Just like the Goliath of the Bible this fish species are big and fierce. Also known as Hydrocynus goliath or the giant tigerfish, they are very large African predatory freshwater fish that belong to the Alestidae family.
These River monsters mainly inhabit the Congo River Basin comprising of River Lualaba and Lakes Tanganyika as well as Upemba. Besides Hydrocynus goliath, there are four other species including Hydrocynus vittatus as well as other three undescribed species believed to be found within the Congo River Basin in addition to two species (H. vittatus and other undescribed species occupy the waters of Lake Tanganyika.
The Goliath tigerfish are large-toothed with distinct groves along their and highly predatory fish that grow up to 1.4 meters (4.9 feet) and weigh up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds) making them the largest members of the tigerfish clan and a genus of the fierce predators with projecting and dagger-like teeth. These teeth are set at the edge of their jaws and shockingly don’t have any lips.
The heaviest recorded Goliath tigerfish measured 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and weighed 70 kilograms (154 pounds), equivalent to a super-welterweight prizefighter. Shockingly, this fish outclasses other African game fish in speed and power.
They have olive-colored backs and silvery underbellies but when you encounter them, what you will always remember about them is the 32-sharp and razor-like teeth with each of them measuring up to one inch long.
These fish species are piscivore and feed on any kind of fish so long as they are able to overpower it, including even the smaller conspecifics. They are actually known as the Bully of the Congo Basin. Goliath Tigerfish has a reputation of attacking humans due to their strength thereby earning the legendary status among anglers hence known as the “greatest freshwater game fish in the whole World”.
The lifespan of the Goliath Tigerfish in the wild is not known but can live up to 15 years in captivity.
Surprisingly, these ferocious fish species appeared in Jeremy Wade’s documentary Series known as “the River Monsters” and interestingly live to their moniker. The locals say the Goliath tigerfish are the only fish species that don’t fear Crocodiles and as earlier mentioned, they feed on smaller fish species. Imagine the tempestuous waters where the smaller, less powerful fish species struggle against the current and this is where they become more vulnerable to attacks of these predator fish.
Goliath tigerfish have a remarkable eye-sight with the ability of sensing low-frequency vibrations discharged by their prey. They first enclose the unsuspecting fish before eventually attacking with the savagery of a typical piranha. Can you imagine that they can suddenly jump towards a 27 kilogram (60-pound) catfish and slice it into half? So frightening, isn’t it?
If you are an adventurous tourist, this is your opportunity to actually participate in catching the Goliath tigerfish on a safari in Congo. However, you will need to use a heavy-duty gear, a sharp hook and most importantly have to be extra vigilant to avoid mistakes. Please note that this activity is only for the adventure lovers and not faint-hearted tourists.