Monsters of the Deep: the Goliath Tigerfish

Written by Thomson Safaris
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Thomson Safaris guest Linda Newquist caught a tiger fish during her post-safari trip extension

Forget mutant piranhas and anacondas of unusual size; we have a perfect antagonist for the next SyFy original movie, and it lives deep beneath the waters of Lake Tanganyika…

 

EXT. DAY: Lake Tanganyika.

The sunlight sparkles on the clear waters of the massive lake, glinting and jumping merrily atop the ripples. But suddenly the beams catch something else…the greenish scales of a fish jumping out of the water. Nearly 5 feet long and easily 150 pounds, the monstrous marine beast sports 32 razor-sharp, inch-long teeth ringing around the edge of a massive jaw. It seems to grin evilly at the viewer.

CUT TO: Two scientists dressed in generic safari gear, gazing out at the waters through binoculars from their encampment along the shoreline. They’re testing sound frequencies in the water for some vaguely scientific reason. It doesn’t matter. Their plans won’t last for long.
Joan:
What was that? Did you see that, Frank?
Frank:
I did. Whatever it was, it was huge. Goliath, even.
The waters roil. A tail thrashes around, breaking the calm at the surface.
Joan:
Is it…attacking a crocodile?
Frank:
That’s definitely a crocodile. And I think the crocodile is losing.
Joan:
But what could possibly take on a crocodile here in Lake Tanganyika, the longest and least-explored lake in the world? Is it…a lion? Also, you seem like a viable love interest.
Frank:
No, look—its mane is too short. In that it has no mane, and is a fish. You also seem like someone that I’d fall for in the face of mutual danger.
They kiss passionately.
Joan:
Maybe a hippopotamus, then?
Frank:
It could be…no, I forgot one important, little-known fact that I turned up in my thesis research: Hippos don’t have fins.
Joan:
What could it possibly be, then?
Frank:
It seems to be some sort of…fish-tiger. Or maybe a tigerfish. A goliath tigerfish.
Joan:
Oh, god, we have to warn the village.
They rush off, accidentally kicking their extremely scientific machine into “transmit: low-frequency” mode. The fish stops abruptly perking up the place where its ears would be towards the shore, then it zooms in for the attack.

CUT TO: Joan and Frank arrive back at the beach to see their machine shredded, the bites so strong the machine has broken cleanly in half.
Joan:
Look at this remnant, Frank. Do you think the fish…knows how to turn on our instruments?
Frank:
Oh. Dear. God. Unless we accidentally did that, and it’s simply attracted to low-frequency sounds
Joan:
Wait…that reminds me of my days as a marine biologist and dolphin whisperer. If my recollection of the cutting-edge research is correct, certain marine species hunt their prey by following the vibrations the prey animals emit.
She flips through the single book they have in the camp.
Joan:
Yes, here it is. If that’s the case for this…”goliath tigerfish,” maybe we can catch it!
Frank:
While you were looking that up, I ran all the DNAs, and learned that this species takes an extraordinarily long time to reproduce. If we can just wipe out this monster, the village will be safe!
They return the emitter to the water and wait for the fish to strike. After sticking their arms inadvisably close to its teeth a few times in attempts to grab it, instead of just using a net like a normal person would—especially a scientist; it’s frankly illogical—they pull the fish ashore.
Frank:
Gotcha.
Joan:
Let’s keep this one in the lab. You know—the one we’ve set up as an infinity pool next to the swimmin’ hole? It’s important we study it so that we can totally eradicate the threat.
Frank:
Great idea, Joan.
They kiss passionately. The camera pans downwards, dipping below the surface of the lake. A school of cichlids swim rapidly out of its way…revealing another goliath tigerfish, silently prowling the waters. Suddenly, it turns towards the camera, throwing its terrifying teeth open wide to CHOMP down on the camera.
FIN.
* Check out another interesting (and much more plausible) account of the most toothsome inhabitant of Lake Tanganyika on River Monsters, Animal Planet’s fascinating series about the creatures lurking beneath the waves…