Borroloola fisho lands $10K Barra

The first red-tagged barra has been reeled in for 2024 by Borroloola resident James Mawson.

This is the eighth $10,000 barra caught in Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish, with $90,000 now awarded to lucky anglers across this season of Australia’s richest fishing competition

James was fishing 2kms upstream of the Borroloola Crossing on Monday, 22 January, when he managed to lure in one expensive fish. 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. James chose Starlight Children’s Foundation Darwin Star Ball.

James Mawson said he was shocked when he reeled in the prize-winning fish.

“It was just another fishing day for us. Just get out there and have a go, you never know, it was just a normal day out fishing. I wasn’t expecting to go home with a red tag.”

It comes as Million Dollar Fish, underwritten by SportsBet, has announced there are now a whopping 24 barra with tags worth a million bucks, the most in the history of the competition.

There are still 103 barramundi waiting to be caught as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 9. That includes the 24 fish carrying a tag worth a million bucks. The change means there is about a one-in-four chance of your fish being worth a million if you reel in a Season 9 red-tagged barra.

SportsBet NT Operations and Partnerships Manager Thijs Bors says 2024 is off to a cracking start with James catching a 65cm beauty out at Borroloola.

“It goes to show the tagged barra are everywhere and you’ve got a shot at catching one all over the Top End,” he said.

“SportsBet is excited to see who else reels in a $10,000 barra or the life-changing barra worth a million bucks!”

Delivered by Northern Territory Major Events Company on behalf of the Territory Government, the Million Dollar Fish Season 8 competition injected a total expenditure stimulus of $70.8 million into the Territory.

NT fishing competition now offers 24 x barra worth a million bucks for 2024!

There are now more chances than ever, 24 in fact, to reel in a life-changing barramundi in the Northern Territory thanks to Australia’s richest fishing competition, Million Dollar Fish.

Joining the 12 x $1m barra already released, an extra 12 fish have now been tagged as $1m fish. This means there are 24 ‘big ones’ out there – the most in the history of the competition.

There are also 80 x $10,000 barra to be caught.

Million Dollar Fish, supported by SportsBet, is run by Northern Territory Major Events Company. CEO Suzana Bishop says someone is guaranteed to reel in a million dollars during Season 9, and the odds have never been better.

“We’ve kicked off 2024 with the most million-dollar fish ever and we are definitely giving away a million dollars this season, so there has never been a better time to visit the Northern Territory,” she says.

“This is a unique competition in a unique destination. Nowhere else in the world could fishing change your life like this. Head to the Top End and enjoy world-class fishing in our pristine waterways, plus the chance to become a millionaire!”

There are now 24 fish sporting $1m tags as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 9
There are now 24 fish sporting $1m tags as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 9

SportsBet NT Operations and Partnerships Manager Thijs Bors says there is just a few months of Million Dollar Fish Season 9 left.

“As the major sponsor of Million Dollar Fish, SportsBet is thrilled to be playing a part in making one lucky fisho a millionaire and helping dozens of others become $10,000 richer,” he says.

“With less than 10 weeks of Season 9 left, now is the time to register and get out on the water before it’s too late!”

Once a $1m fish is caught, all remaining fish, including those tagged at $1m, will become $10,000 fish.

Season 9 runs from 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024. To claim any prize money from a tagged fish, you must be registered for Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish. This also automatically enters you into the Lucky Prize Pool, which includes thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs. Register now for free at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

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!

A Millionaire GUARANTEED for Million Dollar Fish Season 9!

Fishing in the Northern Territory is about to get more exciting than ever. In the biggest news since Million Dollar Fish (MDF) began in 2015, someone will definitely win a million dollars during Season 9.

Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC) delivers Australia’s richest fishing competition, underwritten by SportsBet. Season 9 runs from 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024 and registrations open tomorrow.

Over the years, we’ve released hundreds of tagged barramundis into the Top End’s five main fishing regions – Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands. Thousands of dollars have also been paid out to fishos lucky enough to catch them. But no one has caught one of the fish sporting a tag worth $1 million yet.

That’s all set to change this season. We’ve planned a number of initiatives to ensure someone bags a big one. To maintain the integrity of the competition, we’ll release details as the season progresses, with the first initiative ready for the start of Season 9 on 1 October 2023. Anyone keen to try their luck follow the MDF social channels and register for Season 9 now, for free.

