Kakadu National Park delivers third $10,000 barra for Season 9

A lucky fisho has caught the third $10,000 red-tagged barra of Season 9 in Kakadu National Park.

Loren Hanton was night fishing at stunning Yellow Waters on 31 October. She couldn’t believe it when the 63cm beauty grabbed her lure.

“I’d had no luck on the water, even though my partner had caught four fish, so I was thinking of leaving. Then I pulled in a 70cm barra, which totally changed things!,” Loren said.

“My next catch was the red-tagged barra, and when I saw that red tag I started screaming. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve registered for Million Dollar Fish every season and am a regular fisho born and bred in the Territory.

“I can’t believe I’ve finally caught my own red-tagged barra. I will 100 per cent keep on fishing to try my luck at catching another.”

Underwritten by SportsBet, Million Dollar Fish sees prize-tagged barramundi released in waterways across the Darwin, Kakadu, Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land and Katherine regions. This season someone is guaranteed to win a million dollars.

Loren, who was fishing with her partner at Kakadu National Park, wasn’t having much luck. She was considering calling it a night when she reeled in a 70cm barra. Filled with renewed enthusiasm, she kept on casting, then landed her $10,000 prize.

Every time a fisho catches a $10,000 barra, they can donate an extra $1,000 to the Million Dollar Fish charity of their choice. Loren chose Shoreline. The program began on the Tiwi Islands and provides education and employment opportunities for young Indigenous people.

Shoreline Managing Director Jason Ryan thanked Loren for her donation.

“We are absolutely delighted Loren nominated us as the recipient charity for the recent red-tagged barramundi,” he said. “The donation will go directly towards creating opportunities for young First Nations students in the NT to develop their skills on water and obtain marine certifications.

“We are excited to see more tagged barramundi caught and a lucky fisho snag the million-dollar prize!”

Loren’s catch means there are now 97 $10,000 barramundi still out there, plus 11 barra carrying tags worth a million dollars. That includes the two released for Season 9, and those released for previous seasons. A fisho must register for Season 9 to claim any prize money from a tagged fish. This also automatically enters them into the Lucky Prize Pool, which includes thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs, such as holiday and flight packages, and fishing and camping gear. Register now for free.

Second red-tagged $10,000 barra of Season 9 caught!

Just two weeks into Australia’s richest fishing competition, a lucky fisho has caught the second $10,000 barra of Million Dollar Fish Season 9. Andrew Russell from Wagait Beach is the happy angler. It follows the first fish caught just three hours after the competition began. Find out more here.

“I was out on my boat with my neighbour. He’s also called Andrew and we’re always fishing together. We were on the last two casts of the day when I snagged a barra and saw the tag. I was pretty nervous reeling the fish in, but lucky for me I landed it,” Mr Russell said.

“I’m going to split the cash with Andrew. And I’ll get out onto the water as soon as possible to hopefully catch one of the 11 fish worth a million dollars.”

Someone will definitely win a million dollars during Season 9. To help things along, this season we’ve released not one, but two, fish worth a million dollars. There are now 11 fish worth a million, as all the big ones from previous seasons remain eligible to be caught.

Andrew caught his 73cm barra on Thursday, 12 October at Woods Inlet. Ninety-eight $10,000 barra are still out there.

All winning fishos can donate an extra $1000 to their Million Dollar Fish charity of choice. Andrew chose Cancer Council NT.

Cancer Council NT CEO Tanya Izod said Cancer Council NT was very grateful to Andrew for choosing us as his charity.

“This donation will go directly to our nurse-led oncology clinics and services for Territory cancer patients,” she said.

“Eighty-three per cent of our annual funding comes from fundraising events like Million Dollar Fish. Every person who attends an event, volunteers on our programs or sponsors our work supports cancer patients. Our services are available to anyone touched by cancer. Thank you again Andrew for supporting our valuable work.”

Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish runs from 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024. Register now to be eligible to claim any prize money from a tagged barra. This automatically enters you into the Lucky Prize Pool, which includes thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes. Register now here.

