Record applications for 2014 Fish O'Mania qualifiers

The popularity of Fish O’Mania has once again been highlighted after organisers revealed that a record number of entries have been received for this year’s tournament.

Match anglers across the country have been clamouring for tickets to take part in the 16 qualifiers and bosses at the Angling Trust and Matchroom Sport have now published statistics that show more applications than ever before were made for the 2014 event.

Just short of 5,700 bids were made for 2,450 places, with Makins Fishery, Tunnel Barn Farm and Larford Lakes among the most popular choices.

The winner of each heat will go into the big final – which is expected to be once again held at Staffordshire’s Cudmore Fisheries on July 12 - where the overall champion will be handed £30,000 and the prestigious trophy.

Trust Competitions and Events Manager Sandra Drew is unsurprised at its meteoric rise and she told Angling Times: “It was apparent from day one of the application period that all the qualifying venues were going to be heavily oversubscribed.

“There were more places available this year but, yet again, demand has drastically exceeded what was available.

“It is widely considered as the FA Cup of fishing and anglers travel from all over the country to enjoy the prestige of taking part in this magnificent event. We are all looking forward to qualifying getting underway and seeing who makes it to the final,” she added.

Current champion Jamie Hughes is set to launch the defence of his title in the coming weeks and believes that the news highlights the importance of the tournament. He said: “Everybody wants to be involved and thousands of anglers plan their season around this competition. It takes priority over everything else and I can only see it going from strength to strength in the coming years.”