Africa still has so many remote and unexplored fisheries that some of its fish species are not yet scientifically identified. I just spoke with Keith Clover of Tourette Fishing and he told me the tigerfish we will be targeting in Tanzania next week is no longer classified as the same type of tigerfish as those of the Zambezi and Okavango River systems. If you look back in my previous blog posted October 24th I mentioned that they were the same and want to clear it up.
My information came from an article “The Quest for Trophy Tigers” written in 2008. If you want a great read and to see some unreal photos it’s archived on the Tourette Fishing website in the articles section. At the time of the editorial there was little information on the Tanzanian tigerfish and despite its different appearance and larger size they were still considered to be (Hydrocynus vittatus). However, after recent studies of DNA from fin clip samples provided by Tourette Fishing, this amazing predator has been determined its own species. This Tanzanian tigerfish is (Hydrocynus tanzaniae).
The visual differences in tigerfish species aren’t nearly as dramatic as say that of trout species but I can see differences. In past trips to Africa Granny and I have caught at least two types of tigerfish.
The first hero shot on this entry is Granny with the Zambezi tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus). We were in Namibia fishing the Chobe River (five miles up from where it enters the Zambezi). It was actually my 40th birthday when she caught this beast!
The next photo is me holding a tigerfish that Granny caught in Egypt, (Hydrocynus forskahlii). We were Nile Perch fishing on Lake Nasser (the lake formed on the Nile River by the Aswan Dam). We were five days into a two week camping trip. Granny was tired of casting the 9-weight for Niles so I rigged her a red and white Clouser Minnow on a 7-weight. All I can say is she wished she had the 9-weight for this 7.5lb Egyptian tigerfish. Did I mention that tigers fight hard?
Lucky for me, Granny isn’t joining us to Tanzania next week and I’ll have a chance at a big Tanzanian tigerfish, (Hydrocynus tanzaniae). That’s the tigerfish in the last photo, courtesy of Tourette. They were only discovered a few years ago and the biggest caught so far is 28lbs.
The largest tiger is the goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) of the Congo and Lake Tanganyika. You can find pictures of them on Google but I have yet to hold one and don’t have a picture to show. I would do about anything to go try to nail one of these on a fly. Goliaths reach 100lbs!
There’s plenty of work being done studying tigerfish these days. For your average angler having one on the line is enough. But I find it very interesting and hope to catch them all before I’m done.
Tanzania should be a great trip with plenty of stories and photos to come. If they don’t appear on my blog next week – not to worry. My guess is there won’t be any chance at all of internet in the jungle, but I’ll keep a good journal and transfer it to the blog the minute possible just like on my past adventures. I should also mention I will be interviewed live on Fly Fishing – Internet Radio on November 17th. It will be entirely about fishing for tigerfish and I’ll share stories from this trip and past trips. You won’t want to miss it!