BIG MATCHES THAT GIVE ME THE BLUES
IF YOU are reading this, then like me, the likelihood is you love going fishing! More so match fishing. I don’t really mind how many are in a competition, but I do like to push myself by fishing against the best anglers.
Because of this I very much enjoy travelling and competing in the best competitions. But when April and May hit I nearly always find myself disappointed. Why? Well the main reason is that I can see some great competition taking place, yet I can’t be part of it!
I am of course talking about Fish’O’Mania. Fish’O’Mania is held in high regard by most anglers around the country, but unlike any other top sporting competition it is possible to not even be part of it.
Take the recent qualifier at Larford Lakes. A great venue that can hold the 130 anglers required to take a qualifier, the fishing is likely to be competitive, and as a result every one of the 130 pegs are taken. The of course there is at least another 130 again on the waiting list! I was one of the unlucky 130 this year, so even though I was delighted to see my good friend Andy Geldart win the qualifier and make his way into the final, I have not even had a chance to fish against him!
This doesn’t make sense to me. If we have so many anglers wanting to fish the matches, all prepared to pay there £25 ticket money, then surely as a competition, a business, a sport, we are turning down investment to grow and expand the competition!
Is there a solution to this? Well why not have a qualifier Sat and Sun for example? The winner of each qualifier goes through to a free semi-final. Highlights shown on Sky Sports, the top 16 in the match advancing to the Fish’O’Mania final. With double the amount of investment, something along these lines must be possible, and would possibly give rise to a 2nd and 3rd prize in the final itself.
This is just one idea of course; maybe qualifying rounds throughout the country could take place with section winners invited to say four matches, where the top 4 in each match qualify for the final.
Critics of my comments would say ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’. But I would argue that more anglers on the bank can only be a good thing for angling, rather than giving B&Q their money and painting the fence at home!
I know many people often feel deflated after the draw for qualifiers, and also the fact that the many anglers on a venue often leads to a very peggy result, with the rest of the field feeling disheartened.
This blog certainly isn’t a case of sour grapes; I managed 3 tickets this year, opting to send one back to take place in the two day Sensas Festival in France instead.
With my tickets I have taken part in one match so far, barely getting a bite on an overcrowded lake, I have also taken part in two Maver Match This qualifiers that follow a similar system. First time around drawing badly, then drawing a fantastic peg and winning the match to qualify for the final. So I am certainly not bitter because this system of big matches has worked out for me this year.
The difference with Maver Match This, at the moment, is that if you are organised, you can get on every qualifying match. If the tickets were heavily oversubscribed like Fish’O’Mania, you can guarantee that Phil Briscoe would react, and make sure the competition grew to suit.
My last Fish’O’Mania ticket this year is the Oaks Fishery. This will be a good qualifier, but as usual one lake, or even one peg, will stand out, giving the rest of us hopefuls no chance.
I have noticed that the organisers did react somewhat this year by growing those qualifiers they felt could take extra pegs. Pleased to see there was a reaction to the growing interest in the competition, but more anglers, means more pressure on the venues, and the fishing and venues reputation could suffer. It seems to me like a quick fix, were the answer needs more careful consideration.
Having said all that I and thousands of others will continue to apply each year and Fish’O’Mania will be the country’s most participated competition for many years to come as a result, but could it be EVEN bigger and really put angling on the sporting map!
Food for thought…
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