Fisho doubles the dough with a $20k barra

Another lucky fisho has scored himself $20,000 after hooking fish number 18 of Million Dollar Fish Season 8.

Kai Hale, 18, reeled in a barramundi worth $10,000 at the weekend. However, under the Double the Dough initiative, he has instead pocketed $20,000. Kai hooked the 105cm barra at Manton Dam, less than an hour’s drive from Darwin CBD, in the early hours of Saturday morning after a long chase and plenty of casting.

After grabbing a photo of the fish, Kai was close to returning it to the water, before something caught his eye –a tag covered in algae. Scratching back the algae he was over the moon to realise it was a Season 8 tag. Kai said he hoped to put his winnings towards purchasing a new car and entering a fishing competition.

“I just couldn’t believe it. I was happy enough it was a metery, let alone had a red tag in it,” Kai said.

“I thought maybe it was from an old season, but when we saw 2023 we were pretty happy.

“We would have had, I don’t know, 200 casts at that same fish before it ate, over about 45 minutes. We just followed it for ages.”

Season 8’s prize purse biggest ever

This season’s prize purse is the biggest yet, with nine barra worth a million bucks each now released in Top End waterways. You can still catch 82 barra worth $10,000, or $20,000 if you catch them on any weekend in March.

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. Kai chose Cancer Council NT. The donation was doubled to $2,000 as part of Double the Dough.

Season 8 of Million Dollar Fish, underwritten by SportsBet, runs until 31 March 2023. You must register for Season 8 to claim any prize money from a tagged fish. This includes the nine fish worth a million bucks, which remain eligible to be caught year-round. You’ll also be automatically entered into the monthly Lucky Prize Pool, which includes thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs including holiday and flights packages and fishing and camping merchandise and equipment.

Record breaking start to Season 6

It was a hat trick for eager fishos with three barra reeled in during the first few days of Season 6 of Million Dollar Fish.

With $35,000 in cash prizes going to three lucky fishos, it has been a ripper of a weekend of fishing in the Northern Territory.

Territorian Jamie Poniris was the first to hook a big one while on holidays at Kakadu National Park using a Territory Tourism voucher.

The 57.5cm, Season 6 red-tagged barra was caught at Yellow Water just hours after the comp was launched on 1 October, with his winnings going towards his brother’s upcoming bucks night later this month.

“I’ve been barra fishing for about 10 years and have registered for Million Dollar Fish each year since it started but I never thought I would be the one to reel in a red-tag,” said Jamie.

“I’ve got just about every colour and variety of fishing lure you can think of. I’d made one little modification to one in particular that I used out at Yellow Water which worked perfectly – one cast and that was it.

Jamie, who doesn’t like giving away fishing secrets, said he will be going back to Yellow Water to try his luck at catching the million dollar barra.

The second red-tagged barra was reeled in by Karama resident Wilfredo Riddick near the Nightcliff Jetty on Saturday, 3 October. Measuring 56cm in length, the $10,000 barra was released at the Nightcliff Boat Ramp just last week.

“I was fishing on the rocks near the Nightcliff Jetty – I couldn’t believe it when I saw the red tag. I’ll put the money to good use and upgrade my boat,” said Wilfredo.

“There were a few yahoos, that’s for sure. I went home and had a few celebratory beers over the weekend.

“I’ve always registered for Million Dollar Fish and get out fishing most weekends – I figured I would get hold of a red-tagged fish eventually.”

The third fish (the first Double Tag Barra of the season and a huge 98cm in length) was hooked on Sunday, 4 October, on the Mary River by ‘stoked’ Queenslander Ryan Curtis.

The Mackay resident, whose parents own Reidy’s Lures, used a Reidy’s custom vibe to reel in the lucrative prize earning him a whopping $10,000 and $5,000 to give to a mate who’s had a tough year.

“It was amazing catching the first Double Tag Barra,” recalled Ryan. “I was stoked with the size of the fish alone – when I saw the tags it just took it to a whole other level.

Ryan, who came up to visit the in-laws to do some fishing, said it was the first time he’d registered for Million Dollar Fish. “We thought we’d stay up here for a few extra weeks and have a go at it.

“I’ve been up here about five or six times fishing over the past 15 years – I just love it. I look forward to spending the cash on an electric motor to go and catch more barra.”

SportsBet External Affairs Manager Brad Fanning said it was fantastic to see three registered fishos already cash in just days after Season 6 began on 1 October.

“Anyone can win through Million Dollar Fish and I would encourage locals and visitors alike to jump online and register for the chance to become a millionaire,” said Brad.

“SportsBet love being involved in Million Dollar Fish and we hope we can award one lucky fisho a cheque for $1 million this season.”

Over 40 prize fish have been won since the comp began in 2015, but the elusive Million Dollar Fish is yet to be reeled in by one lucky fisho.

Are you keen to try your luck? Make sure you register now.