Bundaberg father of five hooks $10,000 barramundi
A FATHER of five from Bundaberg has become the fourth $10,000 winner in the NT Government's Million Dollar Fish competition.
Rob Barrett reeled in an 82 centimetre prize-tagged barramundi at the Corroboree Billabong on Saturday night, just 24 hours after the third competition fish was caught at Daly River.
"To have two $10,000 barra caught in two days is absolutely incredible," said Tourism NT CEO, Tony Mayell.
"A big congratulations to Rob on becoming our fourth $10,000 winner and catching yet another tagged barra in the Million Dollar Fish competition.
"The competition is really starting to heat up just one month in and Rob's catch should encourage everyone to get out on the water and tell your family and friends interstate and overseas to get up here to the Northern Territory, wet a line and become a winner.
"There's still time to register on www.milliondollarfish.com.au and spend your summer up here in the Top End chasing the remaining 72 $10,000 barras and of course the big one - the $1 Million fish."
An avid fisherman, Mr Barrett registered for the Million Dollar Fish competition online before relocating to Darwin from Bundaberg in Queensland with his family two months ago.
Saturday night was the first time he'd ever been to popular Top End fishing spot, Corroboree Billabong and the first time he'd set eyes on another Territory icon, the saltwater crocodile.
"There was a crocodile nearby just as I hooked the barra on the line and luckily I got the barra before him," said Mr Barrett.
"It was getting dark and there was algae on the tag so I didn't see it straight away but when I did I couldn't believe it. It was a bit of a nervous wait to find out if it was the one million or $10,000 so I didn't get much sleep."
With no phone reception, Mr Barrett put the tagged fish on ice and did what any normal fisho would do, headed to the nearest pub for a celebratory drink.
"It was pretty funny, we walked into the Corroboree Park Tavern for a beer but because I hadn't rung the hotline yet I couldn't say anything to anyone. So we sat there and had a quiet beer and no one knew that one of the tagged fish was sitting just outside in an esky in my boat the whole time."
A talented fisherman who has won fishing competitions around Australia, Mr Barrett's partner, Tanya Jessop, wasn't surprised to hear he'd landed one of the Million Dollar Fish.
"I told him he'd win one and all his mates said if anyone was going to get one of the fish it would be Rob. But I didn't believe him until he got home and I saw it sitting in the esky," she said.
Mr Barrett said the $10,000 would go towards relocation costs and help the family settle into Darwin but he might find some room to include a new electric motor for his boat.
Matt Tripp, CEO of competition major sponsors CrownBet, said fisho's were making CrownBet a little nervous as he congratulated the fourth $10,000 prize Barra winner and second in two days.
"CrownBet just keeps paying out and another smart fisho has bagged a well-deserved $10,000 cash prize.
CrownBet released prize fish all over the Top End, and it's fair to say the fishos are making us a little nervous that we'll payout a packet and possibly even the $1,000,000," he said.
"These fisho's are reeling in the cash fish faster than we thought and it looks like we will payout more prizes before Christmas."
To date more than 35,000 people have registered for the competition.
The Million Dollar Fish initiative is part of the NT Government's plan to boost visitor numbers to the Top End and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020.
The competition runs from 1 October 2015 - 29 February 2016.
Participants must register online at www.milliondollarfish.com.au.