Season 9 of Australia’s richest fishing competition is heating up, with fisho James McWilliam pocketing himself $20,000 after hooking a Season 9 red-tagged barramundi. Carrying a $10,000 red tag, the fish was worth double the money as part of the popular ‘Double the Dough’ campaign, which ran over the weekend.
James, who luckily called the Million Dollar Fish number to say he caught a red-tagged barra an hour before the Double the Dough initiative finished, reeled in his lucrative 82cm catch at lunchtime on Sunday, 19 November.
A member of Defence, James was on a day fishing trip with mates in Bynoe Harbour near Crab Claw Island Resort.
“They said they’d take me out on a fishing trip as I’d just got a new posting to Sydney, and it’s always been on my bucket list to catch a barra,” he said.
“We weren’t having that much luck and two of my mates were making sandwiches when I snagged the barra. I could tell he was big and my mates coached me as I reeled it in. We didn’t see the red-tag until it was in the boat and we all went crazy. I was stoked. I’m still shaking.”
Million Dollar Fish, supported by SportsBet, sees prize-tagged barramundi released in waterways across the Darwin, Kakadu, Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land and Katherine regions. This season someone is guaranteed to win a million dollars. The season runs from 1 October 2023 until 31 March 2024.
James, who hails from Victoria, said they didn’t get back to Darwin from their day on the water until late as they decided to continue fishing, and then had to wait for the tide to rise.
“I was about to go to bed when I thought I better ring the Million Dollar Fish line. I’m so glad I did,” said James. “I didn’t realise it was Double the Dough. I’m going to share my winnings with my mates, my mum and probably buy myself a new rod and some fishing gear.”
Each time a fisho catches a $10,000 barra, they can donate an extra $1,000 to the Million Dollar Fish charity of their choice. SportsBet doubled the charity money for this fish, and James decided to give the $2,000 to Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Starlight Children’s Foundation Hospital Program Manager NT Jesse Butler said Starlight relies on community support to help the organisation deliver happiness to sick kids in the Territory.
“We’re so grateful to be involved in Million Dollar Fish again this year, and on behalf of the Darwin Star Ball Committee and Starlight Children’s Foundation we thank James McWilliam for his thoughtful donation.”
Six lucky fishos have now bagged themselves a $10,000 barra since Season 9 began on 1 October 2023. There are still 94 red-tagged $10,000 barra out there, plus the 11 sporting the big million-dollar tags.
To claim any cash from a red-tagged barra, a fisho must be registered for Million Dollar Fish. Registering is free and easy. Anyone who registers automatically goes in the monthly Lucky Prize Pool to win thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes. Register now for free at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.