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Alex's Fishing Report 6 October 2016

Would you believe it? Really, would you seriously believe it if you didn’t know it was true?

Million Dollar Fish season 2 kicked off on the weekend and by Monday night two Darwin locals are each $10,000 richer.

Even though last year 10 of 76 red-tagged barra were caught, I still remained sceptical that history might just not repeat itself.

But it has, and how great is that?

I managed to catch up with both the lucky anglers at a Darwin Game Fishing Club meeting at Fishing and Outdoor World on Tuesday night.

Kelli Carroll, the first female angler to catch a 10K barra, was still pretty excited after landing her prize fish.

“My husband Eddie was away fishing in PNG and I wanted to learn about tides as I’m fishing in the Shady Lady competition next week,” Kelli said.

“So I texted our friend Skev Politis to get the info, and he said he was fishing.

“I asked him if I could come and he said to meet him at the Palmerston boat ramp in 10 minutes.

“I’d never even been to the ramp before, let alone fished in the Elizabeth River, but we motored to a spot and I just started casting randomly, as I do, and hooked up.

“I could see it was a little barra, and I don’t care if a fish jumps off unless it’s in competition.

“But it got closer and Skev netted it, and we saw the tag when Skev plonked it on the floor,” Kelli explained.

At that stage, there was no excitement because the tag needed cleaning to see the colour.

“Skev and I can talk with each other all day but, when we saw it was red, we just looked at each other and we couldn’t talk at all,” the lucky angler said.

The 10K barra measured 55cm and was caught on a small Zerek Flat Shad.

The second Million Dollar Fish worth 10K was caught by land-based guru angler, George Voukolos (Junior).

George was fishing around the Daly River Crossing, and had already landed an 89cm barra when a smaller barra jumped on.

“I brought it to the edge and in the gloom I thought it was undersized, so I tried to shake it off while it was in the water,” George said.

“But my little Rebel minnow was down its throat and hung on, so I pulled it up on the bank.

“Only then I saw the red tag.”
George has already caught a couple of metre-plus barra at the crossing this build-up, but they sure couldn’t match his 64cm $10,000 barra.

Already there are interstate anglers visiting the Top End in the hope of catching one of these red-tagged fish.

It certainly looks like, once again, the Million Dollar Fish campaign will be a great success for both Tourism NT and major sponsor CrownBet.

CrownBet CEO Mathew Tripp was ecstatic to see not one, but two fish caught so early.

“What a start to Season 2 of the Million Dollar Fish,” Mathew said.

“We’re delighted to partner with Tourism NT and the NT Government to present this innovative competition, and we’re thrilled for Kelli and George to have landed $10,000 each.”

For more information, or to register, visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au.

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The annual Northern Territory Billfish Classic is scheduled for 7-9 November.

This is a tag-and-release event held out of Darwin with competitors able to fish all the way from the Peron Islands to the Bathurst Trench, including the Fenton Patches grounds close to Darwin.

For years, this bluewater competition has been a tough one.

Hosted by the Darwin Game Fishing Club, it is well promoted and well run, but each year usually the team that catches just a marlin or sailfish or two wins.

But that all changed last year when the total number of billfish tagged and released went into double figures, comprising 11 sailfish and 7 black marlin.

However, of those 18 billfish, Doug Saunders, Mick Carey, Dean Lovegrove and Ken Roderick in Meg II landed 9 of them: 7 sailfish and 2 marlin.

Last year, of the 20 teams competing, two fished down around Dundee and the remaining 18 all steamed over to the Bathurst Trench off the lower west side of Bathurst Island.

The Meg II team followed a plan to fish further north of the Trench, working some new shoals around the 50 metre contour line.

The tactic paid off and this year there are bound to be many boats checking out the new grounds.

Billfish Classic spokesperson, Peter Dienhoff, said it will be the ninth year of the competition and expectations are sky high.

“Basically, the comp this year will be run along the same lines as last year, although the dates are a little later to coincide with the best tides.

“This also gives teams the opportunity to leave on the weekend and have a look at some areas that they may wish to explore prior to the tournament commencing on Monday 7 November,” Peter told me.

This year, the Overall Champion Billfish Team will win $5000 plus prizes.

There are two runner-up categories – one for teams fishing in boats less than 6m in length and one for teams fishing in boats 6m or longer – and each will win $2500 plus prizes.

Peter said he hadn’t been out chasing any billies of late.

“Like other teams, we’ve just been doing some bait collecting.

“We have a spot out near Bass Reef, and we always have a floating garfish out the back for any macks that are hanging around.

“This spot continues to produce some great fish and so far we’ve landed several mackerel between 130cm and 146cm,” Peter reported.

For more information on the Billfish Classic, contact Debbie Halprin on 0412 848267, email or visit www.darwingamefishing club.com.au.

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 Palmerston Game Fishing Club’s Andrew Hunt asked me to remind Darwin anglers that annual Corroboree Park Challenge will be held on 21-23 October.

This great family event is open to the general public and carries more than $20,000 in prizes.

The competition base will be Corroboree Park Tavern where there will be free camping.

Pre-registrations will be at the PGFC on 7 and 14 October, with information and registration forms available on the Facebook event page: 2016 Humminbird Corroboree Park Challenge.

 PHOTOS:

1.    Kelli CarrollKelli Carroll caught the first $10,000 fish in Million Dollar Barra season 2 less than an hour after she decided to go fishing with friend Skev Politis.

2.    George Voukolos (Junior) has caught some spectacular barra off the Daly River Crossing,George Voukolos (Junior) has caught some spectacular barra off the Daly River Crossing, but this 64cm fish sporting a red tag worth $10,000 surely tops the list.

3.       Nathan Bowe (left) helps his mate Michael Hicks lift Michael’s mega Spanish mackerel Nathan Bowe (left) helps his mate Michael Hicks lift Michael’s mega Spanish mackerel caught with Peter Dienhoff at Bass Reef.