The country’s premier fishing tournament, the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fishing Tournament (KITFT), which draws anglers from across the globe is set to roar again this year with dates tentatively set for mid-November.
This follows the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in the tourism sector and the resumption of flights, starting with domestic flights in September and international flights on October 1.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), has since developed national guidelines for aviation safety and security to ensure the safety of travellers and airport staff.
The three-day fishing expedition has been tentatively set to start from November 18 to 20 where tackling the biggest tiger fish gives the participant the winners accolade.
KITFT director Rod Bennett, said plans for the 59th edition of the tournament at the traditional Charara Campsite, are at an advanced stage.
“We are in our advanced stages of putting this year’s KITFT (Kariba Invitation Tiger Fishing Tournament) together. The planned dates for this year are 18- 20 November,” said Bennett.
The tournament will follow the same format as the previous years with an inclination towards the “Catch and Release” format.
“We are using the same format as in previous years and it is still too early to come up with a number of the teams who will participate at the tournament but I would hazard a number of around 60,” he said.
Attendance is likely to be affected by the ongoing but dissipating Covid-19 global pandemic affecting the source markets.
Improved water levels in the lake and the growing number of houseboats are likely to be a boon for the tournament, which has been running for the past 58 years.
It remains to be seen if corporates have the wherewithal to support the tournament.
The tournament has emerged as one of the biggest sports tourism event in Africa and beyond.
With size of the catch being the hallmark of the tournament, it remains to be seen if the lake still has within it large-sized tiger fish after a progressive decline over the years.
From a recorded peak weight of 12,035kg, dropping to 10,42kg and recently between 5kgs and 10kgs some conservationists contend that the tournament could be responsible.
The catch and release format has been suggested as a solution.
For the past five years no angler has managed to catch a tiger fish exceeding 10kgs which qualifies them to drive away in a truck.