Adventure Hunting


Tour Code: SA30 Length: 4 Days

The Tiger Fish is South Africa's premier fresh water game fish. These toothy devils are some of the toughest fighting fish that you will every encounter. Lake Jozini in Kwazulu Natal offers some of the best Tiger Fishing in all of Africa. Our lodge specializes in tiger fishing and has all the necessary equipment and expert guides. We are located in northern South Africa near the border with Swaziland south of the famous Kruger Park. Tiger Fishing can easily be combined with any form of safari. Our package includes transfers from Durban and all meals as well as fishing. We can add extra days of photo safari and other activities. The non fishermen will find plenty to do here as well. Our lodge has its own private game reserve and one of the shores of the lake borders the Pongola game reserve. Here we do elephant tracking as well as rhino walks along with quality game viewing.

Prices subject to government taxes/levies or prices beyond our control. Prices and programs are subject to change without notice. All prices quoted in US dollars. For booking information, liability waiver, and terms and conditions contact us.


4 days/3 nights with two half days fishing: $1350.00pp/double
Non fishermen US$880 pp

With us both your deposit and final payment are completely refundable at any time, for any reason, right up until the moment you are to step on the plane. We will not take your money if you cannot come hunt with us!

The above package includes the following:

Transfers from Durban, South Africa - 3 nights accommodationc - 2 half days lake fishing (shared fishing boat. Private boat extra) - rod hire (broken or list equipment must be replaced from client account) - one game drive - one elephant tracking session or rhino walk - all meals

The above package does not include the following:

flights - tips - beverages and bar


Day 1: Arrive Durban, South Africa. Met at airport and transfer to lodge. (Flights must arrive by mid afternoon)
Meals: D
Day 2: Morning tiger fishing. Afternoon game drive in Pongola Game reserve.
Meals: BLD
Day 3: Morning elephant tracking or rhino walk. Afternoon tiger fishing.
Meals: BLD
Day 4: Transfer to airport for flight home.
Meals: B
Extras: Full days of fishing can be substituted for the game drive or elephant/rhino tracking at no additional cost. Additional days can be added.

Tiger Fishing The Pongolapoort Lake (also known as Jozini) is situated in the North Eastern KwaZulu Natal, bordering Southern Swaziland. It is the southern most extremity of the infamous Tiger Fish population (Hyrocynus Vittatus) due to our hot Summer temperatures and moderate Winter climate, and it is the only waters in South Africa home to the tiger fish.

We are fully equipped with 2 x 16ft ski boats, and a fly-fishing boat including one of our talented and enthusiastic guides who skippers the boat and shows you the know-how and hot spots on the Pongolapoort Lake. Also for hire are a variety of fishing rods and reels at a daily charge of R75. Fishing tackle is to be replaced if lost or damaged. We support CAR!

The lake covers +/- 16 000 hectares, with a river stretch of approximately 5 km. It is set against the backdrop of the Lebombo Mountain range, giving the eastern shores deep basaltic drop offs ideal for tiger fish. The 'Poort' or Gorge, is a 7km stretch leading to the dam wall, with crystal clear waters of 60 meters deep and overhanging cycads. The western shores are mainly mud flats with the odd underwater islands ideal for breeding baitfish including two species of Tilapia, catfish, carp, mudfish and a large variety of smaller fish. The Phongolo River feeds the lake and this stretch is made up of both of the above conditions, with old submerged trees making up most of the tiger fish hideouts. The Northern tip stretches into Swaziland itself however we are not permitted to fish here. The other area fishing is prohibited, is from the railway bridge upstream which is a breeding sanctuary area. Fishing takes place from boats as the shoreline is crowded with semi-submerged trees and not to mention the large population of hippos and crocodiles on the water.

