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How to Fish for Tiger Fish in South Africa

In Europe, you fish for carp. Bass is the top species in America. But, among Africans, tigers are kingfish. Although these terrifying beasts are well-known in the Zambezi Valley, you can find them all over Africa. In fact, South Africa’s availability for tiger fishing is greatly underappreciated. Tiger fishing is not the largest in South Africa, and in contrast to its enormous Congolese relatives, it doesn’t even have the largest fish. However, it does have fantastic fishing, convenient access, and breathtaking scenery to top it all off.

Why is tiger fish at the top of every fisherman’s list?

Before we delve into the details, let’s clarify what distinguishes the African tiger fish from its counterparts. Actually, it’s not that complicated. These aquatic projectiles wear scale armour and have a slew of pointed daggers in their mouths. And catching them is also a thrilling experience. At lightning speed, tigers may rip leads out of spools, damage lures, and deplete bait supplies. They can be frightening one second and obstinate and violent the next, adding insult to injury. When you add in some impressive flying skills and stunningly beautiful looks, you have a fish that you could spend a lifetime capturing. Tiger fish from South Africa typically weigh about 1 kilogramme, and specimens that reach 4 kilogrammes or more are regarded as true trophy fish. Still, you shouldn’t treat these fish carelessly. The tiger fish’s strong runs and ferocious hits are legendary. The power of a little attack is well known to anyone who has faced up against bonefish, and tigers are known for their devastating right hook. Fighting a tiger fish on the line is an exhilarating experience that you cannot explain to any fisherman who has not experienced it.

Where is the best place for tiger fishing in South Africa?

Tiger fish are not common in South Africa. The east of the country, near the borders of Eswatini (Swaziland) and Mozambique, is their exclusive habitat. They live on two rivers: The Pongola and the Komati, which flow into the Crocodile River. The Pongola provides by far the best action, with Lake Jozini, also known as Pongolapoort Dam, at the heart of the activity.

You can catch tiger fish year-round, but the seasons dictate where and how to do so. In the winter, the rivers and dam are cool, clean, and low, making them ideal for sight casting. Nonetheless, it can be difficult to entice the fish to bite because of their slow and lethargic nature, especially when using flies or lures.

The waters are still clean in early spring, but the temperature is rising. The breeding season begins in October, when the fish move upstream to spawn in faster-moving water. In addition, the first rains usually arrive around this time, agitating the silt and bringing agricultural runoff into the dam.

Summertime is the perfect time to see tiger fish. They are feeding far more vigorously because the water is warm and there is an abundance of food. On the other hand, poor visibility might make it difficult to locate them, and prolonged hot weather and precipitation can cut into your fishing time.

In the fall, tigers also begin to bulk up for winter. Despite the murkiest rivers, milder weather and less rain allow for more time on the water. Although murky water actually suits tiger fish, it does make them more difficult to locate.

How do you target tiger fish?

Using a boat is the most effective way to pursue tiger fish. Tiger fishing is a fly-fisherman’s paradise. People rarely regret their trip to face these winged creatures; they come from all over the world to do so. Early spring, when the water is still clear but beginning to warm up, is the optimum time to catch with flies.

However, traditional or spinning gear can also yield excellent results. Tiger fish are equally eager to take in different types of lures, but if you ever want to use your soft baits again, you should leave them at home. Other useful techniques include trolling and live bait fishing, particularly in situations when visibility is too poor for sight casting.

When tigers are small, they tend to travel in packs, so don’t be shocked if you hook up twice or even three times. But it’s great to move on once you’ve worked on an area for a while. When there is too much activity in one area, tigers quickly move on.

Gearing up for a tiger fishing trip

Here are some basics to keep in mind when going on a tiger fishing trip:

Fly fishing tackle
For tiger fishing, an excellent all-around rod and reel combination is a 9′ 8 with an excellent drag and intermediate line spooled on it. This will enable you to correctly set the hook and stop the fish as they make their famously powerful runs towards the structure.

The foods that tigers eat don’t matter to them. Traditional flies in a range of hues, such as Clouser Minnows and Lefty’s Deceivers, are excellent choices. The sharpness of your hooks is the most crucial factor. Because tiger fish have extremely strong jaws, standard hooks might not be strong enough. We also recommend bringing extra supplies, as a tiger bite can easily devour a spoon, let alone a fly!

Conventional tackle
Rigging a solid 6-7′ medium-heavy spinning rod with 9-kg braid can handle nearly any scenario without the need for flashy gear. If you’d like to fish with more precision, you have the option to bring a lighter rod. A great deal of line and drag are the most crucial factors.

Tiger fishing calls for a wide array of lures. To get the most out of each day, carry a variety of sizes and colours of spoons, spinners, and plugs. Tilapia is another option for live baiting. Once again, the key is extremely crisp. Replace any trebles with recently sharpened circle hooks for the most secure hook-up.
In conclusion, South Africa is a country famous for its saltwater fishing. The country is renowned for its big Yellowfin Tuna, giant Kob, and the intimidating-looking Snoek. However, for those who know, the country’s dams and rivers offer just as much action as the ocean ever could. Tiger fishing is nothing short of legendary.

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