6-Foot-Long Crocodile Tries to Steal Fisherman's $7,000 Prize-Winning Fish

A fisherman has won AU$10,000 ($7,000) after catching a prize fish that was being chased by a 6.5-foot-long crocodile.

Amateur fisherman Brian Ahrens was 30 minutes into a fishing trip off the coast of Australia's Northern Territory on Friday when he spotted a barramundi carrying a red tag. Ahrens knew the label meant catching the fish could win him $10,000 as part of the Million Dollar Fish competition held in the area each year.

Now in its sixth season, the contest running between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, sees over 120 tagged barramundi released in locations across the Northern Territory. Up to AU$2 million worth of prizes are up for grabs for those who catch the fish, including 100 fish carrying a red tag. Seven barramundi have an AU$1 million tag, with the jackpot prize going to the first person to catch one.

saltwater crocodile, getty, stock
A stock image shows a saltwater crocodile in North Queensland, Australia. Fisherman Brian Ahrens beat a saltwater crocodile to a barramundi to claim $10,000. Getty

Ahrens, from the small town of Humpty Doo, said he has been living in the Northern Territory for 13 years and almost always goes fishing at the Bridge Lagoon, where he caught the prize-winning barramundi. The fish are popular among both professional and recreational fishers as they are big, their flesh is high quality, and they are easily attracted by artificial bait.

As Ahrens tried to catch the fish, he spotted a 6.5-foot-long crocodile pursuing it. The predators, which can grow up to 10.8 feet depending on their sex, can lurk underwater for up to an hour before they spot their prey and spring into action, using their powerful tails to propel themselves in the water.

Recounting catching the fish, Ahrens said in a statement: "A croc seemed very interested in him and had a bit of a go at the fish. As I wound him in I saw the croc on the surface chasing it.

"I was so excited when I saw the red tag, but trying to land it by myself was a bit of a challenge–I was glad to eventually get it in the boat!"

The fish was 26.7 inches long, meaning it was likely around three years old, according to the Northern Territory Government. Barramundi can grow up to 39 inches long by the age of eight.

Ahrens said he would use the money to pay help off his mortgage.

Brad Fanning, external affairs manager of the SportsBet betting company, said in a statement: "Catching barramundi is a challenging task in itself, let alone when you have a croc to contend with. I think Brian Ahrens has well and truly earned his $10,000 cheque."