Size matters but sometimes teeth and a bad temper matter more!
The infamous Goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) is huge, toothy and hot headed, making this river monster the ultimate challenge for anglers. Unfortunately, you need to travel to the Congo River Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo if you are to catch the legendary tiger.
Extreme aggression and impressive size
The Goliath tigerfish is an impressively large predatory freshwater fish with a reputation for extreme aggression and amazing strength. It has achieved what can only be described as mythical status. These intimidating creatures grow to 1.5m in length and over 70kg in weight, although most specimens that have been caught were much smaller.
The fish have a reputation for grabbing birds in flight and will happily attack humans. Landing one can mean engaging in an all-day battle but imagine the amazing sense of achievement when you reel in your special catch!
Possessed by Evil Spirits
Those who live near the Congo believe that the evil spirit mbenga enters the fish and then causes it to attack people. There’s nothing funny about encountering a fish which is five times the size of a piranha and even more ferocious. Their eyesight is poor and so they think anything moving in the water might be a meal and tend to react to any sudden movement. Boasting 32 teeth longer than those of a great white shark, this awesome fish is not something you want to encounter by accident.
Goliath tigerfish charters
If you fancy catching a Goliath yourself, you will need a local guide and the Congo River Basin isn’t the most accessible destination. But it is possible to organise a trip if the lure of the tiger is too great.
In 2010, extreme angler Jeremy Wade travelled to the Congo in search of the Goliath tigerfish and it took him eight days to land one. He managed to catch a 45kg specimen which was five feet long. He used catfish for bait and 91kg rod and line.
The Goliath Tigerfish will take any bait, natural or artificial. It will jump out of the water repeatedly when hooked and will thrash its head trying to throw the hook. There’s a serious battle ahead if you hook one!
Wire leaders are a must due to the sharp teeth. Even Wade was nervous of handling the fish he had caught and stood well back until it was safely snared in his landing net. He did manage to pose for photos with it, though!
The demise of the tiger
Unfortunately, the fish was injured in the struggle to reel it in and so Wade gave it to local people knowing that it would not survive if he returned it to the river. The landing of the Goliath created one of the most memorable episodes of the River Monsters TV series. Check it out if you get the chance and let us know if you ever make it to the Congo River Basin.