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Alex's Fishing Column 10/06/21

With Million Dollar Fish season 7 looming with its planned commencement on 1 October, it’s worth looking at what’s been happening with this iconic event.

It happens every year during the off season, and it’s happened again this year: there have been three Sportsbet red-tagged barra caught that were once worth $10,000 each.

Each of them was tagged by Sportsbet’s Brad Fanning in conjunction with NT Fisheries, and all three were eligible in the latest season 6 of MDF which finished at the end of March.

The first one was recaptured on 8 May by Tim Harding near the East Arm rock wall in Darwin Harbour.

It was at liberty for 220 days, growing from 61cm to 70cm, and swimming 12km from where it was tagged.

The second recaptured barra was caught by Andronicus Nayineeul off Cahill’s Crossing, East Alligator River, on 18 May.

This was an extraordinary barramundi: on paper, it shrunk from 61cm to 60cm during its 251 days of liberty, swimming 4km from where it was tagged.

Peter Howe recaptured the third Sportsbet red-tagged barra at Charlies Creek on the Daly River on 29 May.

It was at liberty for 260 days, swam 8km from its tagging location, and grew an impressive 16cm from 57cm to 73cm.

Although these fish were not eligible for prize money, it’s worth remembering that there are still seven tagged barra swimming around that are each worth $1million… right now, out of season!

These true Million Dollar Fish are spread across all the regions of the Top End: Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, Arnhem Land and Tiwi Islands.

I’d suggest you now switch your phone to camera mode because here are the numbers of the seven Sportsbet red-tagged barra that are each worth a cool million bucks:

  • S1-MDF1469

  • S2-MDF2656

  • S3-MDF3556

  • S4-MDF4540

  • S4-MDF4663

  • S5-MDF5501

  • S6-MDF6474

As a non-fishy aside, Sportsbet is really getting involved in the NT as it is now the official sponsor of the Darwin Cup Ball, replacing Qantas after 30 years.


From a Territory angling perspective, the NT Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee is an invaluable source of expert advice to the Minister for Recreational Fishing, Paul Kirby, and the NT Government as a whole on issues and opportunities pertaining to the Territory’s huge recreational fishing community.

The Minister has just announced new appointments and reappointments to the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee.

New are keen anglers Greg Ireland who is CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and Samantha Wigg who runs the Girls Gone Fishin’ annual women’s competition.

Reappointments are Kristen Noble, co-ordinator of the Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge, Fishing and Outdoor World’s Ronald Voukolos, and yours truly.

Minister Kirby said: “The appointments come after an expression of interest process seeking nominations from Territorians keen to contribute to the management, development and future of recreational fishing in the Northern Territory.

“More than 35,000 Territorians and 54,000 visitors fish in the NT, and contribute at least $80 million towards recreational fishing and fishing tours within the NT each year.

“Great fishing is a birthright in the Territory and, together with the economic value of this popular pastime, demonstrates the importance of having a passionate advisory group, focused on the future of recreational fishing in the Territory,” Mr Kirby said.

Matt Barwick, Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee Chair, said:

“The Committee provides a forum for people throughout the NT who share a passion for fishing to come together and give clear guidance on how to take recreational fishing in the Territory forward.”

Infofish Australia’s Bill Sawynok and Sportsbet’s Brad Fanning with a red-tagged barra that might just be still swimming around and worth $1million.


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