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Who Can Resist the Lure of a Million Dollar NT Holiday?

February 21, 2018 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

As the clock ticks down on Season Three of the NT’s Million Dollar Fish competition, Tourism NT estimates more than 40,000 tourists and equally as many locals have been lured to the Northern Territory this year for the chance to win the million bucks.

Fishing is a way of life in the Top End. After all, the Northern Territory has the largest numbers of barramundi in the whole of Australia making recreation fishing the number one pastime in the NT, and fishing a major drawcard for recreational fishos the world over.

Capitalising on the lure of big barra fishing and popularity of the Top End as the penultimate fishing destination in Australia, Tourism NT launched their iconic Million Dollar Fish competition back in 2015 and, in October of each subsequent year, they’ve released 100 tagged barramundi worth $10,000 and one worth a whopping million dollars into Top End waterways.

As Tourism NT’s General Manager of Marketing, Tony Quarmby, says: “Visitors come for the fishing and stay for the incredible natural attractions – Litchfield National Park, Arnhem Land, Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park, World Heritage-listed Kakadu and Darwin’s Harbour – on our doorstep.”

2018 marks the third season of the Million Dollar Fish competition and it’s been record-breaking.  No less than thirteen $10,000-tagged fish, worth $130,000, have been caught in Darwin Harbour, Kakadu, the Mary River National Park, Daly River and several lagoons and billabongs in the Top End.

But the Million Dollar Fish is still on the loose.

And, with just eight days left of official competition (it closes on 28 February), anglers have switched up their tactics to suit monsoonal conditions and have taken to land-based fishing spots and to fishing in and around Darwin Harbour in a last ditch effort to land the elusive Million Dollar barra.

“When it comes to fishing in the NT, there’s a fishing experience on offer for every type of angler,” said Tony Quarmby.  “Without the benefit of local knowledge, by far and away one of the best options for visitors to catch a tagged fish is by booking a fishing expedition with a local fishing operator.”

“With just days left, I urge everyone to register for the competition at www.milliondollarfish.com.au – registration is free so if you have no luck catching a prize-tagged fish there is still time to win one of the other incredible sponsor prizes still on offer,” he said.  “And who knows, you might just be lucky enough to land the Million Dollar Fish.”

For those keen to win a million bucks in the closing days of competition, Tourism NT has released seven sweet spots to bag a barra.

Darwin Harbour: Home to hundreds of species of fish, Darwin Harbour is the ideal place to fish for red-tagged barra. Try the estuaries and mangroves surrounding the Harbour or the tidal creeks at Blessers and Sandgroves.

Corroboree Billabong: Just over an hour’s drive from Darwin, the Corroboree Billabong consistently rates as a great spot to fish. This scenic billabong is lined with water lillies and pandanus and, in addition to the fishing, you’re guaranteed to spot a wide range of water birds, sea eagles and wild water buffalo.

Tiwi Islands: A thirty minute hop from Darwin by local plane, the Tiwi Islands is a remote tropical paradise and home to some of the best barra fishing you’ll find in the Territory.

Daly River: When it comes to fishing for a million bucks, the Daly River is a hot-spot for barramundi. In fact, eight winning barra each tagged with $10,000 have been caught here since the Million Dollar Fish competition began, so your chances are good.  Situated around 250kms from Darwin and 260kms from Katherine, the Daly River and surrounding region is picturesque and is also home to The Barra Classic and Barra Nationals Fishing competitions. Fishos can stay at the Daly River Barra Resort and head out with several fishing tour operators in the region.

Arnhem Land: This unspoiled and remote section of the NT is steeped in Aboriginal culture and Dreamtime legends. It’s also home to plentiful barramundi in the tidal rivers, mangrove-lined estuaries and coastal waters.  Visitors can stay in one of the 12 luxury safari tents at the Arnhem Land Barramundi Nature Lodge, which runs the only fishing tour operation in the region. In addition to barra, fishos will encounter threadfin and blue salmon, mangrove jack and black jewfish in the pristine waters.

Kakadu National Park: This World Heritage-listed National Park is teeming with native flora and fauna, cultural heritage and is also home to some excellent barramundi hot spots including Yellow Water Billabong and the floodplains of the South Alligator River. If you’re chasing the Million Dollar barra in these waters, you’ll need to fish with a licensed operator

Lake Manton: Manton Dam Recreation Area is just 70km south of Darwin and home to some excellent barramundi and saratoga fishing.  Barramundi fingerlings are dropped annually into the dam to keep supply levels high for recreational fishing. In season three of Million Dollar Fish, one lucky local hooked a $10,000 barra at Lake Manton but didn’t realise until he was filleting the fish at home!

For information on NT fishing regulations and best practice catch and release methods download the free Northern Territory (NT) Fishing Mate app on your smart phone and always remember to #BeCrocwise when fishing. To plan your NT holiday, visit northernterritory.com.

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