Q&A with Merv Hughes

Legendary former test cricket fast bowler and crowd favourite Merv Hughes has been coming to the Northern Territory for almost 40 years. He’s entrenched himself in the Top End’s fishing world, returning every year to fish our pristine rivers and azure blue waters, and competing in the Barra Classic for the last 16 years. Merv has been a keen fisherman since he was a kid growing up in country Victoria, spending time on the local rivers and creeks. Although Merv lives down south, the Territory is his second home and he can’t wait to take part in Million Dollar Fish Season 9. Merv shares his fishing insights with us.

What is your favourite spot to catch a barra in the NT?

I’d have to say along the Daly River. In the last 16 years I’ve been coming up here for the Barra Classic. Competing teams descend on Darwin from all over Australia, as well as overseas, to fish this week-long annual competition. It is arguably Australia’s premier barramundi fishing tournament and I always have a good time.

Where is the most scenic spot to go fishing in the NT?

There are way too many to choose from, but some of my favourite spots would have to be remote places like the Moyle River, which is about 200km south-west of Darwin, and the Goomadeer River in West Arnhem Land.  Other hard-to-get-to spots include fishing around Croker Island, Braithwaite Point and Junction Bay. Oh, and the Tiwi Islands are pretty special, too.

Where is the best place to grab barra for dinner in Darwin?

Hands down the best way to have barra is to catch and cook it yourself. You know it’s fresh. There are plenty of places in Darwin that will cook your catch for you, and if I’ve had an unsuccessful barra fishing trip, and there have been a few of those, I’ll go to Mr Barra down on Fisherman’s Wharf. You can buy a barra pack and just tell everyone you caught it! Otherwise, I’ll head to The Cav in the CBD and if there’s grilled barra on the specials menu I’ll have that.

What is the biggest barra you’ve ever caught?

Well, you know all the biggest ones are in the Daly River. I was out fishing with mates. There was a couple of us in one boat and Shane Compain, from Tackle World in Darwin, was in another. We were up near one of the s-bends and I hooked a huge one. It was massive – at least 120cm. I know this because Shane saw the fish before it got away. He said it was a monster. Shane knows a lot more about fishing than me, so I’m going to stand by that yarn. The second largest barra I caught was 86cm, and this time I got him into the boat.

Do you prefer land-based or fishing from a boat?

When I’m fishing down south I get seasick, but in the Territory the waters are calmer. So I do prefer to fish from a boat when I’m here, whether it’s in one of the rivers, creeks, estuaries or blue water. I also prefer boating because of the crocs. Don’t fancy meeting one of them on the water’s edge.

What is so special about fishing in the NT?

It’s just amazing up here. There’s so many beautiful spots to fish and great people to spend the day fishing with. Whether you go with friends or the family, you’ll take home the best memories and, of course, fish. Also, where else can you win a million bucks for catching barra? I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a red-tagged Million Dollar Fish, and I’ve got four fingers crossed to reel in the mill.

What is your best fishing memory in the NT?

It has to be nude fishing in Bynoe Harbour. I was with a mate and we were at Crab Claw Island Resort. We were watching the footy when one of our fisho mates from Darwin came into the bar and said, “The tide’s at its best”. We’d had a couple of beers and I was a bit half-hearted at first as I wanted to watch the Bulldogs play the Lions. Anyway, we went out and as we left, Bill Briscoe, the owner, reckoned we wouldn’t catch anything. It was during the dry season and the local fishos were wrapped up in coats, but coming from down south we were hot. So we stripped off and made up a song called ‘Nude fishing in the dark’ as we headed out. It was a great laugh and we weren’t taking things too seriously, but we caught four fish in 15 minutes. One was over a metre long. You should have seen Bill’s face when we slapped the biggest one on the bar and asked, “Can you cook this up for us, mate?”

What’s your top tips and tricks to help a fisho reel in a barra?

