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Alex's Fishing Report 12 January 2017

It looks like it’s time to get all fired up again about chasing one of those lucrative red-tagged barra.
I find it interesting that there were six $10,000 fish caught in the first fortnight of the Million Dollar Fish (MDF) campaign last October, and then not one more until last weekend when Benjamin Kaart bagged his cash fish in Darwin River.
Maybe these tagged fish have some sort of mental telepathic thing happening because no sooner had one been caught than another jumped on a line down the Daly River.
That’s right, another Territorian is thousands of dollars richer after catching a tagged barramundi in MDF Season 2.
Howard Springs angler Craig “Curly” Saxelby caught the 72cm fish near the Bamboo Creek bridge on the Daly River.
Craig used live bait to hook the eighth prize-tagged fish and the fifth from land-based fishing to be caught this season.
It’s not really surprising that every single red-tagged barra caught so far both in both Season 1 and Season 2 were caught by Territory anglers.
There has been huge interest locally in the Top End, and boat ramps have been overflowing.
This is despite the primary objective of the campaign to lure more interstate anglers to the NT during the slower months of October through to and including the following February.
However, it’s been a stimulus to the NT economy just the same.
Locals going fishing are locals spending money on tackle, on fuel, on boats, on servicing, on accommodation, and on food and grog.
Instead of going to Bali, they’re going to the Daly… or Corroboree… or Darwin Harbour.
Mind you, there are plenty of signs that the campaign is achieving its primary objective, even though tourist anglers aren’t getting amongst the dollar fish.
During the build-up months, tackle shops were reporting an increase in tourist trade over previous years; as did fishing tour operators.
I know for a fact that the Arnhem Land Barra Lodge had its busiest November in 12 years of operating.
If you entered the competition and filled out the online survey in the last NAFA magazine, you would have seen the question: Will you visit the Top End because of Million Dollar Fish Season 2? A staggering 47.46% of respondents wrote they would.
Clearly, many of those respondents already live in the NT but more than half are from interstate.
So, once again, the MDF campaign is already a great success for both Tourism NT and major sponsor CrownBet.
CrownBet Strategic Partnership Manager Brad Fanning told me that it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Million Dollar Fish campaign is providing a broad stimulus across the NT domestic economy.
“Whether the tourists who are attracted here by MDF are catching the barra or not, people are still getting out in boats, still driving to prime locations and still spending money in their quest for a red-tagged barra,” Brad said.
“The combination of the Territorian local spend and the dollars coming in from lured fishing tourists is surely a major boon to the NT economy, and is widespread across various sectors.
“That’s why CrownBet is rapt to be the official MDF partner.
“It looks like the barra are back on the bite, so make sure you all get in and register to try your luck; there are still over $1.9 million worth of red tags swimming around in NT waterways waiting to be caught,” Brad said.
Here’s a snapshot of tagged fish caught in MDF season 2:
·         2 have been caught in 2017
·         5 out of 8 have been caught by land-based fishing
·         4 out of 8 were caught on the Daly River
·         2 out of 8 were caught in Darwin Harbour
·         1 out of 8 was caught in Corroboree Billabong
·         1 out of 8 was caught in Darwin River
·         $80,000 in prize money has been won to date
If you’re after a bit of secret squirrel information about where else there might be some barra sporting red tags, I’d think about having a fish upstream of Cahill’s Crossing on the East Alligator River.
If you reside in Borroloola or thereabouts, the McArthur River at King Ash Bay might be worth a shot.
For Nhulunbuy residents and visitors, make sure you check out Gove Harbour.
Speaking of Nhulunbuy, Shane Flanigan reported that the Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club’s Junior Fishing Competition is going gangbusters, with 115 entries for the holidays.
“This current competition has seen some great catches by the kids, including: Toby Knyvett’s 130kg black marlin, the first billfish for the junior comp, and a 137cm mackerel caught by Tom O’Dwyer,” Shane said.

PHOTOS:

Million Dollar Fish number 8 was caught last Monday by Craig “Curly” Saxelby who fished with mates Christian Ehling (left) and Dazza Nelson (right).Million Dollar Fish number 8 was caught last Monday by Craig “Curly” Saxelby who fished with mates Christian Ehling (left) and Dazza Nelson (right).

Tom O’Dwyer is well in the running in the Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club’s Junior Fishing Competition thanks to this ripper 137cm Spanish mackerel.Tom O’Dwyer is well in the running in the Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club’s Junior Fishing Competition thanks to this ripper 137cm Spanish mackerel.

Rhys Koenig fished with Stewie Martin and Daniel Harris when he caught this solid barra on the large Killalure 2Deadly shallow and top-water hybrid lure… hopefully a pointer to great runoff fishing to come.Rhys Koenig fished with Stewie Martin and Daniel Harris when he caught this solid barra on the large Killalure 2Deadly shallow and top-water hybrid lure… hopefully a pointer to great runoff fishing to come.