Aussie teen lands $1m fish bonus with big barramundi

Keegan Payne, a 19-year-old from the regional town of Katherine in the Northern Territory, struck gold during a recent fishing trip when he caught a $1 million barramundi in the …

Keegan Payne, a 19-year-old from the regional town of Katherine in the Northern Territory, struck gold during a recent fishing trip when he caught a $1 million barramundi in the annual Million Dollar Fish contest.

Keegan was fishing on the Katherine River with his sister and friends when he reeled in a decent size barramundi, a common sports fish for the region.

“We weren’t actually expecting a tagged barra at the time, until my little sister actually asked what it was in the fish,” Mr Payne told reporters.

“We were freakin’ out. We nearly crashed the boat getting back to the boat ramp.”

His 11-year-old sister, Addyson Payne, was onboard for the trip and was first to spot the coloured tag marking it out as the $1m fish in popular competition run by a sports betting compamy for several years.

“We were sitting down and my brother’s rod tipped,” she said.

“He thought it was a catfish – but it was a barra.

“And they didn’t see the tag, but I did, and I said; ‘what’s that sticking out of it?’

“And Keegan turned it around, and was like: ‘No way, no way’.

“He was jumping around, screaming.”

Keegan Payne barra
Keegan Payne with the $1m barramundi

While $10,000 bonus fish that are a feature of the Sportsbet competition had been caught before, no one had managed the $1m fish until now.

This windfall not only secured Keegan’s position as Australia’s newest millionaire but also brought pride and relief to his extensive family. Originating from Katherine and with ties to Kakadu, Keegan expressed appreciation for the newfound financial stability, underscoring the impact the prize would have on his family’s welfare. Plans for travel and investments were swiftly underway as Keegan anticipated buying a new boat and possibly a car.

The win followed a difficult period for the family in whicj one of Keegan’s brothers was killed in a caravan crash near Katherine in 2020.

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Eleonore Welch

Every time I visit your website, I’m greeted with thought-provoking content and impeccable writing. You truly have a gift for articulating complex ideas in a clear and engaging manner.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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