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Goliath Tigerfish: Description, Plus Info on Fishing for the Freshwater Predator

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The goliath tigerfish is known as the Bully of the Congo. Here's some pertinent info about the spectacular species.

The goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) is an incredibly large and vicious predatory fish that definitely lives up to its name.

This fish is native to the Congo River basin, the Lualaba River, Lake Upemba, and Lake Tanganyika in Africa is the largest member of its species and by far the most aggressive.

According to Animal Planet, the largest one ever caught "was nearly 5-feet long and weighed 154 pounds." 

The goliath tigerfish has an olive-colored back and a silver-colored belly, but it's the mouthful of some 32 jagged, spear-like teeth that's really distinctive. Natives in the basin area swear that the goliath tigerfish is the only fish that is completely unafraid of crocodiles. In rare instances, they have even been known to attack humans.

A Real River Monster

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There are all kinds of legends, some true and some less so, about the goliath tigerfish. These brutes have been known to pounce on local 60-pound catfish and cut them almost completely in half.

A goliath tigerfish survives the best in turbulent waters, where baitfish that are less powerful swimmers struggle against the current. They're a fast predator with excellent eyesight and the ability to sense low-frequency vibrations emitted by its prey.

It generally circles the unlucky target fish before striking with the speed and brutality of a piranha.

Fishing For the Goliath Tigerish

Your going to need some very specific gear to target these crazy fish with such razor-sharp teeth. It has to be equipped to handle the backwaters of the Congo Basin, but stiff enough to stand up to its ferocity.

Heavy action casting rods and reels are required for these bad boys. Live bait in the 12- to 14-inch range rigged on a treble hook and drifted under a large float can keep the offering steady in the current while you wait for the bite.

If you have a good bit of luck, one of the hooks will set deep enough in the fish's mouth to survive the goliath's head-thrashing. If the goliath tigerfish jumps, be sure to lower the rod tip to reduce shock against the line. Don't count on an easy, fast landing.

The Monster Fish of "River Monsters"

One man who has made a living chasing giant tigerfish is Jeremy Wade. No one knows better than Wade what the dagger-like teeth of the African tigerfish can do to fishing tackle, but not all of the tigerfish species are created equal.

This family of fishes is listed as least concern, making them an available species for intrepid anglers the world over.

It's said that the goliath tigerfish puts more energy into hunting its prey than it does breeding. Studies have proven it can take between five and 14 years to double a population's size. For that reason, every one caught should be released to help ensure that these river monsters remain healthy and in adequate numbers to keep their numbers viable.

They're an incredible species, and even if you don't ever get to catch one, they're worthy of our respect.

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NEXT: BOWFISHING 101: WHAT YOU NEED TO MASTER THE TECHNIQUE

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Goliath Tigerfish: Description, Plus Info on Fishing for the Freshwater Predator