Million dollar barramundi on the loose in the Northern Territory

Million dollar barramundi on the loose in the Northern Territory

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Not that long ago the Northern Territory’s Million Dollar Fish competition was scheduled for the start of October, but rumours suggested the chosen ones, barramundi, had been tagged and released across fishing locations in the Top End. One of those “barra” carried a lofty $1 million prize tag.

The question had to be asked: what if we landed the big one before the contest even began? Even just hauling in one of the other 75 with $10,000 prize tags could well and truly have been a fishy case of the one that got away.

Million reasons to head to Darwin

“Well …” our rough and ready guide Carl, from Darwin Barra & Crab, said with a cheeky grin, “we’ll either eat it or tether him over there where it’s hidden”.

It wasn’t to be, unfortunately, and certainly only a rumour the “big one” was already out there. The good news is the Million Dollar Fish comp is back for a bumper fourth season, and with the odds better than ever, it's time to plan your next trip to the unmissable Top End.

Not only is it a chance to return home a millionaire, but you’re also guaranteed some serious adventure while exploring Darwin and surrounds in the low season.

Five of the best

Five barramundis worth a cool one million dollars are now loose in the Territory's fast-moving waters, alongside 100 fish worth $10,000 each, and 20 new charity fish worth $5,000 with half to go to the lucky angler and half to one of three Territory-based charities.

And it's not just a prize fish you'll be reeling in. The competition runs across some of the Top End's most breathtaking fishing destinations from the picturesque landscape of Corroboree Billabong in the Mary River region to the pristine waters of Coburg in the remote wilderness of Arnhem Land. Two $10,000 fish have already been caught and claimed in Kakadu's Yellow Water Billabong, which is proving to be a season four hot spot.

'Haydos' says it's the best in the world

According to Million Dollar Fish Ambassador and cricketing legend Matthew Hayden, Million Dollar Fish is the best fishing competition in the world, in the world's best fishing location.

“It's the people's fishing competition. The Top End's peak barra fishing season is always spectacular and I think everyone should experience the thrill and adventure of hooking an iconic NT barra,” he said.

Mr Hayden said that once the first Million Dollar Fish was caught, the remaining four would revert to $10,000 bounties.

“And, if the Million Dollar fish hasn't been caught by the end of March, the season will be extended until 30 September 2019 for the major prize only,” he said. “All 125 tagged barramundi have been released in Top End waters around Kakadu, the Tiwi Islands, Katherine, Darwin and Arnhem Land and it's anyone's guess where the million-dollar fish is swimming.”

Booming with barramundi

The Top End is home to Australia's largest barramundi population, so whether you're an amateur angler, a seasoned fisho, or simply lured in by the promise of bagging $1 million on your next holiday in the Territory, there's a chance you could be heading home with a sizeable souvenir!

The competition is free to enter, and participants must register online at to be eligible for cash and sponsor prizes.

Scott Podmore

Scott Podmore

Award-winning writer, editor, photographer, videographer and owner of October Grey Media. Specialising in travel and lifestyle content and a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. Has contributed regular content for the NewsCorp stable of newspapers and magazines, TravelTalk mag, The Departure Lounge and many more publications in Australia and internationally. Follow on Twitter & instragram #scottpodmore

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