THE demand for places to take part in the sport’s big-money matches scaled new heights this week, with Fish O’Mania tickets selling out in under 36 hours!
As match fishing emerged from lockdown for the third time, all 2,130 places to fish in the qualifying matches for the sport’s Blue Riband event were snapped up in less than two days, and numerous qualifiers for other major contests such as Maver Match This and RiverFest are already sold out too.
The clamour for tickets, which is a shot in the arm for an industry that’s been hamstrung over the past year by Covid restrictions, took organisers somewhat by surprise. Speaking to Angling Times about the Fish O’ sell-out, Andre Grandjean, chairman of the Angling Trust’s Coarse Competitions Committee, said:
“It’s incredible, something that I didn’t see coming. Usually there are odd tickets for some qualifiers available just before the event, but this year people went mad for it!”
For the 2021 event, the Fish O’ ticketing system changed to a ‘first come, first served basis’, and it’s thought that this has contributed to the rush – but reigning champion Andy Bennett reckons other factors are at work.
“Lockdown has played a major part in it,” he told us.
“People have been sat at home, fed up and wanting something to look forward to. I think lots of them have realised that Fish O’Mania is something they could potentially win, and so they’re thinking, why not have a go?
“Added to that is the fact that many people aren’t going abroad this summer, which frees up time in everyone’s busy lives.”