Top End teen reels in $1 million barra

A 19-year-old Katherine man has snagged the catch of a lifetime, reeling in the Northern Territory’s prized million-dollar barra during Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish, sponsored by Sportsbet.

Keegan Payne was on a fishing trip with one of his sisters and a friend in the early hours of Sunday morning at Katherine River when he reeled in the fish, calling the hotline at 1am.

Keegan has now won $1 million from Sportsbet as part of the competition.

“This is crazy for us, we’re a big family, there’s eight of us. This is more money than we could ever ask for. This is just great.

“It means so much. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I’m happy, really happy. I can buy what I want, maybe help dad and mum out with the home loans.”

The prized barra was released into Top End waters as part of Australia’s richest fishing competition. Each season the competition sees more than a hundred red-tagged fish released in Darwin, Katherine, Arnhem Land, Tiwi Islands and Kakadu waterways. Some are worth a million dollars while the rest are worth $10,000.

NT Major Events Company CEO Suzana Bishop said an event like this, now in it’s ninth season, is such a fantastic opportunity for locals and visitors to spend time in the great outdoors of the Territory.

“The Million Dollar barra has become one of our greatest ambassadors and we are so happy and excited for Keegan and his family,” Ms Bishop said.

“The Territory is the best place for fishos and it’s fitting that a local has reeled in the biggest catch going around – the Million Dollar Fish.

“The figures speak for themselves, with more than 60,000 registrations to be part of Season 9 of Million Dollar Fish, from all corners of the country and even overseas. We can’t wait to see what Season 10 will bring.”

As well as making someone a millionaire, Season 9 has seen eight fishos share in $10,000, so far by catching $10,000 fish, one fisho won a Double the Dough. Scores of people have also won prizes through the monthly Lucky Prize Pool draw.

Since the competition began in 2015, Sportsbet has given away $1,015,000 in prize money, generated over $70m in extra spend in the NT in 2023 and attracted more than 10,000 visitors.

Charities have also benefited, with Sportsbet paying $1,000 to the fisho’s Million Dollar Fish charity partner of choice every time a $10,000 fish is caught. Because Keegan caught a million-dollar barra, he will be able to donate $10,000 to the Cancer Council.

Season 9 will end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, 30 April, 2024. All red-tagged fish will cease to be active. Season 10 will return. Join our mailing list to find out more.


Season 9 has ended.