Catching ‘the big one’ is one of those dreams that every keen angler holds dear - and Australia’s Northern Territory government has just added a whole new definition to ‘big’.
The Million Dollar Fish competition, launched yesterday, will see 76 barramundi tagged and released in fishing locations across the Northern Territory. 75 of the fish will have $10,000 cash prize tags, while one of them will carry the coveted $1 million tag. Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Adam Giles said, “The Northern Territory has some of the best fishing in the world and the chance to catch the iconic Territory barramundi is one of fishing’s greatest challenges. Now that challenge comes with the potential of a one million dollar reward. About 40,000 interstate visitors come to the Top End for fishing every year but we want to encourage even more people to stay, play and fish.”
The barramundi in question are one of Australia’s most prized species for anglers: they’re difficult to catch, usually residing in snag filled rivers, and put up a spirited fight when hooked. As for where to find them, the Northern Territory is rife with prime fishing spots. Mate of the Territory and cricket legend Matthew Hayden said, “As a Mate of the Territory, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a range of fishing experiences in the NT. From Bluewater fishing out of Darwin and the Tiwi Islands, to Billabong fishing at Kakadu, tropical sport fishing in East Arnhem Land and river fishing in Katherine - there’s something for everyone. I think Million Dollar Fish will be a huge hit and I can’t wait to see if someone lands the big one.”
The Daly River is one of the most popular spots for barramundi fishing in the Territory. Located to the west of Darwin, a little past Litchfield National Park, this river is a local legend when it comes to the creatures that lurk in its depths. It’s no short trip from Darwin to Daly, clocking in at around 3 and a half hours, and while you could do a day trip if you left very early in the morning, if you’re serious about snagging those elusive barramundi there’s no better choice than staying in the Daly River area for a couple of days at least. You can pick up a Darwin campervan rental and head west, allowing you eschew worries like setting up camp and just focus on catching that fish with the million dollar price on its head.
It’s not hard to find campervan friendly campgrounds in the area, although booking both your campervan and campsite well ahead of time is a good idea - local anglers know all about this fishing paradise, and with the Million Dollar Fish competition kicking off on the 1st of October it looks like this isolated stretch of water might be getting a few out of town visitors too in the near future. Also, this is a remote area and while the road from Darwin right up to the Daly River Crossing was sealed by 2007, it might pay to talk to your campervan rental supplier about your plans to make sure that you’ve got the right vehicle to get you where you’re going.
If hauling fat barramundi out of the Daly River has you eager to spend a more time in the great outdoors, Litchfield National Park is just to the east. With gorgeous bushwalks and sparkling swimming holes, this is the perfect place to unwind after your angling efforts. Wangi Falls is the spot you want if you’re bringing the campervan into Litchfield, but there’s several other commercial campgrounds just outside the park if you need a few more options.
It won’t be long before word of the million dollar fish spreads internationally, so start planning your trip today to make sure you don’t miss out. The competition runs from the 1st of October 2015 to the 29th of February 2016 - register online to be eligible to win.
If Darwin isn't where you fancy hiring a campervan, hire another elsewhere and head up to the Northern Territory and have a go at catching the big one. Other popular Australian locations include Melbourne, Tasmania and Sydney.