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African Tiger Fish: The Best Freshwater Game Fish in Africa

Home > African Tiger Fish: The Best Freshwater Game Fish in Africa

African Tiger Fish: The Best Freshwater Game Fish in Africa

African Tiger fish (hydrocynus vittatus) will give any fisherman an exhilarating challenge. The tiger found in Lake Kariba are the second largest variety. Its name is a combination of the english phrases ‘water dog’ and ‘striped’.

The african tiger fish have a reputation within the sport fishing enthusiasts community as being fierce, wily creatures. They are considered as being among the most exciting freshwater game fish in Africa.

 

African Tiger Fish Facts and Information

To have a successful Kariba fishing trip, certain factors such as the weather and behaviors of the fish at different times of the year should all be taken into account when thinking of catching tiger fish.

There are several sports fishing methods employed by anglers including Fly-Fishing, Trolling, Drift Fishing and Spinning. When angling for this impressive fish make sure the equipment you use is strong and sturdy so that you don’t lose your catch in the fight!

It is a fierce predator with a long slender shape and a forked caudal fin. Their scales are described as large, iridescent and silvery with their appearance changing from light to dark shades of colour. This fish can grow to up to 33 pounds.

Tiger fish teeth are distinguished by being large, sharp and protruding. Their jaw holds a series of replacement teeth, meant to take the place of any teeth that might be lost or broken. As you can imagine, a tiger bite will be extremely painful and debilitating.

Although they grow to quite large sizes, this fish is seen as the equivalent to the South American Piranha, even though it belongs to a completely different zoological family. Like the piranha, they have interlocking, razor-sharp teeth, muscular bodies, and are extremely aggressive and efficient predators who often hunt in groups.

The African Tiger are the first freshwater fish to have been recorded and confirmed in attacking and catching birds in flight showing both their agility and ferociousness.

tiger fish kariba
Tiger Fish on the Abangane Houseboat

Tiger are generally found in the surface layers of warm, well-oxygenated waters, often found in major rivers and lakes. Usually, they form large roving schools of similar sized fish drifting in the water hunting various species of fish that pass by. Alternatively, large adults are found in schools of four or five.

This fish will attack a prey as large as itself, including small animals that may be browsing along river banks. They will also turn to cannibalism when food is scarce.

The tiger fish along the Zambezi River system breeds during summer when the adult fish migrate either upstream or downstream to locate suitable breeding grounds (usually shores and flooded riverbanks) with a single female then laying up to 780,000 ova. Predators from birth, baby tiger feed on zoo plankton and as they reach maturity move on to more complicated prey.