The water is clear and starts to warm up just after winter. As water recedes back off the floodplains it causes baitfish to be drawn back into the main channel, providing the perfect hunting ground for Tigerfish.
Catch the tiger fish of your dreams with the tiger fishing and Zambezi River specialist TigerFishingZambezi. Great priced fishing packages, info and advice. Shackletons Tiger Lodge have devised this simple to use chart to indicate the best time to fish for Tigers on the upper Zambezi and what method to use.
We call it the Golden Hour, just before and after sunset and sunrise. Tigerfish are opportunists and hunt using the element of surprise in low light. Tigerfish can hunt their prey far more effectively in the low light. In May and June, when the water levels are high, the main Zambezi is a very active area for Tigerfish. Alternatively, in August, the water levels in the Kasai Channel get very low, and the mini Barbel run begins.
Barbel hunt in packs and prey on baitfish hiding beneath the papyrus reeds. I feel that fly fishing is far more effective than conventional heavy fishing gear.
A fly is much lighter and moves more naturally in the water. You want a lot of deck space to move around freely when you hook the Tigerfish.
It can get quite cold on the boat, especially in the morning and after sunset. Wear a warm fleece, long pants and a woollen hat with lighter clothes underneath for when the day gets hotter. What always impresses me is just how savage these fish are.
I once landed a Tigerfish that was cut clean in half by one of its own kind driven into a feeding frenzy. All rods, flies, lures, lines, leaders, reels and other fishing equipment are included with every fishing safari package.
Stay in one of eight air-conditioned Meru safari tents, dine on world-class African-inspired cuisine, and spot a myriad wildlife and birds on the river banks from your private deck. Tigers also like to jump right out of the water in an attempt to dislodge a hook.
Getting the fish into your boat can also be your downfall - Tigers quite often take a deep dive when being reeled in, so some finesse and subtle handling is required. Tigers are devious, clever and unpredictable - the chances of them snapping your line and rod or making off with your fly's and lures are very good.
They can also change their feeding patterns so you will have to keep up on that score and vary what you do. Consider going on excursions with a good river guide who can lead you to the best spots and keep track of the changing patterns. That's because Tigers won't tolerate any other fish in their territory which are close to half their own size, they'll attack and eat them this goes for family members too!
It's survival of the fittest in the river so Tiger Fish of similar sizes tend to stay together in the same area. Average Tigers won't venture into the depths and the smallest specimens head for the shallower waters despite the risk of predation from their relatives and birds.
The females are bigger than the males. Water levels in the Zambezi River are generally high from about April to July. Around May, the flood plains are saturated and the water starts to empty into the main river channel. Tiger Fishing on the Zambezi River is ideal for fly fishing, spin and lure anglers of all levels, and bait fishing.
Tige Fish attack from the side at speeds of up to 50 kph, then turn their bait around and swallow it headfirst. The river rises for 6 months of the year December — May to form the floodplains and recedes for the other 6 months of the year June to November.