First and foremost, and on behalf of all the Anglers, I would like to thank the sponsors for their very generous contributions – it goes without saying that the annual Let it Swim™ Tiger Fishing Tournament would never be possible without your invaluable support and involvement. We are all very grateful and look forward to your continued support and involvement in 2020.

The 22nd Let it Swim Tiger Fishing Tournament 2019 is over and what an event it was. Absolutely ideal weather conditions held great promise for what many of us thought would produce some size qualifying fish of 500mm and over. Fishing, being fishing though, had other plans for us but there were significant positives in terms of numbers and size averages and we did have a contingency plan in place to facilitate this in the prizes.

Only 4 qualifying Tiger Fish of over 500mm were caught and logged and the following 6 fish in the prizes were all between 470 and 500mm. Interestingly the average length of the top 50 Tiger Fish logged in 2018 was 345mm and this year the top 50 fish averaged out at just over 400mm – an increase of approximately 15%. 186 fish were caught and logged and whilst the big fish were elusive this number strongly suggests that the Tiger Fish population is bouncing back after 20+ years of unregulated and illegal gill-netting.

Now to the fishing and this was a really tough 2 days for some – it was either feast or famine. As it turns out, the winning Longest Tiger of 695mm (+-5.6kgs) was caught and logged at 09h44 on the first day. This magnificent fish set the precedent and it was game on!!!! Only one other qualifier of 500mm+ came out on Friday and then the last 2 qualifiers on Saturday – one of them another really nice fish of 645mm (+- 4.5kg).

The Top 10 Longest Tiger Fish Places were as follows:-

  • 1st Place – Morne LAUNSPACH – Team ‘FINATIC’ – 695mm (5.6kg est.) – R60K cash, Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge week-end, rod and reel supplied by GT Productions.
  • 2nd Place – Shane SMYTHE – Team ‘GAP’ – 645mm – Mvubu Lodge, Pongola Game Reserve 3 night stay and Daiwa rod and reel supplied by The Kingfisher.
  • 3rd Place – Cassie Kotze – Team ‘MASTER BAITERS’ – Daiwa rod/reel and tackle supplied by The Kingfisher and GT Productions, and cool box hamper supplied by Zam and Annetjie Paulik.
  • 4th Place – Stacey VAN WYK – Team ‘TIGER HUNTERS’ – Daiwa rod and reel supplied by The Kingfisher etc.
  • 5th Place – 10th Place:- Philip VAN WYK (495mm), Shane SMYTHE (485mm), Dave O’ CONNOR (480mm), Wilfred PHILLIPS Snr (480mm), Roy BECK (470mm) and Hugh LEAN (470mm).

The above Anglers received a variety of tackle prizes supplied by:- The Kingfisher, MSC Print and GT Productions.

Longest Tiger Fish – Printing Industry:-

  • Mike BOHNEN – Team ‘THE OUTCASTS’ (450mm) – R2K cash and the floating trophy sponsored by Intamarket Graphics and a rod and reel supplied by The Kingfisher.

Longest Tiger Fish – Lady:-

  • Stacey VAN WYK – Team ‘TIGER HUNTERS’ (505mm) – R5K cash sponsored by Leading Edge Labels, Daiwa rod and reel, Tackle box and tackle supplied by The Kingfisher.

Longest Tiger Fish – Junior:-

  • Matthew VAN WYK (12 years) – Team ‘TIGER HUNTERS (465mm) – Makara Kayak sponsored by Legend Kayaks, various other prizes.

Longest Tiger on Fly:-

  • Clive GAGER – Team ‘LATTER’ (470mm) – Jozini Tiger Lodge – Golela 3 nights for 4, Fly Rod, reel, custom landing net by Harvey Mulder, etc., Floating trophy sponsored by Adrian Tanner.

Most Tiger – Individual:-

  • Adrian PRINGLE – Team ‘LUCKY FISH’ (9 Fish) – Daiwa rod and reel and Tackle supplied by The Kingfisher etc.

Most Tiger – Team:-

  • Mathew ORCHARD, Chris VET and Norman WILSON – Team ‘OVER AFRICA’ (19 Fish) – Daiwa reels supplied by The Kingfisher and sponsored by Shave and Gibson, cooler bags, beers, and umbrellas etc sponsored by Ecopress.

Biggest Barbel:-

  • Tony TALBOT – Team ‘ THE EAGLES’ (530mm) – Daiwa rod and reel supplied by The Kingfisher, etc.

Lucky Draws:-

  • Skippers – Werner LANG (Team ‘BEGINNERS LUCK’)
  • Anglers – Tony TALBOT (Team ‘EAGLES’)

Big thanks to the Anglers for supporting the Raffle and the Sponsors contributions that ensured its success.

Top 5 Raffle Winners:-

  • 1st – Ron JONES – Sekoma Island Lodge, Zambia – 3 nights stay for 2 sponsored by Sekoma and AfriG Adventures, Tommo Tiger Selection and Rapala tackle bag, supplied by Wildfly/Fistube/Fishbook, Daiwa rod supplied by The Kingfisher.
  • 2nd – Colin BOWRAN – Masumu River Lodge, Binga, Zimbabwe , 2 night stay sponsored by Zambezi Cruise and Safaris, Shimano rod and reel supplied by Wildfly/Fistube/Fishbook.
  • 3rd – Gavin LE ROUX – Bronze Black Rhino Limited/Numbered Edition by Arend Eloff.
  • 4th – Dirk KOTZE – Kariba Safari Lodge, Zimbabwe 1 night stay sponsored by Zambezi Cruise and Safaris.
    Shimano rod supplied by Wildfly/Fistube/Fishbook etc.
  • 5th – Ricky LAZENBY – Ryobi 2.5kva Generator – sponsored by Emcom.

The Raffle went down to 14th place and there was a vast selection of sponsorships in the form of cash and prizes. I would like to thank the following Sponsors, Suppliers and Individuals who all contributed to the success of the tournament in one way or another:-

Sekoma Island Lodge, Afri G Adventures, Kalideck Antalis, MJH Machine Tools, Tarocube, Emcom, Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge, The Kingfisher, Maximum Plant and Equipment, Mvubu Lodge, Airstream Water,
Zam and Annetjie Paulik, Flying Colours Corporate Design, Thunderbolt Solutions, Leading Edge Labels, Intamarket Graphics, Gap Moulding, Shereno Printers, Adcan Marine, Legend Kayaks, MSC Printing Division, Ecopress, Pratley Adhesives, SSIB (Steve Slatter Insurance Brokers), The Pumpsmith, Shave and Gibson, Ecofiber, Pongola Game Reserve, Tiger Lodge – Golela, Ghoti Gear, Dimple Paper, Sodwana Hengel Klub, Kenart, GT Productions/Fishbook/Wildfly/Roam Free, Zambezi Cruise and Safaris, Masumu River Lodge, Alligator Signs, Kariba Safari Lodge, David du Broize and Associates, Everest Ice, Khwela Print and Signs,
IT Solutions (Rob), 253 Technologies (Ryan and Kevin), Dave Nisbet Photography, Peter Edwards, Mike Nielson, Paperchain, Babs, Manus and Brenden Pieters, Andries Loots and Estiaan Marx.

My apologies if I have omitted anybody.

Many thanks again to all involved and I look forward to your continued support in 2020 for the 23rd Let it Swim™ TFT. The event will take place on 3rd and 4th April 2020 and a bulletin will be sent out when Registrations are open.

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