My number one piece of advice would be talk to the locals. If you’re new to the Northern Territory ask them where the best places to fish are, and the best times. They’ll know all about the tides, spots to avoid and how to reel in a barra. I’d also book a charter, especially if you don’t have a boat. I’m lucky to now have a few fisho mates who have boats, but for visitors, I’d ask around and book before you come up. If you’re short on time I’d go to the tackle shops for info. All those guys in there are fishos and are really knowledgeable. You’ve also got to remember the essentials – a good pair of sunnies, hat and long-sleeved fishing shirts, and keep hydrated.

Do you have a lucky lure?

Reidy’s The Judge is my go to lure. It has to be in green and gold, Australia’s colours. I find if I’m not having much luck, I’ll go back to this lure and, most times, I’ll catch a fish.

We can’t wait to see Merv back up in Territory throwing in a line. Click here to check out Merv’s thoughts on Million Dollar Fish Season 9!

Size Matters this Christmas in Territory fishing competition

Australia’s richest fishing competition has raised the stakes for registered anglers of Million Dollar Fish Season 8, with a brand new ‘Size Matters’ campaign rolled out for December.

Thousands of extra dollars are up for grabs as part of the exciting new campaign. The fisho who catches the longest $10,000 tagged barra in December is set to catch a massive cash bonus. Whoever is lucky enough to claim the crown will receive $1,000 per centimetre of their catch, as measured on the official Million Dollar Fish brag mat. So if the biggest $10,000 tagged fish caught in December is 55cm, the lucky fisho wins $55,000. The campaign excludes the nine fish carrying tags worth $1 million.

The ‘Size Matters’ campaign begins today and ends on 31 December 2022. We’ll announce the winner in January 2023.

Australia’s richest fishing competition goes from strength to strength

SportsBet NT Operations and Partnerships Manager Thijs Bors said Australia’s richest fishing competition keeps going from strength to strength.

“We’re backing local and interstate fishos alike to fish the Territory for the chance to bag the longest Season 8 barra of the month, and cash in big time with $1,000 paid out per centimetre,” he said. “Size really does matter this Christmas.”

“To win any cash or prizes as part of Million Dollar Fish, registering is paramount. It’s quick, and it’s easy. By registering, you might find yourself a million dollars richer!”

Season 8 of Million Dollar Fish, underwritten by SportsBet, has smashed records just two months in. Fishos caught a whopping 16 prize-tagged barramundi across the Top End. A total of $170,000 in prize money has also been dished out to local and interstate fishos since 1 October 2022.

This season’s prize purse is the largest ever, with nine fish worth a million dollars now released in five fishing regions – Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land.

There’s plenty of time to hit the water and catch a red-tagged barramundi. Season 8 of Million Dollar Fish runs until 31 March 2023.

To register for Season 8 for free, visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

Fishing regulations to keep in mind this festive season!

Anyone who tells you that size doesn’t matter is not living in the real world. What fisho doesn’t want to go home after a hard day on the water and hear the words, “wow, that’s a big one!” It’s worth keeping in mind though, that catch sizes, fishing regulations and knowing your limits are all super important.

Fishing regulations are imperative when it comes to snagging a barra in the waterways of the Territory’s Top End.

To beat the odds of a flop at “Lake Disappointment”, you need to know the legal size for a barramundi. It is 55cm from nose to the tip of the tail. Anything smaller than this is a big no, no and must be released back into the water. This rule is the same right across Australia.

Northern Territory guides and conservation conscious anglers also have an unwritten law about those big boy barras. Anything from 90cm upwards should be quickly photographed and released. That’s because when a barra reaches 90cm in length it changes sex and becomes a female breeder.

Know your limits

Like anything in life, you gotta know your limits.  In the Territory, the bag limit for barra is five, with special controls of three barra per angler in Kakadu National Park, and the Mary and Daly River fish management zones.

While rules are in place to keep recreational catches at sustainable levels and reduce the potential for localised overfishing, that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your enjoyment at dinner time by dishing up a sizeable tale on your catch of the day.

If you’re ever in doubt over fishing rules, restriction zones and the best way to release a fish, and don’t want to come up short, head to the Northern Territory Recreational Fishing Controls guide at www.fisheries.nt.gov.au or download the NT Fishing Mate app for a simpler option.

