sized Tigerfish.
Please remember to take your malaria pills when you go to this area. Make sure you are weary of hippos at night and be vigilant next to the water as there are very large crocodiles. Do not park your vehicle next to the edge of the river. It can be quite difficult to get your vehicle out once it is stuck.
Tiger Fishing Tips
Explore: Make sure that you explore the entire body of water that you are fishing on. You can even go as far as creating your own fishing map. This way, you can mark off which areas are best to fish under different wind conditions.
Weather conditions: The weather plays a massive part in the quality of your fishing experience. Rain and wind can bring dirt into the dam which makes for bad fishing. Tiger fish prefer warmer water in the winter so try to find areas that are cut off from the rest of the dam. In winter the fishing is a bit slower but they still bite. High winds will also create currents under the surface and Tiger Fish don’t like this. They will be in the more secluded spots when the wind is strong.
Protection: Take plenty of sunscreen and sun protection like hats and sunglasses. You will be in the sun all day and the last thing you want is sunstroke.
Stay hydrated: Tiger fish are very strong fighters and a battle with one of these beasts will tire you out. Bring lots of water with you.
Tackle: Only use big, strong split rings as the small ones will buckle under the pressure of a Tiger fish. Remember that these fish can travel 70-80 km/h in the water and the forces on your equipment will be immense. Replace all treble hooks with single hooks. Treble hooks won’t hook on a tiger fish’s bony mouth. Only use Steel wire and nylon coated traces, those teeth will shred anything else. Lastly make sure you don’t touch the line at all when the Tiger fish strikes. The line will injure you when it’s running.
Always practice catch and release with Tiger Fish: Tiger Fish put more energy into killing than breeding. They can take up to five and 14 years to double in size so they grow very slowly. Let’s keep these guys around for the next generation of fisherman.
Accessories for Tiger Fishing
Now that we have your attention, let’s go through what you will need. As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to explore the vast river systems and catch Tiger Fish is on the back of a Kayak, so here are some tips for Kayak fishing.
Kayak selection: Look out for solid kayaks for sale as this will provide more safety from the big tiger fish as you can roll it without waterlogging the Kayak and have more leg room/fishing room. Make sure they aren’t too big though as you want it to still be maneuverable around the water ways.
Fishing Rods: When looking for good tiger fishing rods for sale, one must make sure that the rod is durable. Depending on your style of fishing you might opt for a variety of rods but they should always be medium to heavy gage to take the strains from the Tiger Fish. They are incredibly powerful and, as we have mentioned, they can get pretty big too.
Rod Holder: When your boat flips or it gets caught on a tree, the last thing you want is to lose your rod and reel. There are a few different kinds but get one that suits your style. Just make sure the current isn’t too strong or you will capsize the Kayak.
Anchors: When you find the perfect spot you don’t want to float away so a decent anchor is a must for dam fishing.
Paddle Leash: If you land a fish, the last thing you are going to worry about is your paddle, so to make sure you aren’t stuck up a creek without a paddle, get yourself a paddle leash.
The biggest Tiger Fish Ever Caught
Now that you know what Tiger Fishing is all about and you also know what gear to get, let’s give you some inspiration…
The biggest Tiger Fish to have ever been caught, on record, is a Goliath Tiger Fish that was caught in Zaire in the Zaire River. It weighed 44 kgs. This was homologated by the IGFA. There are reports of people catching Tiger Fish that are much bigger but this hasn’t been confirmed by an independent fishing organization. Think about it, that weighs as much as German Shepard with razor sharp teeth and a very bad temper. Go out there and catch the next big one!
Remember, the best way to fish for Tiger Fish is off a Kayak. To find awesome kayaks for sale, browse through Junk Mail’s extensive range of Kayaks. You are guaranteed to find the perfect Tiger Fish hunter online! Selling your Kayak? Place your FREE ad on www.JunkMail.co.za now!