The 50th Anniversary Kariba Invitational Tiger Fish Tournament (KITFT) held between 26th and 29th October 2011 was a spectacular festival and a truly memorable occasion enjoyed by more than 2000 enthusiastic anglers and their supporters.
Mana Meadows reports: "Long after the fishing-shirt tans have faded, the tiger have been mounted and the excitement has eventually settled, the lasting memory most of the 1000-plus anglers who attended KITFT will take away is that it has been a happy week.... There were the die-hard KITFT veterans, (including 99-year-old Bill Green, who fished the first tournament in 1962 and was flown in from Harare as the honorary guest to present prizes on the final day). There were the spiffily dressed professionals whose year-long (in some cases life-time) dream had been to win the 50th. There were the novice anglers who'd never fished a tournament before, the ex-Zimbabweans who came home from all corners of the globe just to "Fish the 50th". There were the international visitors (who chose this tournament as the one to return to this special country and see just how much we have got back on our feet)."
The tournament attracted 268 team entries, with an impressive 49 foreign teams representing nine countries - one team each from Mozambique, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Swaziland and Norway; nine Zambian teams and an incredible 35 teams from South Africa! This was a huge increase on the 2010 tournament which saw 143 teams entering - with only 16 of those being foreign.
A total of 3613 fish were caught, weighing 7542.22 kgs.
This year's trophy, and the indescribable pride of winning the 50th, belonged to Remington Gold (pictured below). With a total score of 171.855 and the heaviest catch and highest score on all three days of the tournament, they were convincing and deserved winners.
In second place was Team Nissan with 153.38 points, followed by Charter X (145.07 points).
The biggest tigerfish of the tournament was caught by Reegan Ingram, who caught his 10.8 kg fish at the bream farms on the first morning of the tournament, winning himself a Riverbird boat (with trailer, Mercury 125 Motor and Boat Cover), sponsored by Nashua, Fibercraft and Chase Marine. Ingram, who was fishing with Team Brewster has fished the tournament about six times before and had never caught anything bigger than around 4kgs!
The closest anyone came to him was Keith Lyon Jnr (from South Africa) who caught a 8.17 tiger and Leeroy Oliver, with the third heaviest fish weighing in at 8.15kgs.
Shiloh Swart caught the largest number of fish, catching 31 and earning his team 67.945 points. Rodney Mackay won the trophy for the heaviest total weight of fish (76.675 points) and Brenda Marchussen won the trophy for the ladies heaviest total catch. Karen Kirstein caught the largest fish out of the ladies with her 6.755 kg tiger
The top ten angling teams will take place in next year's Test of the Best tournament to be held in Kariba on 24th and 25th February. They are:
Remington Gold; Team Nissan; Charter X; Mega; Team Sakunda; Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit; F.Neil Bull Sharks; ULTC Team Burn; Stryke-Tynserve and Fisheagles.
For more details and pictures of the event, visit www.kitft.co.zw