ANGLERS in Victoria can reel in a cash prize of up to $10,000 thanks to a new competition aimed at luring recreational fishers back to the state's bushfire affected areas.
The Victorian Government is running a 12-month tag-recapture Golden Tag competition, to encourage anglers to return to East Gippsland and North East Victoria regions.
Recreational fishing in Gippsland and the north east is worth more than $600 million annually, supports over 3800 jobs and is a major contributor to regional communities that depend on tourism.
These communities have been doing it tough through January with visitor numbers down substantially during what is normally their busiest time of the year due to the summer's devastating bushfires.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) will manage the competition, which kicked off on March 1.
The first 10 tagged fish caught by anglers will earn the lucky person $10,000, with tagged fish beyond the first 10 to be awarded a $2000 cash prize.
Tagged species include black bream, dusky flathead and King George whiting in East Gippsland, and in the north east, Murray cod, brown trout and rainbow trout.
The competition is expected to draw people back to towns like Mallacoota, Cann River, Bemm River, Orbost, Marlo, Lakes Entrance, Lake Tyers, Omeo, Dartmouth, Mitta Mitta, Corryong, Tallangatta and Bright.
All these places are well known for their inland and estuarine fishing, boasting terrific opportunities for shore-based and boat-based fishers of all skill levels.
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Meanwhile tfirst charity fish has been caught as part of the Northern Territory's BetEasy's Million Dollar Fish Season 5 competition, with Territorian Adam Waye reeling in the lucrative barra recently.
Worth $5000 in total, the purple tagged fish will see $2500 go to Mr Waye, with $2500 donated to Darwin Star Ball, which raises money for the Starlight Children's Foundation in the Top End.
Initially tagged at Hardies Lagoon, Mr Waye hooked onto the 74cm fish at Bridge Lagoon 20km up river in a boat with one of his good friends.
"My mate and I were pretty excited when we saw the purple tag - we knew what it was straight away.
"I've been fishing in the Territory for over five years and never thought I would reel in a tagged fish. I've never won anything in my life, I must admit it's a pretty good feeling."
Mr Waye said he and his mate were going to go halves in his portion of the prize money.
While the barra was not one of the six red-tagged $1 million fish, the Rural Area resident said it felt great to be able to support a local charity in the Northern Territory.
In Season 5 of the Million Dollar Fish competition, 121 Barramundi have been tagged and released across the Territory including 100 carrying $10,000 cash prize tags and a further 20 purple-tagged Barra.
For the first time in the competition, Season 5 has six prize-tagged Barramundi worth $1million each. Season 5 of the Million Dollar Fish competition runs until the end of March.
To be in the running to win a prized-tagged fish, register for the competition at www.milliondollarfish.com.au