Fishing tourism in the Top End is set to get another great boost with the commencement of Million Dollar Fish season three. Registrations opened on 14 July but the actual fishing competition doesn’t commence until 1 October and continues until 28 February next year. As with last season, there will be 100 barra tagged which will each be worth $10,000 if and when recaptured and one fish carrying a red tag that will be worth a cool million dollars in cash. The five NT regions included in the competition are Darwin, the Tiwi Islands, Kakadu, Katherine and Arnhem Land. Tourism NT’s key sponsorship partner is CrownBet which will again be teaming up with Info Fish’s Bill Sawynok to tag the 101 barra. CrownBet’s Strategic Partnership Manager, Brad Fanning, said it would be great to see more awareness and more people out on boat ramps. “Successive campaigns contribute as a major economic stimulus to the NT, creating jobs but also providing more incentive for more people to go fishing, including our younger anglers who derive incredible social benefit from MDF,” Brad said. “We want to grow this to the stage where it’s the biggest fishing competition in the world because we know it’s the best fishing here in the NT. “We want the $M fish to go off and that would create worldwide exposure for the NT. “If we could calculate the chances of the $M barra getting caught, it would be good, and the law of averages is certainly working in that direction. “Last year there were eight $10,000 tagged barra caught and the first year there were 10. “What I’m seeing is that, as the comp builds, so does the excitement. “The $M fish will definitely be tagged and released in an NT waterway, and it will have one unique tag number; if you catch that one unique fish, you’ll win $M in cash,” Brad explained. “This year, we will be visiting some new areas to tag barra, but we’ll also be going back to some old favourites too. “The popular areas end up with fish as do some remote ones. “The Liverpool River in Arnhem Land had the most-remote recapture, albeit after season two had finished… but it just goes to show. “The closest was just three minutes from Dinah Beach boat ramp near Darwin’s CBD.” Brad Fanning will be in the Top End for the next couple of months to help facilitate all components of MDF before the start date 1 October. Season three will see more than $91,000 worth of prizes from sponsors up for grabs including: a Jayco Swan Outback Camper trailer worth $30,000; a Can-Am Hunting Edition Quad Bike valued at $14,999 from Territory Power Sports; a Helifish tour package for two with return economy air fares from Jetstar; a Cobourg Fishing Safari package for two with return economy air fares from Jetstar; 8 x $500 Shimano fishing packages and one worth $1000; and three Engel fridges and three Engel ice boxes. Once again, Helifish will also be backing the competition big time by matching dollar-for-dollar any $10,000 tagged barra caught on a Helifish trip. Helifish’s highly-trained pilots/guides are out fishing every day and know what baits or lures work and which spots are fishing the best to give their clients the greatest chance of success. An increasing number of anglers are trying their luck “helifishing”. It’s a great way to see some wonderful Top End scenery and have a chance at catching some great barra, maybe even one sporting an MDF red tag. You can call Helifish on 1800 88 HELI. If you’re one of the lucky folks to catch an MDF tagged barra, you need to follow the key rules listed in the terms and conditions; which include taking a photo of your catch with the tag still in, and noting the size and location before calling the MDF team on 1800 077 001 with the details of your catch to be verified. Prized fish in the past have been caught from both boats and land-based spots; thus there is no hard-and-fast rule as to which method is best. Last season’s event went off with a bang when two tagged barras were caught on the first day, one 20 minutes from Darwin and the other from the Daly River Crossing. Remember to register for Million Dollar Fish before the competition starts; the sooner the better to be in the running for one of the great online prizes. Just go to www.milliondollarfish.com.au. PHOTOS: Number 8 tagged barra caught in season two of Million Dollar Fish measured 72cm and was bagged on the Daly River by Howard Springs angler, flanked here by his mates Christian Ehling and Dazza Nelson.
Kelli Carroll caught the first $10,000 fish in Million Dollar Barra season two less than an hour after she decided to go fishing with friend Skev Politis, and just hours after the competition kicked off.
Helifish is matching dollar-for-dollar any $10,000 tagged barra caught on a fabulous Helifish trip.