Talk about a trail of improbable coincidences. Thursday morning last week I was chatting fish with Alice Burton on 104.9 and she asked me where are the $Million Fish, as none had been caught at that stage… or so we thought. Right about that time, George Voukolos Junior was calling in the capture of the first $10,000 tagged barra for season three of Million Dollar Fish. As if that improbable coincidence wasn’t enough, George also caught a red-tagged barra last year in MDF season two. And if that wasn’t improbable enough either, how about this: his MDF barra last week was the first caught in season three, and his MDF barra last year was the first caught in season two! But hang on, there’s more: both fish came from the Daly River. Congratulations to George who told me: “I was catching plenty of barra there in the dark, and then I slid a 70cm fish up the bank and saw the red tag with “Season 3” written on it. Well didn’t the flood gates open after that? Come Saturday, three more red-tagged barra were caught. William Budd caught number two, a 58cm fish, from the Southport boat ramp up Middle Arm in Darwin Harbour. James McDonald landed 10K barra number three, a 63cm fish, above the barrage at Shady Camp Lagoon. The fourth winning barra, a beauty at 75cm, was caught by Sue Swindale fishing Mary River Bridge Lagoon. CrownBet CEO Matt Tripp said he was delighted to see the fourth tagged barra caught in a great start to the season. “Million Dollar Fish is the greatest fishing comp in Australia, and we’re hoping season 3 will reel in the big one.” It’s interesting how well the MDF campaign fits neatly into the findings of a study conducted by Tourism NT. It seems half of all Australian men have felt disconnected or lonely in the past six months and crave more physical interactions and experiences. The research revealed that 78% of Aussie males think their mates spend more time connecting with them online than they do in person as a result of social media and, given the option, they would prefer to spend more time enjoying face-to-face connections instead. Commenting on the findings, Australia’s leading relationship expert Melissa Ferrari said: “Maintaining healthy relationships and sharing life experiences with others is a vital part of being a well-rounded person who experiences happiness through the joy of connecting with others. “It contributes and plays a key role to our individual health and wellbeing,” Melissa added. When asked how they would like to connect with their mates, Aussie men ranked holidaying (41%), watching live sport (28%) and fishing (11%) as their top choice for spending quality time together. For my money, taking a fishing holiday in the Top End with your mates embraces all those connections: by definition, it’s holidaying, and it’s not only watching but it’s participating in live sport (ie sportfishing), and of course it is fishing. Then there’s the incentive to win cash and prizes valued at more than $2.1 million in total. We know already that prize barramundi have been tagged and released at lots of interesting, accessible locations, and there are still 96 worth 10K each and one worth $1million swimming around in Top End waters. Visit www.milliondollarfish.com.au to register before your next fishing trip. ********************************************** In further great news for local business and fishos, two more contracts have been awarded for projects under the Government’s $50 million investment in recreational fishing infrastructure. The first contract, worth $168,112, was awarded to H&K Earthmoving for works on Dundee Beach boat ramp car park. Primary Industry and Resources Minister Ken Vowles said. “The works include grading the car park, adding new gravel and measures to ensure water drains off the surface.” The second contract, worth $89,170, has been awarded to Bhagwan Marine Contractors for the installation of a new containment net at Manton Dam. “Earlier this year I visited Manton Dam to help release 110,000 barramundi fingerlings, and the net will help stop those fish escaping from the dam during wet season floods,” Mr Vowles said. “Replacing the net was recommended by the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee, which we have consulted with to ensure the $50 million is spent on projects that matter to recreational fishers.” Don’t forget the Corroboree Park Challenge is on this weekend and the national Gone Fishing Day is this Sunday, so why not combine both for a great fun weekend. For information on the challenge, visit www.palmerstongamefishing.com and, for Gone Fishing Day, go to www.afant.com.au. PHOTOS:
1. Georgie Voukolos does it again: first tagged barra MDF season three, and down the Daly River also again.
2. Stacey Peel with her ripper 119cm barra from a Gulf of Carpentaria river.
3. Leila and Tilly Peel also got into the gulf barra action – under the guidance of dad Ben Peel.
Dirty Oars team members, Mel Bowen (left), Johanna Clark and Mel Krollig, were convincing winners of the Shady Lady Classic at Shady Camp, with Mel taking out Champion Angler as well.