Fish O' Mania heading to America

AMERICA and the rest of Europe could soon be gripped by Fish O’ Mania fever if ambitious plans by its organisers go ahead.

Matchroom Sport want to screen the £30,000 final overseas after last Sunday’s Fish O’ International was shown live in Holland and they exclusively revealed to Angling Times that they may even look at holding a European qualifier for the event.

It’s more good news for the high-profile competition, which recently announced it was committed to UK screens until at least 2017 as part of an agreement between Matchroom and Sky Sports.

Last weekend Jamie Hughes produced a faultless display to win the final on Arena Lake at Staffordshire’s Cudmore Fishery, and Matchroom’s media director Luke Riches is sure the event would be a hit in the States.

“Initially it could be as a two hour highlights programme and we’re currently in talks with Fox. We already sell and distribute the bass fishing shows over there which are massive and each tournament involves hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the fishing itself it’s very basic and it’s like chalk and cheese compared to our UK match fishing,” he said.

Luke also explained that Fish O’ Mania is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, with Dutch broadcaster RTL screening six hours of last Sunday’s International two-man team event which was won by England’s Alan Scotthorne and Will Raison.

“Next year Italy and Belgium should be able to fish too, as this time it clashed with a few of their events. If there becomes sufficient interest in the competition, we may even look at possibly holding a qualifying match in France or Italy,” he said.