You’ll automatically enter into the Lucky Prize Pool when you register. Each month we’ll give out prizes galore, ranging from holidays to fishing gear. You won’t even need to wet a line to win something.

Million Dollar Fish delivers for the NT

Million Dollar Fish delivers for the Territory, with last season o-fish-ally the biggest. Season 8 recorded the most registrations ever (47,949). The last Season also saw the most red-tagged fish caught – 20 – and the lucky winning fishos taking home $230,000 between them (some received Double the Dough).

Every time a fisho catches a $10,000 fish, they donate an extra $1000 to the MDF charity of their choice. The official MDF charities (Cancer Council NT, Shoreline and Starlight Children’s Foundation Darwin Star Ball) received more than ever, sharing $23,000. This year a new charity will join the list of MDF charities – Riding for the Disabled Association Top End.

MDF continues to deliver for the Territory economy, too. Independent research shows Season 8 generated a total expenditure stimulus, in the Northern Territory, of $70.8 million, 33.3 per cent ($23.6 million) of which was new money to the Top End region. The research also revealed:

  • MDF delivered 153,677 visitor nights across the NT.
  • 7 per cent of participants purchased fishing equipment.
  • 3 per cent of participants said they were likely to return next year.

Fishos must be registered for Season 9 to claim any prize money from a tagged fish. To find out more and to register, visit https://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.

Big pay day for Top End fishos

Two Top End fishos have snagged a $10,000 cash bonus each, after hitting the water in the hope of reeling in Australia’s Most Wanted Fish – the Season 7 Million Dollar Fish.

While they weren’t successful in trapping the lucrative red-tagged runaway worth a million bucks, the fishos managed to locate two of the boss barramundi’s $10,000 accomplices on Sunday.

Josh James of Acacia Hills landed a 90cm fishy suspect while out with family members on Adelaide River. He looks forward to purchasing his kids a couple of motorbikes with his winnings. He will donate his additional $1,000 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation Darwin Star Ball.

“There was a fair bit of cheering and yahooing when we saw the red tag,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool concept, going fishing in the NT and getting cash for free. It’s so easy to sign up to Million Dollar Fish.”

Another Acacia Hills resident, Jarryd Price, also found himself with a red-tagged barra in his esky on Sunday. He was land-based fishing with a friend at Daly River using a handline when he bagged his 64cm suspect. It wasn’t until later on in the day, while cleaning and filleting the fish, that he noticed the red tag covered in algae. Jarryd has opted to give his additional $1,000 to Cancer Council NT.

“I’ve registered for Million Dollar Fish for a few seasons now, but never really thought I’d be lucky enough to get a red-tagged fish,” he said.

Australia’s Most Wanted Fish campaign launched earlier this month

After the ‘Australia’s Most Wanted Fish’ campaign launched earlier this month, fishos have hit Top End waters in droves to track down the Season 7 Million Dollar Fish, who is still on the swim. Authorities have made fresh calls for the community to join in the search and catch the head fishy fugitive, along with seven of his scaly relatives who also carry cash rewards of $1 million. Around 98 other Season 7 gang members remain at large and are worth $10,000.

Tim Watsford, CEO of Northern Territory Major Events Company, organiser of Million Dollar Fish, said search efforts have stepped up a notch with just a few weeks left of Season 7.

“Through Australia’s Most Wanted Fish we are encouraging as many fishos as possible to register, experience our world-class fishing and hopefully bag the Season 7 Million Dollar Fish,” he said.

“There’s plenty of time to get involved, so wet a line in the Top End today for your chance to become a million bucks richer.”

$1 million fish was last seen wearing a red tag in Darwin Harbour

Fishos are reminded the Season 7 $1 million fish was last seen wearing a red tag in Darwin Harbour, and to register their details for free before wetting a line. If you aren’t registered, you cannot claim the cash reward if you land a red-tagged runaway.

‘Australia’s Most Wanted Fish’ is part of the Million Dollar Fish competition, underwritten by SportsBet. The eight fish carrying a $1 million reward can be caught year-round, but you MUST be registered by 31 March 2022 to claim the cash. The $10,000 fish are only active until 31 March 2022, the end of Season 7. Once the first Million Dollar Fish is caught, cash rewards for the remaining seven head fugitives decrease to $10,000 each until the end of March, or become null and void if the Big One is caught between April and September.