Good luck out there! And make sure you’re registered before you hit the water.

WA road trip made 10,000 times better with red-tag barra bonus!

Lucky fisho Leon Danicic found himself $10,000 better off with a red-tag barra bonus on a WA road trip.

Leon was enjoying a road trip from the Northern Territory to Western Australia with a mate. He was land-based fishing near the Vic River boat ramp when he hooked the 59cm catch. Born and bred in the Territory, Leon has fished for many years across the Top End. He said it was “unbelievable” he’d finally caught himself a red-tagged fish.

“I honestly thought I was hallucinating. I was already stoked about catching a barra, but my excitement had just gone to another level,” he said.

The Darwin-based fisho said he’ll put his winnings towards fuel, food and drinks while on a two-month road trip along the Western Australia coast with his mate Duncan O’Riley.

Last chance to bag a red-tag barra in Season 8

Million Dollar Fish has already seen 14 anglers reel in prize-tagged barramundi as part of Season 8. Competition underwriter SportsBet has paid out a total of $150,000.

The prize purse included in Season 8 is the largest ever, with nine fish worth a million dollars now released in five fishing regions – Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land.

This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, as well as those from every other season, which are still eligible to be caught.

Registered anglers also have the chance to bag one of the remaining 86 $10,000 barra, with 14 caught so far. Every time a fisho catches a $10,000 barra, they can donate an extra $1,000 to the Million Dollar Fish charity of their choice. Leon chose Cancer Council NT.

Million Dollar Fish Season 8 opened on 1 October 2022 and runs through until 31 March 2023. To be eligible for any prize money, anglers must have registered for Season 8. The monthly prize pool includes thousands of dollars’ worth of incredible prizes such as holidays, flights, and fishing and camping equipment. For more info and to register, visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

Another day, another red-tagged Million Dollar Fish in the bag!

Australia’s richest fishing competition is in for a record-breaking season, with another $10,000 fish caught as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 8 over the weekend.

A total of 11 red-tagged barramundi have been recaptured across the Top End with fishos sharing in a whopping $120,000 of prize money from competition underwriter SportsBet.

Territorian Yo Thu Yar is the latest fisho to find himself $10,000 richer. He reeled in his 55cm prize-tagged barramundi land-based fishing at Daly River Crossing. Mr Yar’s fish is the third red-tagged barramundi to have been caught at the Daly River Crossing this season. The keen angler said he plans to share most of his prize money with his grandmother.

Mr Yar said he’s been fishing for years and has caught lots of barra.

“I’ve fished at Daly River Crossing plenty of times and could not believe it when I pulled the fish out and saw the red tag.

“I’ve registered for every season of Million Dollar Fish, so it was great to finally catch one.

Fishos to nominate charity of choice

Each time a $10,000 fish is caught, an additional $1,000 is given to an official Million Dollar Fish charity of the fisho’s choice. Mr Yar chose Shoreline, an organisation that provides education and employment opportunities to Indigenous students.

Shoreline Managing Director Jason Ryan said he was delighted that Shoreline was nominated as the charity of choice for the $1,000 donation.

“The donation will go directly towards creating opportunities for young Indigenous students to develop their skills and obtain marine certifications to become fishing guides,” he said.

There is still plenty of time to register for Million Dollar Fish and hook a red-tagged barramundi. Season 8 runs until 31 March 2023. Registered anglers can win up to $1 million in prize money, with 89 $10,000 barra still swimming around Top End waterways. In addition there are nine fish worth a million bucks. This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, plus the other big ones from previous seasons, which are still eligible to be caught. Each season, red-tagged barramundi are released in five main fishing regions across the Top End including Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Katherine.

Registrations is free, and allows anyone over the age of 18 to claim prize money from a red-tagged fish. Registered participants also go into the monthly Lucky Prize Pool to win fantastic prizes. These include holiday packages, fishing equipment, gift vouchers, camping gear and much more. For more info, visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

Two more strikes on the red-tag tally!