The tiger or striped water dog occurs in all rivers flowing eastwards in most of Africa, so they have occurred here naturally for centuries. Their cousin is the Goliath tiger, which grow up to 50kg's in the Congo. The tiger fish population here is ever growing with decent specimens only starting to appear in the early nineties. Our record specimen was caught in 1998 weighing 8,3kg and some in the 5-7kg ranges are still being caught. Average size is still under a kilo and specimens up to Tiger Fishing4kg are quite possible in a 3 day fishing tour. The locals reckon the dam is overstocked, and maybe when competition is not as high as at present the average size of the tiger will increase.

One never tires trying to tackle the tiger, be it the hard bony jaws, big teeth, sheer cunningness or remote areas. Their fantastic skill to bite through a lure/bait is what makes them such an exciting fish to catch. An average of 4:1 is expected when fishing for tigers. They attack from the side, then turn their bait around and swallow it headfirst. Tigers have been recorded to hit their prey at 50km/hr! They have 20 conical teeth that are extremely sharp and covered with an anti coagulant. Whole sets of teeth are continually replaced during their lifetime. On average, they gain one kg a year and the life span is about 8 years.

Tiger-fish occur in schools and are cannibalistic. The juveniles stay close to any structures in their first year where they can take cover. They are pelagic which means feeding and living in the top reaches of the water and going down to deeper water when light intensity increases and in the evening. This allows them to take cover from any predators during the warmer parts of the day and then again feeding in the late afternoon.

They are ferocious feeders, competing for food continually. Their diet is made up many species of fish, sardines, chicken livers, squid they eat just about anything. They are fast learners and vary their diet considerably. Tigers inhabit waters close to the side of the lake or around suitable structures. They are not generally open water feeders and we target them in depths from 4m to 10 meters. Depending on the season, water temperatures and available food, depths vary, but it is not uncommon to find them in 30 meters of water.

Conventional Tackle

Rods: Any firm 6 foot stick (10 to 20 lb) will do for the tiger, finding most bass sticks appropriate. A lighter flick stick for spinning smaller rapalas and spinners is also a must.
Reels: Here a good reel is important to handle short fast hard runs; a good drag system. Good coffee grinders or bait casters that can hold +/- 120m of line is imperative.
Line: High abrasive line is a must as most of the fishing or fish land up dashing for structure where they are able to hang you up. A good 12 - 15 lb breaking strain is sufficient. 'Fireline', a very strong light line allows for good accuracy and strength.
Hooks: Chemically sharpened hooks allow for better penetration, and I believe good line and hooks is the key to successful tiger fishing. Any size from a 1/0 to 6/0 are most commonly used e.g. Mustad, Daichi, Kamakatsu.
Steel Trace: Nylon or normal steel trace of about 30cm in length is the ideal although the latter is preferred as a lot of rigs are snapped up and would take time to dislodge or rust away. 25 lb steel trace is thin and flexible and the most practical to use.
 Artificials: A variety of spinners, spoons, rapalas and spinner baits should make up your tackle box. Red, silver and bronze spinners and spoons work best, ranging from 4g - 12g. The rapala range is up to your own disgression due to their price, but a couple of deep runners for trawling can be brought along. Red and white and natural colors tend to be the best. A suggestion would be changing most of the above to single hooks as it allows better penetration and does not damage the fish as much as treble hooks. 3 Tips: The brighter the sun the brighter the lure; use shallow to medium depth lures for early morning or late aternoon fishing; let your lure out as far as you can when trawling on a still day and closer to the boat on windy days. When spinning, start off with a fast retrieve. If this doesn't work, all the lure to drop a bit deeper and try the same retrieve, then slow the retrieve down. If they still don't take, upsize or downsize the lure, and last of all change the lure. But don't over-fish an area, rather come back later as tiger fish are easily spooked off by too much presence.
Live Bait: Small Tilapia, 5-12cm in size, fished with a float or free swimming. Corks are set at 2m seem to work throughout the day. Leave it on a loose drag and when the tiger bites, allow it to run at least 3-5 seconds before striking. The free swimming live bait have always been effective. Run the hook through the skin close to the dorsal fin, cast gently, don't retrieve too often, set a loose drag, and allow the tiger fish to hit it and swallow it before striking.
Other Bait
Sardines are very effective and rigged up the same way as you would use them for the saltwater fishing. The more blood the better, so use half a sardine, and we fish them inside out. Fished with a sinker, on or without a drift. Ensure the hook is concealed yet the point is out. The same tactic is used as in live bait fishing, although a direct strike approach also works when fishing around a structure. When using tiger fillets, a cast and retrieve approach is used or drifting. Tie fillet onto the back of a spinner to increase the strike rate.

