Top End anglers and visiting fishos are getting organised for a shot at Million Dollar Fish Season 5 which gets under way after midnight next Tuesday. This mega fishing competition will continue until 31 March 2020. This season, there will be 126 barra tagged and ready to be recaptured: • five red tags re-activated from seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 worth $1m; • one red tag worth $1m; • 100 red tags worth $10,000 each; and • 20 purple charity tags worth $5000 each. If one of the million-bucks barra doesn’t get caught, all six fish with that prize tag will remain active post competition. Million Dollar Fish Strategic Partnership Manager, Brad Fanning from BetEasy, said the Million Dollar Fish competition was one of the most important fishing competitions in Australia. “The competition boosts NT visitor numbers and encourages people to stay and fish in the Territory,” Brad said. “Up to Season Five, more than 40 tagged barramundi have been caught and this season there are six opportunities for anglers to hook that elusive barramundi worth one million dollars.” All the tagged barramundi have been released at many locations across the Top End of the Northern Territory: as far north as Willigi, east to Nhulunbuy, south to Borroloola and in the Victoria River, and west as far as Dundee Beach and Bathurst Island. The tagging and distribution of the barra is organised by Infofish, headed up by Bill Sawynok who said the tagged fish numbers had grown over the years of the competition. “Since the competition started, more than 66 fish had been recaptured, including three Charity Tags, and that’s a good recapture rate,” Bill said. “All fishing-related businesses I have spoken with say the Million Dollar Fish competition is good for business. “It has certainly boosted visitor numbers.” Another Million Dollar Fish competition supporter is George Voukolos, Fishing and Outdoor World proprietor and a 45-year fishing industry stalwart. “It’s all about tourism,” George said. “Territory cities and towns like Darwin need tourists. “They stay in hotels, buy food and ammunition, and it all helps the local economies.” If the first $1m prize is awarded, the remaining five $1m BetEasy Fish Tags will become $10,000 fish. As well, there are more than $30,000 worth of prizes on offer from sponsors including BetEasy, Iron Jack, Anaconda, Shimano, TIO, Big Fish Gear, Engel, Club Marine, Holidays of Australia and Tourism Top End. All red-tagged fish should be reported through the hotline to check if it is a prize-winning fish. You won’t be able to tell if you have won a prize by simply looking at the prize tag; you must go through the verification process to claim a prize. Entrants must have completed a valid registration on www.milliondollarfish.com.au and comply with the terms and conditions before presenting any claim for a BetEasy Tagged Fish cash prize. If you’re heading out onto Darwin Harbour on Tuesday for the start of Million Dollar Fish Season 5, then you’ll be fishing across monster tides: 7.7m down to 0.4m. Mind you, it’s the right time of year and there are plenty of spots up the harbour’s several arms that fish best on tides like these. Bynoe Harbour is another option because there’s bound to be plenty of tagged barra in this vast system. Really, with so many tagged barra out there, you just might stumble onto one in any of the well-known barra haunts.
Max Menzies with one of those Dundee black marlin.
Sam Menzies and his Dundee sailfish.
This is why so many anglers are heading for Dundee to chase sailfish. ALL PICS BY STEWIE MARTIN