Two lucky Top End residents have each reeled in a $10,000 prize-tagged barramundi, just four days into Tourism NT’s iconic five-month Million Dollar Fish campaign, Season Two.
Kicking off with a splash, the competition has seen NT residents Kelli Carroll and George Voukolos catch this season’s first two prize-winning barramundi within 24 hours of each other.
The fish are among the 101 prize-tagged barramundi released in Top End waters on October 1 for the campaign. While one of these fish is worth $1 million, 100 of them carry a $10,000 prize tag – leaving 99 prize barramundi still at large.
The first to hook a winner, Ms Carroll, 44, says she was stunned and never expected to reel in a prize barramundi at East Arm, just 20 minutes outside Darwin.
“It was just a fluke! I was out fishing with a friend and I didn’t even notice the tag at first,” tells Palmerston-based mum-of-two. “I’m looking forward to telling my husband – he will be proud as punch.”
“To be the first female to ever catch one of the tagged fish is amazing. I feel so privileged.”
Meanwhile, Darwin-based Mr Voukolos, 53, who caught his winning barramundi at the Daly River Crossing was just saved from missing out on his prize.
“I was just out at one of my regular fishing spots and didn’t even see the tag. I was about to throw the fish back!”
The second season of Million Dollar Fish, which ends on February 28, 2017, builds on the success of Season One, where 10 prize-tagged barramundi worth $10,000 each were caught in Darwin Harbour, Daly River, Corroborree Billabong and Bynoe Harbour.
The first season attracted more than 43,000 registrations from 62 countries, including 25,800 people from interstate and 14,600 Territorians.
The Northern Territory’s Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss, congratulated Ms Carroll and Mr Voukolos on their win and said: “The Million Dollar Fish challenge makes now the perfect time to book that must-do trip to the tropical Top End – where you can soak up our five star sunsets, and experience our outdoor adventure, unique wildlife and multicultural cuisine.
“We know that fishing in the Territory is an unrivalled experience, and the chance to catch an iconic NT barramundi worth $1 million is the icing on the cake. With 99 prize-tagged barramundi still in Northern Territory waters, I encourage competitors to fish far and wide this season and visit one of our many spectacular regions.”
CrownBet CEO Mr Mathew Tripp was ecstatic to see not one, but two fish caught so early.
“What a start to Season Two of the Million Dollar Fish,” Tripp said.
“We’re delighted to partner with Tourism NT and the NT Government to present this innovative competition, and we’re thrilled for Kelli and George to have landed $10,000 each.”
Million Dollar Fish Prize Pool
In addition to the prize-tagged barramundi, registrants for Season Two are also in the draw to win $96,000 worth of prizes, including five HelloWorld holidays to five different regions in the Northern Territory flying Qantas, a Jayco Camper Trailer worth $30,000, Engel fridges, Shimano and BCF Fishing Tackle, JMGilles Classic Lures, Accor Hotels for Le Club points, Qantas flights, XXXX GOLD cartons and a fishing charter. All sponsor prizes are being drawn monthly up until February 2017.
There are a number of destinations throughout the Territory’s Top End that offer anglers a chance to hook a prize-winning barramundi, including the Darwin area, renowned for its unspoiled coastlines and easy access to blue water fishing.
Only 80 kilometres north of Darwin are Bathurst and Melville islands, known as the Tiwi Islands, where estuary and blue water fishing are popular options.
The remote regions of Arnhem Land and Kakadu to the east provide a variety of first-class fishing opportunities with scenic inland billabongs, mangrove-lined estuaries and pristine shoreline.
Further south, Katherine is a great base for some of the Territory’s best fishing areas, like the picturesque Victoria River region to the west, the Daly River to the north-west and the Roper River and Borroloola region to the south-east.
For more information, or to register, visit http://www.milliondollarfish.com.au