Two more fishos are counting their lucky stars after reeling in red-tagged barramundi as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 8.

This brings the total number of tagged fish caught in the latest season of Million Dollar Fish, underwritten by SportsBet, to 10, with fishos sharing $110,000.

The two most recent fish were both bagged in the beautiful Mary River system. Tumbling Waters resident Shane Leo caught fish number 9 at Corroboree Billabong. The Mary River wetlands beauty spot is teeming with wildlife, including his 60cm barra sporting a red tag!

Shane said he was out fishing with his son Jack when he reeled in the lucrative catch. “I’ve registered at least twice for Million Dollar Fish and it was great to finally catch a winning barra. Now I’m going after the big one!”

Paul Fitzgerald from Gunn, Palmerston, caught fish number 10. He bagged his 66cm winning barra at Hardies Lagoon, just a short drive from Corroboree Billabong. Paul’s fish is the second Season 8 $10,000 barra to be caught at Hardies.

Fisho almost threw the barra back

Paul was fishing with his mate Andrew Bond, and almost threw the barra back after he caught it. “We only kept it because it was a clean fish and would make good eating. That’s when we saw the red tag. There were a roller coaster of emotions I can tell you,” he said.

Each time a $10,000 fish is caught, an additional $1,000 is given to an official Million Dollar Fish charity of the fisho’s choice. Shane chose Cancer Council NT, while Paul chose the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) Head of Events and Operations Coryn Huddy said it was great to see so many red-tagged fish caught as part of Season 8.

“Million Dollar Fish keeps delivering for the Territory, not only for those who are lucky enough to catch a tagged barra, but also in terms of what fishos spend with local businesses when they go fishing, which supports our economy,” he said.

Million Dollar Fish Season 8 runs until 31 March 2023. There are still 90 $10,000 waiting to be caught, plus nine fish worth a million bucks. This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, plus the other big ones from previous seasons, which are still eligible to be caught. Prize-tagged barramundi have been released across the Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Katherine.

To claim any prize money from a tagged fish, or fantastic prizes as part of the monthly Lucky Prize Pool, anglers must be registered for Season 8. Register for free at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

Another two $10,000 red-tagged barra in the bag!

Fishos all over the Top End are winning big through Million Dollar Fish Season 8. Six registered anglers have won $70,000 worth of prize money in less than three weeks of the competition. An additional $7,000 has been paid out to official Million Dollar Fish charity partners.

The two latest fishos to win big were Territorians Rory Laidlaw-Hall and Jack Daly. SportsBet underwrites Million Dollar Fish.

Mad keen fisho Rory Laidlaw-Hall of Malak found himself $10,000 richer after snagging a red-tagged barramundi at Mary River Bridge Lagoon on Monday, 17 October. Rory first spotted the red tag as he was reeling the fish in towards the boat, and quickly secured his lucrative catch.

He said he’ll use his prize money to fix his car’s air-conditioning and buy some new fishing gear. “I’ve been registering for Million Dollar Fish the last three years, but didn’t ever think I was lucky enough to get one,” he said. “My breathing definitely picked up when I spotted the red tag. It was just me in the boat and I was worried I’d lose the barra before I netted him.”

Lucky angler pockets $10,000

The other lucky angler to pocket $10,000 was Daly River’s Jack Daly. Jack was fortunate enough to find a red-tagged barramundi on the end of his line when he was fishing at the Daly River Crossing. “I wasn’t too sure about the red tag – I had to double check it to make sure it was real,” he said.

“My son and a friend were with me when I caught the fish. We were all dancing around on the sand!”

An avid fisho, Jack said he plans to spend the money on his family and home renovations. Luck seems to run in Jack’s family. His nephew Darryl McLeod also bagging a red-tagged barramundi at Daly River Crossing on Friday, 14 October. Darryl’s partner Kaitlyn Ahfat caught a red-tagged fish at the same location in Season 6.

