THE monster (11 470kg) tiger fish which Gideon Benade hooked during the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fishing Tournament (KITFT), competed for over three days in debilitating heat last week, won him a brand new Nissan NP200 bakkie valued at about $25 000.
Report by Dusty Miller
The pick-up, donated by Nissan Zimbabwe, was the competition’s major individual prize waiting to be claimed by the angler to capture the biggest tiger fish weighing more than 10kg to be checked in at the Nissan-sponsored and manned weighbay at Charara in Lake Kariba’s Eastern Basin.
Gideon, from the Beatrice area, fishes for Charter X Africom, the team which won the overall tournament against competition from 139 other local, regional and overseas fishing sides.
There was drama and heartache for fisherwoman Michelle Hull from Charter A, who for a few brief moments thought she had won the silver painted two-seater commercial vehicle, having logged in her best catch of the day and event with a mass of 10 370kg. Gideon’s fish pipped hers by more than a kilo when his team weighed in a few minutes later.
The KITFT experimented this year with “catch-and-release”, some 10 volunteer teams having their catches photographed and weights scientifically calculated before being slipped back into the lake with a portion of their tails sliced off for identification purposes.
Organisers insist catch-and-release is the future for local competitive tiger fishing, but not all anglers shared their enthusiasm.
It is not known what percentage of fish returned to the wilds survived the trauma of being hooked, fighting for often up to half an hour and then being handled by sometimes several anglers and/or officials.