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Alex's Column 27/10/2022

Season 8 of Million Dollar Fish is still in its first month and Sportsbet tagged barra are hitting the deck thick and fast.

After a relatively slow start, with no tagged barra caught until 6 October, seven more were caught in the next 10 days, including two days when there two red-tagged barra caught in a 24-hour period.

It doesn’t stop there: just a few days later – only last Sunday – another two MDF tagged barra were caught.

The locations where the last four fish have come from is no surprise at all; they are all popular fishing locations and barra have been biting well thanks to the great early Build-up weather we’ve been experiencing.

The first Sportsbet tagged barra, a ripper 90cm fish, was caught by Sharna Brennan at Manton Dam.

It was followed on 9 October by Nicole Soltesz’s 62cm barra from Hardies Lagoon, a very special fish because it was caught on national Gone Fishing Day and had a prize tag of $20,000.

It was four days before tagged barra number three was captured: Daryl McLeod’s 76cm fish from Daly River Crossing.

Kurt Williamson bagged a 56cm tagged barra in Bynoe Harbour the very next day on 14 October and then, on the 17th, Rory Laidlaw-Hall pulled an 84cm from Mary River Bridge Lagoon while Jack Daly’s 80cm fish came from Daly River Crossing.

Then, just two days later, there was another double: Komang Budiana’s 75cm from Stoke Hills Wharf and Ranae Eels 70cm from Bynoe Harbour.

Komang said: “I caught the fish using live bait and was about to go home when I caught it.

“There were a few people watching on the wharf as I reeled it in and everyone was freaking out!

“I started fishing seriously during COVID and now I’m addicted.

“Whether it’s really hot or raining, I’ll still go fishing.

“I’m saving up to get my younger brother over to Australia from Bali to study, so I’ll use my winnings for that,” the happy angler explained.

Ranae Eels is a fully-fledged tourist from Ballarat, Victoria.

She was celebrating her last day in Darwin with a day on the water with Barramundi Adventures before heading home.

“I can’t believe I caught a red-tagged barra on my last day in Darwin,” she said.

“I’ll probably put the cash towards a boat and maybe a dog.

“We’ve been travelling around Australia and will head back home to Ballarat for Christmas, but we’ll be back in the Territory next year to try and catch another tagged fish,” Renae said.

The two red-tagged barra caught last Sunday came from Corroboree Billabong and Hardies Lagoon respectively.

The lucky anglers were Shane Leo and Paul Fitzgerald.

Sportsbet is the official partner of Million Dollar Fish and underwrites the prize money.

SportsBet’s NT Operations and Partnerships Manager, Thijs Bors, said: “SportsBet is thrilled with the success rate we’ve seen so far for Season 8, with $110,000 claimed already!

“Remember, there are still nine $1 million dollar barra in Top End waters.”

Each time a Season 8 $10,000 barra is caught, an additional $1,000 is given to an official Million Dollar Fish charity of the fisho’s choice. Komang and Ranae both chose Cancer Council NT.

Million Dollar Fish Season 8 runs until 31 March 2023.

There are still 90 $10,000 barramundi swimming around Territory waterways, in addition to the 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 must be registered for Season 8.

Register for free at

NT Major Events Company Head of Events and Operations, Coryn Huddy, said:

“Ten fish caught already, six in just one week alone, including one by an interstate visitor!

“These are amazing results for Australia’s richest fishing competition. “Results like these help spread the word about not just Million Dollar Fish, but the Territory’s world-class fishing in general, and encourage more people to come and try their luck at catching a tagged barra,” Coryn said.

Komang Budiana with one of two Season 8 Sportsbet tagged barra caught in

one day.

Ballarat’s Ranae Eels caught Million Dollar Fish number eight on her last day

visiting the NT.


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