Tiger Fish


1975, I was eleven. Granddad was on one of his many visits to Rhodesia

Four in the morning and all the camping equipment would be packed in the boat, plus rods, worms from the wormery, supplies etc. There would be our mattresses and some bedding thrown in the back of the old blue Landy for us to sleep on on the way.

BD's pic fits the story!

Off we would go by-passing all the robots which would be permanently on red at that time and head for breakfast at the obligatory Halfway House hotel. On occasion we would stop at the Gwaai River hotel where there were the trampolines � how we loved those!!!!

Finally after turning off the Vic Falls road and travelling on the dirt track to Msuna (I still remember the smell of that dust as it invaded your nostrils). We would arrive at approximately 2.30 pm. Bullit the resident black Labrador would run round greeting everyone whilst they unpacked and set up camp. (Unfortunately Bullit ended up getting eaten by a crocodile). The Red Baron (our boat) would be carefully reversed into the Zambezi, for, the next day was tiger fish trawling day !!

I had never caught a tiger fish until this day, we had been out trawling and float fishing all day only breaking for lunch. We had caught a few bream, tilapia, but nothing major. Granddad, Dad and I decided to have a final go later that afternoon. �Dad, I think I�ve got something� � the rod was bent double and every other second this amazing fish with iridescent scales would leap acrobatically out of the water fighting, twisting, turning and pulling. This fish was surely the Blue Marlin of the rivers.

Meanwhile Granddad whom had been sat sedately, rod in hand, staring off into the distance, had, suddenly become this animated wreck!!!! �Take the rod off her, take it out her hands, get it off her, take the rod off her� he was jumping up and down like a demented person !!! (He said later that he had had visions of this fish pulling me in!!) Dad had calmly said �let her pull it in she is okay�

Needless to say the fish was finally brought to the boat and Dad scooped it into the fishing net. What joy, what a fine fish, those stripes, the colours, those interlocking teeth !!!. Now I look back it was a shame not to put it back. But all six and a half pounds was brought to shore and it was my pride and joy. My first, and only, tiger fish.