Tiger Fish Tourney Lures Tourists To Kariba

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the tournament, with 300 teams already confirming their participation for the event, making it the largest event in Kariba for a long time.

A number of tourists are expected from across the world, a welcome development for the country that is desperate to lure foreign visitors but suffers from bad international perceptions.

Since Zimbabwe embarked on a chaotic land reform programme at the turn of the millennium, foreigners have been loath to visit the country, but the lure of the tiger fishing tournament could prove just too tempting to resist.

The tiger fish is Africa’s biggest predatory fish and such tournaments usually bring the best anglers to the country from across the world as they hope to break the record of catching the largest one.

The record of the biggest tiger fish ever caught in this competition is held by Martinhus van Rensburg, who in 2009 caught one weighing 12.735 kilogrammes.

However, visitors from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia, Namibia, England, Canada, and the Middle East are hoping to grab the record from the Zimbabwean van Rensburg at the lake on the northern Zimbabwe-Zambia border.

Organisers of the event said they expected this year’s tournament to be the biggest yet and where preparing for a festive season, from Monday right through to the end of the tournament, which begins in earnest on Wednesday.

The invitational tournament will run from Wednesday to Friday and the organisers say they have lined up several acts including Bud Cockcroft, Rob and Ellie Osborne, Fraser Mackay and Paul Bowen amongst to entertain every evening from Monday 24 October through to Friday.

The Kariba Invitation tournament was in the year 2000 recognised by the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) as one of the greatest game fish tournaments in the world and was made a qualifying round of the IGFA Inshore World Game Fish Championships.

The two day event is expected to provide a thrilling experience to anglers, as Lake Kariba, the world’s largest human-made reservoir, is known for its abundant shoreline wildlife, unique weather patterns, and spectacular scenery, it is more than 220 kilometres long and up to 40 kilometres wide and covers an area of 5,580 square kilometres.

The KITFT tournament started in 1962 with 33 teams, mainly from Zimbabwe and South Africa. The largest number of teams recorded was 333 in 1991. Last year (2010), the event attracted 143 teams from more than 6 countries.

The tournament is held at the National Anglers Union of Zimbabwe site at Charara on the shores of Lake Kariba where a new and enlarged weigh bay area has recently been built”