In what is almost certainly Australia’s biggest catch of the day, Northern Territory resident Liam Hale has reeled in a Northern Territory barra worth $10,000.
The $10,000 prize-tagged fish, released into Top End waters prior to the October 1 launch of Tourism NT’s Million Dollar Fish campaign, was caught in Darwin Harbour while Liam was on a fishing trip with his 10-year-old son Kai.
Liam says he heard about the Million Dollar Fish campaign in the media and registered on www.milliondollarfish.com.au to take part in the competition.
“We can’t believe we caught one of the tagged fish, it still hasn’t sunk in. We always go out fishing as a family and thought we’d try our luck.”
Liam called his partner Sharna as soon as he saw the red Million Dollar fish tag on the 56cm NT barra, with Sharna calling the Million Dollar Fish hotline and sending through the verification details and photos.
And it seems a bad haircut might be the secret behind their success.
“Kai begged to have the day off school because he said I gave him a bad haircut so Liam took him fishing instead, and look what happened! We’re so excited, we can’t believe it,” said Sharna.
While Liam’s catch was not the prized million dollar fish, he is still stunned by the windfall and planning to make the best use of the money by throwing a big bash for his 40th birthday next year.
“It’s fantastic to see one of the $10,000 prizes go off and I’d like to offer my congratulations to Liam and his family,” said Chief Minister Adam Giles.
“The Million Dollar Fish competition is a great new campaign that will help lure more visitors to the Territory in our off-peak tourism season, which coincides with one of the best times to fish for barramundi.”
In even more good news for fishos, CrownBet has announced it will release another $10,000 prize tagged barra into NT waters later next week. CrownBet CEO, Matt Tripp, said: “In the spirit of the competition, we felt it was the right way to celebrate such a remarkable achievement. If our first winner can catch a $10,000 fish within the first three weeks of Million Dollar Fish, we expect Australia’s best fishos to reel in many more over the rest of the season.”
While Liam is employed as a baggage ground handler for Million Dollar Fish competition sponsor Qantas, he will be awarded the $10,000 prize in full after major sponsors, Crownbet, deemed he had no advantage in the competition.
With 75 $10,000 barras and the prized million dollar fish yet to be caught, there’s still time to register on www.milliondollarfish.com.au and head to the NT to wet a line for a chance to win.
Million Dollar Fish campaign ambassador and Mate of the Territory Matthew Hayden said: “The million dollar barra is still out there in Top End waters, so now is the perfect time to head to the NT to stay, play and fish. Fishing in the Top End is like nothing else; just being immersed in nature and the big skies over the outback – it’s a unique holiday I think all Aussies should experience.”
Matt Hayden’s top five tips for landing the Million Dollar Fish:
- During the build-up season in October, hit the inland waterways and billabongs for freshwater barra as they warm up there ahead of monsoon season
- When monsoon lands around January, places like Darwin Harbour are barra hotspots where you’ll find them hiding amongst the mangrove creeks and estuaries
- Take a few weedless lures on your trip as some parts of estuaries are full of roots and hidden obstacles which can make your day not about fishing, but retrieving expensive lures
- Switch to noisy surface poppers or troll along a moonlit patch of lilies to attract the barra to the surface
- Engage a local ‘fisho’ to take you out because not only can they provide all the fishing equipment you need, they hold all of the local knowledge about where the best places to fish are!
To find out more and to be in with a chance of winning, register online at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.