Each time a Season 8 $10,000 barra is caught, an extra $1,000 is given to one of the official Million Dollar Fish charities, as nominated by the winning fisho. Rory decided to give his cash to Cancer Council NT, while Jack opted to donate his $1,000 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Million Dollar Fish reels in benefits for the Territory

Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) Head of Events and Operations Coryn Huddy Million Dollar Fish is a fantastic initiative. He said the competition creates many valuable benefits for the Territory from a social and economic perspective.

“It also puts the Territory on the national stage, inspiring even more visitors to make their way to the Top End for our world-class fishing and incredible tourism experiences,” he said. “At this rate, we’re in for another record-breaking season of Million Dollar Fish. We look forward to seeing more fishos win big before the end of March next year.”

Million Dollar Fish Season 8 kicked off on 1 October 2022, and runs until 31 March 2023. There are still 94 $10,000 barramundi swimming around Territory waterways, in addition to nine fish worth a million dollars. This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, plus the other big ones from previous seasons which are still eligible to be caught. Prize-tagged barramundi have been released across the Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Katherine, Arnhem Land and Kakadu.

To claim any prize money, or fantastic prizes as part of the monthly Lucky Prize Pool, anglers register for Season 8. Register for free at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

Big pay day for Territorian in Australia’s richest fishing competition

It was a big pay day for local fisho Nicole Soltesz. The Territorian reeled in a cool $20,000 after hooking a Million Dollar Fish Season 8 red-tagged barramundi.

Carrying a $10,000 red tag, the fish was worth double the money as part of a National Gone Fishing Day promotion, with competition underwriter SportsBet pledging to ‘Double the Dough’ for any fish caught on Sunday, 9 October.

Nicole was out fishing with mates at Hardies Lagoon when she snagged the 62cm prize-tagged fish – her first ever barramundi! The Darwin fisho said she’d put some of the winnings towards a holiday, and the rest away in a savings account for now.

“I don’t go fishing very often so definitely wasn’t expecting it. It was a big surprise, we all looked at each other in shock when we saw the red tag,” she said.

There has never been a better time to register for Australia’s richest fishing competition and wet a line in the Territory, with prize-tagged fish swimming in waterways across the Top End.

Season 8 off to a strong start

NTMEC Head of Events and Operations Coryn Huddy said Season 8 was off to a strong start. “It’s certainly an exciting time in the Territory with excellent fishing conditions,” he said. “There are more chances to catch the Million Dollar Fish and an incredible offering of tourism experiences the whole family will love.”

The amount of cash up for grabs as part of Season 8 is the largest ever. Nine fish worth a million dollars are in five fishing regions – Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land. This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, as well as those from every other season, which are still eligible to be caught.

Registered anglers also have the chance to bag one of the remaining 98 $10,000 barra, with two caught so far. Each time a $10,000 fish is caught, an extra $1,000 is donated to one of the official Million Dollar Fish charities, as nominated by the lucky angler. SportsBet doubled the charity money for this fish, and Nicole decided to give the $2,000 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Darwin Star Ball Committee Chairman Justin Coleman said he was very thankful to Nicole Soltesz and all those involved with Million Dollar Fish Season 8.

“Starlight provides vital hospital programs in the Northern Territory for our sick kids,” he said. “Only with the help of the local community can we continue to bring the gift of joy, fun and laughter, helping to create brighter and healthier futures for our kids, families and communities.”

Odds in fisho’s favour for Australia’s richest fishing competition

SportsBet NT Operations and Partnerships Manager Thijs Bors said the odds are definitely in the fisho’s favour for Season 8. He said there are more red-tagged Million Dollar Fish out there than ever before.

“It’s prime time for barra fishing at the moment,” he said. “So I’d encourage as many people as possible to register for Australia’s richest fishing competition and explore our world-class fishing regions for the chance to score a million bucks!”

Million Dollar Fish Season 8 opened on 1 October 2022 and runs through until 31 March 2023. To be eligible for any prize money, anglers must have registered for Season 8. By doing so, participants go into the monthly Lucky Prize Pool. This includes thousands of dollars’ worth of incredible prizes such as holidays, flights, and fishing and camping equipment.

For more info and to register, visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au.