The prize for winning Fish O’ Mania, one of the UK’s biggest angling competitions, is set to increase for the first time ever, with money for topping next year’s event due to reach a huge £30,000.
In a further move Angling Times can also reveal that the event will now feature a one-off, 300-peg ‘super-qualifier’ match, with fees for entry also increasing to £25 per match.
The changes have been introduced by competition owners Matchroom Sport in conjunction with organisers the Angling Trust, with the new prize fund taking effect in the prestigious final at Cudmore Fishery on July 16. But it’s Doncaster’s Lindholme Lakes which will play host to the 300-pegger, with what will be one of the biggest individual matches ever seen in the UK, designed to give more anglers the chance to qualifying for the final that will be shown live on Sky Sports.
The revised £30,000 figure raises the prize fund for the event above that of the £25,000 Parkdean Masters competition held at White Acres, with some anglers speculating that the increase could be a response to the new ‘Match This’ event being organised by Maver UK next year with a guaranteed £50,000 winning prize.
Former Fish O’ champion Matt Hall thinks that the prize increase has been long overdue, although he isn’t convinced that £30,000 is enough.
“I don’t mean this to sound greedy, but it needs to be an impressive amount to keep it as the No1 fishing competition in the UK, and £30,000 isn’t that impressive today,” said Matt. “I’d like to see it nearer £40,000 or £50,000.
I actually think a 300-pegger will shorten everyone’s chances. With every peg being fished on most lakes it will just make the fliers even better. If it ain’t broke why fix it?” Former champion Steve Ringer was also sceptical about the revised format.
“It’s nice t0 have a bigger sum but winning the final live on Sky is more life-changing than the money. If you’re going to put a 300 pegger on why not have it on a river or canal so everybody has a chance from their draw?” said Steve.
Unfortunately nobody from Matchroom Sport was available for comment, although an official release is expected soon. Several sources at the Angling Trust however have confirmed the changes, included event manager Mick Turner.
“The prize is going up to £30,000 and the entry will also increase to £25. A few qualifier dates are still to be finalised and the Lindholme heat always proves popular as it’s last gasp saloon before the final,” he said.
“Last year we had over 360 applicants for this qualifier ¬ it’s at one of the few venues in the country with both the peg numbers and the infrastructure to accommodate 300 anglers,” he added.