More than living up to its reputation as Australia’s richest fishing competition, Million Dollar Fish, underwritten by SportsBet, launched into a record-breaking start. Season 8 smashed records just two months in, with a whopping 16 prize-tagged barramundi caught across the Top End in just eight weeks. This is the same number of fish bagged during the whole six months of Season 7.
The lucky local and interstate fishos netted $170,000 in prize money (one angler won double the dough), and three Territory charities shared $17,000. Each time a Season 8 $10,000 fish is caught, an extra $1,000 is donated to an official Million Dollar Fish charity - Cancer Council NT, Shoreline and Starlight Children’s Foundation - as nominated by the winning fisho.
The Daly River and beautiful Mary River system proved to be Million Dollar Fish hotspots, with 10 red-tagged fish caught in these abundant waters in the first two months of Season 8.
The chances of pocketing a million bucks have never been higher, with nine fish worth a million dollars now released in five fishing regions: Tiwi Islands, Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land. This includes the Season 8 Million Dollar Fish, as well as those from every other season, which are still eligible to be caught.
There’s still plenty of time to hit the water and catch a red-tagged barramundi, with Season 8 running until 31 March 2023, and dozens of fish swimming around Top End waterways.
Karama local Sharna Brennan scored the very first catch of the season, reeling in a $10,000 red-tagged barramundi while fishing at Manton Dam. Her husband caught the first ever $10,000 fish of Million Dollar Fish back in Season 1, reeled in from Darwin Harbour.
Darwinite Nicole Soltesz pocketed $20,000 when she bagged the second Season 8 red tag. The $10K prize barra was worth double the dough as part of a campaign to celebrate National Gone Fishing Day. She was out fishing with friends at Hardies Lagoon when she caught the 62cm prize-tagged fish - her first ever barramundi!
Daly River’s Darryl McLeod hooked a 76cm barra while land-based fishing at the iconic Daly River Crossing. Luck seems to be on Darryl’s side after he bagged a $10,000 barra last season. Darryl’s partner Kaitlyn Ahfat also caught a red-tagged fish at the same location in Season 6.
Self-confessed barra addict Kurt Williamson of Dundee Beach hooked himself a 56cm barramundi in Bynoe Harbour. A professional fishing guide, Kurt was stoked to finally get his own red tag in the bag after witnessing one of his Queensland-based clients reel in a Season 7 $10,000 fish in March 2022.
Mad keen fisho, Rory Laidlaw-Hall, of Malak, found himself $10,000 richer after snagging a barra at Mary River Bridge Lagoon. He first spotted the red tag as he was reeling the fish in towards the boat and quickly secured his lucrative catch.
McMinns Lagoon resident Komang Budiana bagged his winning fish at Stokes Hill Wharf. Komang, who got into fishing during COVID, has become something of a barra addict. He plans to use his prize money to help bring his brother to Australia to study.
The first interstate victor of Season 8 was Victorian Ranae Eels. She hooked a barra sporting this season’s must-have accessory – a red tag – in Bynoe Harbour on a fishing charter with Barramundi Adventures. The Ballarat resident was celebrating her last day in Darwin with a day on the water before heading home.
The Mary River system proved bountiful for two lucky anglers in quick succession, with fish number nine caught by Tumbling Waters resident Shane Leo (left photo) at Corroboree Billabong. The Mary River system is teeming with fish, including Shane’s 60cm specimen sporting a red tag. Close on his heels came Paul Fitzgerald (right photo) from Gunn, Palmerston, who bagged fish number 10 - a 66cm winning barra at Hardies Lagoon, just a short drive from Corroboree Billabong. Paul’s fish was the second Season 8 $10,000 barra to be caught at Hardies.
Territorian Jack Daly enjoyed a double celebration catching two Season 8 fish at the same spot: Daly River Crossing. The Daly River resident, who has registered for every season of Million Dollar Fish, said he couldn’t believe he’d caught two winning fish and spent his winnings on Christmas shopping and more fishing gear.
Kevin North is counting his lucky stars after reeling in a 76cm red-tagged barramundi at a fishing spot about a kilometre from Daly River Crossing. The keen angler, who has been trying to catch a red-tagged fish for the past eight years, was thrilled to catch his first $10,000 prize-tagged barra.
Leon Danicic was land-based fishing near the Victoria River boat ramp when he caught his 59cm barra. Born and bred in the Territory, Leon has fished for years across the Top End and said it was “unbelievable” he’d finally caught himself a red-tagged fish. The Darwin-based fisho will put his winnings towards fuel, food and drinks while on a two-month road trip along the Western Australia coast with his mate Duncan O’Riley.
A Top End fishing trip with a mate from down south saw Territorian Colin Carthew reel in a red-tagged barramundi. The fisho snagged his lucrative 62cm catch on the very last cast of the day, before swiftly making it back to the Darwin Ski Club boat ramp to beat the tide. A keen fisho, Colin said he’ll put the money towards purchasing new video camera equipment.
The Daly River delivered again when Territorian Yo Thu Yar reeled in a 55cm prize-tagged barra while land-based fishing.
Lucky fisho Nathan Corpus also had a 58cm catch at the iconic Daly. His catch brought the total number of tagged fish caught in the first two months of Season 8 to 16.
Each Million Dollar Fish season runs from 1 October to 31 March, when all $10,000 fish cease to be eligible. However, the nine fish carrying tags worth $1 million remain active year-round, so any day fishing in the Territory could turn you into a millionaire! To claim any prize money, you MUST be registered for the latest season of Million Dollar Fish. Register for free at www.milliondollarfish.com.au