Million Dollar Fish 2018

The NT's famous Daly River will be one of the locations where $10,000 MDF barra will be released in 2018

The NT’s famous Daly River is one of the locations where $10,000 MDF barra will be released in 2018

Who said 13 was an unlucky number!

That’s how many $10,000 tagged barramundi were caught in the NT’s annual Million Dollar Fish Season 3, during the open fishing period from October 2017 to February 2018.

Darwin fisho John Rorvik landed his 58cm red-tagged barra landbased fishing off rocks near the Deckchair Cinema.

With the all-important verification photos and emails sent, John gave the fish to a friend to eat.

Million Dollar Fish is a tourism initiative to lure visitors to the Territory during the wet season.

In Season 3 of the MDF competition, 101 barramundi were tagged and released across the Territory with 100 carrying $10,000 cash prize tags, and a $1m fish.

That means there were still 87 x $10,000 barras lurking when the season ended, minus whatever fish fell to natural attrition.

Other prizes in Season 3 included a $14,000 Cobourg Fishing Safari Holiday package with flights, transfers and accommodation, and two $1000 BCF gift cards drawn.

MDF Season 1 saw 10 of the tagged barramundi worth $10,000 each caught.

MDF Season 2 saw 8 x $10,000 barra.

MDF Season 3 saw 13.

Season 4 kicks off in October. How many will be caught?

Top End rivers in flood

The Daly River near the late January 2018 flood peak. Picture: NT Police.

The Daly River near the January 31, 2018, flood peak. Picture: NT Police

The year 2018 brought a major wet season to the Top End, with catchments in late January formed into the typical inland sea that marks a great run-off fishing year.

The Moyle, Finniss, Adelaide, Daly, Mary and Kakadu’s rivers are all well flooded and likely to turn on superb run-off fishing when it settles down.

As I write the famous Daly is at 14.5m and looking to hit 14.8 on January 31, already well over the major flood level.

What’s needed after the big flood is consistent follow-up rain to keep rivers high for a few weeks so nature’s super-cycle really gets going.

There was good rain in December, but quite a break in early January.

Consistent high levels tend to bring the best barramundi fishing, and also the best recruitment of young fish.

On the east side of the Top End, the McArthur River got a good burst, albeit short.

The Roper could again use more. It has missed out a really good soak in recent years.

Cape York has also missed the best of it, the Top End has the star role this year, although WA’s Kimberley rivers have had good falls.

With the Million Dollar Fish promotion running through February, and flooding in place, the NT is the place for barra fishos to be in 2018.

Saltwater intrusion and barramundi fishing

The NT's The Chambers Bay coast ... saltwater intrusion has already changed huge areas of freshwater wetlands for several kilometres inland

The Chambers Bay coast … saltwater intrusion has changed huge areas of freshwater wetland

Rising sea levels and saltwater intrusion into Territory wetlands is an important issue for barramundi fishing because it changes the landscape of famous fishing areas.

The change has been happening quite quickly. Perhaps the best known area for change is the Mary River system around Sampan and Tommycut Creeks.

The attached document (link below) illustrates how things have changed.

With the sea level rising faster than ever, the map will look very different again in 100 years, with famous freshwater holes like Corroboree likely to be inundated by seawater to become tidal waterways.

Take a few minutes to read the document to see what has happened at Kakadu and other NT waterways in the past 100 years. Even the past 50 years have seen significant change.

Saltwater intrusion document

NT barramundi fishing spots

A barramundi fishing spot near Darwin, from the North Australian FISH FINDER book

A barramundi fishing spot near Darwin, from the North Australian FISH FINDER book

Ten of the NT’s $10,000 tagged barra have been caught, out of 101 fish, since Million Dollar Fish Season 3 kicked off in October 2017.

That’s 10 tags taken in a little over a month! A superb recapture rate.

The fish have come from far and wide, including landbased captures, but mostly from the NT’s best-known barramundi fishing spots, such as the Daly River, Mary River and Darwin Harbour.

Well-known local fishos have caught some of the fish, showing that a little knowledge goes a long way. You have to know the spots, and when to fish them.

There’s still up to 91 fish out there, including the $1m fish itself.

Where to find them? More of that in a second.

What is less well known about the Territory’s annual Million Dollar Fish promotion is that there are many prizes other than cash for the red tags, such as the superb Cam Outlander quad bike below.

Just register for the event and follow any instructions for a chance to win. MDF runs until the end of February.

It’s all here …

And the best barramundi fishing spots in the NT are in the FISH FINDER TM book here …

A Cam Outlander ... one of the prizes in the NT's Million Dollar Fish Season 3

A Cam Outlander … one of the prizes in the NT’s Million Dollar Fish Season 3

Million Dollar Fish Season 3 starts October

Million Dollar Fish Season 3

Million Dollar Fish Season 3

The NT’s Million Dollar Fish Season 3 starts October 1 … 100 x $10,000 tagged barra, and $1 million dollar fish!

The fish are released in waterways across the NT.

All the best barramundi spots are in the 2017/18 North Australian FISH FINDER … … along with our famous NT Fishing GPS Data Card.

Join the local (NT) discussion here …

Good luck!

Get the Barra Bible … and more

Barramundi Fishing Pack

Barramundi Fishing Pack

Along with a potential record wet season for the Top End, the best since 2011, the year 2017 has brought us the latest edition of the great North Australian FISH FINDER book. This book started in the NT and is still the undisputed Barra Bible for fishing remote northern Australia, especially around Darwin.

It is a must if you are chasing the Territory’s Million Dollar Fish, which was 100 x $10,000 tagged barra in 2017/18. This great promo is likely to run again in 2018/19.

As well as revealing where the best reefs, rockbars, wrecks and ramps are, this huge book of fishing maps and data gives readers chances to win Lowrance HDS9 units, Berkley portable outboards, and more.

Get a copy at if you want to take advantage of the various barra pack deals, or grab a copy at your local newsagent or tackle store.