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Hook, Line, and Million-Dollar Sinker: Teens land barramundi catch of a lifetime

Joseph Guenzler -

Keegan Payne, a 19-year-old from Katherine in the Northern Territory, has made history as the inaugural winner of the Northern Territory's Million Dollar Fish competition.

Payne's late-night fishing expedition along the Katherine River resulted in a significant catch—a barramundi that not only secured him a substantial fortune but also provided a hearty meal for him and his companions.

"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," Mr Keegan told the ABC.

"I can buy what I want, maybe help dad and mum out with the home loans."

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The barramundi, released into Top End waters for the ninth season of the annual fishing competition, signifies a huge milestone as the first major prize winner in the competition's history.

Organisers distribute over a hundred red-tagged fish across various waterways in Darwin, Katherine, Arnhem Land, Kakadu, and the Tiwi Islands annually.

Among these, some hold the grand prize of $1million, while others offer rewards of $10,000.

"Keegan has been over the moon with this new opportunity to change his life!" million_dollar_fish said on Instagram.

"He has also chosen Cancer Council NT to be the receivers of a $10,000 donation through our charity partner program."

In season nine, eight anglers have collectively shared $80,000 by catching $10,000 fish.

Since its inception in 2015, the competition has injected over $70 million into the NT economy and attracted over 10,000 visitors to the Top End from around the world, providing a substantial boost to tourism and local businesses.

Furthermore, charities have reaped benefits through sponsor Sportsbet, which donates $1,000 to the angler's chosen Million Dollar Fish charity partner each time a $10,000 fish is caught.

Measuring 67 centimeters, the barramundi catch has transformed Mr Payne into Australia's latest millionaire.

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