Alex's Column 31/03/2022

Today is the last day of Million Dollar Fish Season 7.

There were 112 10K barra released with a Sportsbet red tag, and one more which is worth $1million.

There are also another 7 barra each $1million from previous seasons.

This has been an epic season for recaptures: unbelievably, there have been 16 $10,000 barra caught.

What I find even more unbelievable is that, with so many recaptures, why isn’t a $1million fish amongst them?

The current Season 7 $1million barra is swimming around in Darwin Harbour.

We know that from the blatant clues on the MDF Facebook page.

We also know that it is 70cm long, again from Facebook.

If you want to have a shot at any MDF tagged barra before the season closes, then there is still time this afternoon to catch the incoming tide up one of Darwin Harbour’s arms.

There’s a 1.7m low tide at 12.09pm, with nearly 6m of tide coming in; that’s just perfect.

The good news too is that all 8 million dollar barra will still be up for grabs even after the season has closed.

However, to be eligible, you must register on the MDF website today for Season 7.

Should a $1million barra be recaptured out of season, all the others will be deactivated.

This afternoon, with 5-6m of water scheduled to come in, you need to be fishing in one of the harbour's arms by 1.30pm.

Fish creek mouths and gutters, and snake drains on the flats.

Follow the tide’s progress until water floods back into the mangroves.

Often the window of opportunity at a given spot is brief as barra move in and out of creeks and gutters or hold on a bank-side eddy for a short period, so being in the right place at the right time is vitally important.

You may need to anchor quietly or move around slowly with an electric motor because shallow-water barra are easily spooked.

Always keep an eye out for nervous baitfish and prawns – it could mean that barra are feeding subsurface.

Of course, if barra are loudly “boofing” on the surface, then you know absolutely for certain that there are feeding fish about.

Darwin Harbour barra average 45-65cm, but it’s not unusual to have days when all fish are less than the 55cm legal size.

However, your primary target will be that 70cm fish worth $1million.

Use both hard-and-soft-body lures that match the bait, be it minnow or prawn.

Popular hard-body lures include small-to-medium Bombers, small Reidy’s B52 and Hellraiser, Killalure 2Deadly and Classic Just Under.

Effective soft plastic lures include Squidgies, ZMan MinnowZ, Zerek Cherabin and Gulp Baits.

However, remember to register before you hit the water.

Season 8 will commence on 1 October, once again with the full support of Sportsbet.

I know for a fact from chatting with Sportsbet’s Brad Fanning that everyone involved in the organisation of this huge competition is super keen for the big-dollar fish to get caught.

Hopefully that happens sooner than later.


Gavin Bedford with one of several barra he caught fishing with Roger Sinclair on the South Alligator River.