Two important tips when tiger fishing: When to strike - free spooling is the most common tactic, but there are takes when you have to strike right away, set the hook once and allow the fish to have some drag. If the fish is swimming away and peeling off your line, put some pressure on to keep the hook set and only reike when the fish has turned. Keep the rod tips down - The whole fight, the rod tip should be down. The tiger gives you about 3 seconds before his first jump when he will take advantage of the slack in your line, so automatically drop the tip.

A fly fishing experience with professional guides!

The aim of these trips are to equip fly-fishers with skills and knowledge required to successfully catch Tigerfish on fly.

Wayne Sinclair and Francois Botha from SAGF have over 40 years of tigerfishing experience between them and Francois has a REFFIS SA accreditation.

Fly Tackle
Most anglers wanting to tackle the tiger on fly would have at some time or another tried saltwater fly-fishing. The rod, reel, line leaders and flies are ideally suited for the tiger fish.

Rods: A 9ft AFTM 7-9 weight rod with good butt power is a norm when fishing for tigers. These rods allow for turning tigers when necessary, setting hooks into the bony jaws and allowing easier casting when conditions are unfavorable.
Reels: A good disc drag system with a fair amount of 12-15kg Dacron backing should be used. Tiger generally fight hard and fast, so the drag is often tested to the maximum, especially when trying to stop them going into structure.
Lines: Intermediate and fast sinking line is the best especially when trying to get the fly down to the bigger hens. Catching them on popper is great fun, but limited fishing occurs when fishing on floating line.
Leaders: Due to heavy design of most tiger and saltwater flies, no tapered leaders are required, just a short leader, shock tippet and steel trace. Use a 30cm piece of 20lb line as a butt section to turn over the flies, tied to a 1,5m length of 0,4mm Maxima line joined to 50cm of 0,32mm line. This leader is then connected to a swivel on a short steel trace.
Flies: Most saltwater flies are adequate to entice the tiger fish to take. Flies are tied with weighted eyes onto chemically sharpened hooks, and its necessary to bring a couple of your favorite patters as these teethy critters destroy ones flies quite easily. A few different flies are successful are:

Clouser minnows - Red & White; Pink & White; Chartreuse & White; Yellow & Black
Leftys deceivers - Same colors as above
Streamers - Same colors as above
Zonkers - Black, Natural colors
Mrs. Simpson's - Tied in 3/0 - 5/0

Some smaller flies are also necessary especially when fishing for the more active smaller tigers that will quite readily take a bigger fly but trying to set the hook is a bit more difficult.

Other Equipment
Polaroid sunglasses, light weight shirts and long trousers, a wide brim hat and sun block Factor 30+

Tigers are predatory fish preferring warm clear waters, aiding their hunting and feeding instincts. The ideal times to pursue them would be most of our summer months.

When to Catch Tiger Fish
Tiger Fishing
Firstly September through to November is their spawning months, and like many other fish species, they tend to spawn in fast flowing waters up stream.

They are stimulated to breed when temperatures go over 20 degrees and this coincides with our rains. This is an ideal time to try and tackle the bigger spawning females on their way up to their breeding sanctuaries.

December to February is when the weather is at its hottest in the area, and although fishing is still excellent, fishing days consists of short sessions being early morning and late afternoon.

From March to May tigers are generally fattening up for the winter months and also a good time of the year to seek them out.

June to August also produces fish although it all depends on the climate, as a drop in temperature can put them off the bite for a couple of days.

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