Fish O Mania organisers MatchRoom are being accused of peddling ‘sexism at its finest’ after the announcement of a Ladies Only qualifier.

The proposed 50 pegger, which is apparently supported by Sky Sports and which will tag onto the April Partridge Lakes event, will ensure that there is a female in the £50,000 qualifier for the first time.

And it’s not going down at all well on social media.

Perennial qualifier Nathan Watson echoed the views of many when he posted on Facebook: “Surely this is outrageous sexism… a ladies only qualifier of only 50 anglers to qualify for the same £50,000 final as everyone else, who has to fish qualifiers off against at least double the amount of anglers!? There is no men-only qualifier! It’s bad enough that the prize money for the ladies and kids finals is funded through the normal qualifiers!’

Other comments included:
Si Murray: ‘Wow you are right Nathan, I cant think of a similar situation in sport?’
Craid Butterfield:  ‘I’m all for more women in fishing but I don’t agree with this at all. Fisho is open to everyone. This is the opposite to equal opportunities!’
Rikki Richards: ‘Absolutely shocking. Sexism at its finest right here!’
Dan Gosling: ‘I’m having a sex change to fish them. From now on my name is Diane.’
Paul Power: ‘Totally out of order. Equality means everyone has the same opportunity as everyone else; no favours or easy route.”
Paul Brandrick: ‘Surely the AT and Matchroom aren’t that dumb?’
Sean Mooney: They’re getting preferential treatment. It’s not rocket science. Any lady who qualifies through this route will know she did not get there fairly. If they have space for another finalist, they should run another qualifier, which women can qualify from.’
Tony Watson: ‘If women were banned from the normal qualifiers then fair enough, but they aren’t and can qualify through the normal routes. Sexism gone mad.’
Elliot Fay: ‘They should run one for disabled anglers too in that case as that’s discrimination against us!! Why should a female be given a greater chance than anybody else. Also they might aswell throw in a junior angler too if that are going to start that….’

Matchroom Multi Sport COO Emily Frazer defended the move and said: “As part of our goal to encourage wider participation in angling we have introduced an all-female qualifier for the first time for 2019.
“As we have seen at the Fish‘O’Mania Ladies match there are some incredibly talented female anglers in the UK and this is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase female angling on the biggest day in the match fishing calendar.
“We hope that the dedicated female qualifying match will in turn encourage female entries to all of our qualifying matches while also growing the female presence at the Fish‘O’Mania Grand Final by having a guaranteed female angler for the first time.
“This is a great move for women’s angling across the UK and is fully supported by our broadcast partner Sky Sports, who together we will work closely with to continuously build Fish‘O’Mania and the sport of fishing.”
Gareth Purnell from commented: “While I can understand the sentiment behind this move, and it’s probably done with good will, it’s hard to get away from the conclusion that this is just pure sexism. I imagine that view is held by a majority of male and female match anglers nationwide. Women currently have just as much chance as men as qualifying and that’s surely how it needs to stay if the organisers don’t want to risk losing a great deal of good will in the sport. There is surely a need to protect the competition’s credibility by imagining what will happen should a lady angler who qualifies from a 50-pegger where men are banned wins the final.”
While some have welcomed what they regard as positive discrimination, others have pointed out that if the organisers go down this route their are bound to be calls for disabled only qualifiers and maybe junior only qualifiers as well.
Indeed some of the UK’s top lady match anglers including Wendy Lythgoe, Sam Sim, Emma Drysdale and Sarah Taylor are not in favour.
Wendy Lythgoe commented: “This whole episode takes the sport a step backwards on so many levels. To start, this is wrong. Why should there be a qualifier restricted by gender when the qualifiers to start are open to all?
“If someone is good enough on the day to qualify, they will do so and sit in that final knowing that they deserve to be there on merit, not because they won a 50 pegger open to a minority. Plus, who wants to sit there being the token female?
“I’m pretty sure that lady match anglers at the top of their game don’t approve of this. The ones that have spent years fishing opens and just want to be seen as another angler on the bank and not someone who needs special treatment. It opens up debate, which is good, but some of the the  comments I’m reading on social medai are pretty sad.”


Matchroom Multi Sport and the Angling Trust are excited to release the dates for Fish‘O’Mania XXVI qualifiers.

The £50,000 competition returns to Hayfield Lakes on Saturday, July 13 and as always will be broadcast live by Sky Sports. In 2019 there will again be 22 UK qualifying matches and for the first time there will be a qualifying match dedicated to female anglers, which will run alongside the open match at Partridge Lakes on Saturday, April 20.

Fish‘O’Mania XXVI Qualifying Matches:

Wed 13th March – Viaduct Fishery, Somerton, 120 pegs
Sat 16th March – Tunnel Barn Farm, Shrewley, 150 pegs
Sat 23rd March – Woodland View Fishery, Droitwich, 130 pegs
Sat 30th March – Moorlands Farm, Kidderminster, 120 pegs
Sat 6th April – Viaduct Fishery, Somerton, 120 pegs
Sat 13th April – Heronbrook Fisheries, Eccleshall, 150 pegs
Wed 17th April – Lindholme Lakes, Epworth, 150 pegs
Sat 20th April – Partridge Lakes, Warrington, 150 pegs plus 50 peg Women’s Qualifier
Wed 24th April – Gold Valley Lakes, Aldershot, 100 pegs
Sat 4th May – Larford Lakes, Astley, 120 pegs
Sat 11th May – Weston Pools, Oswestry 130 pegs
Wed 15th May – Heronbrook Fisheries, Eccleshall, 150 pegs
Sat 18th May – Decoy Lakes, Peterborough, 150 pegs
Wed 29th May – Makins Fishery, Nuneaton, 150 pegs
Sat 1st June – Tunnel Barn Farm, Shrewley, 150 pegs
Sat 8th June – Monk Lakes, Marden, 120 pegs
Wed 12th June – Partridge Lakes, Warrington, 180 pegs
Sat 15th June – Colemans Cottage, Witham, 120 pegs
Wed 19th June – Lake View Fishery, Melton Mowbray, 100 pegs
Sat 22nd June – The Oaks Lakes, Sessay, 130 pegs
Wed 26th June – Lindholme Lakes, Epworth, 180 pegs
Saturday 13th July – Fish’O’Mania XXVI Final – Hayfield Lakes, Doncaster.

How to Book Tickets

Tickets for the Fish’O’Mania XXVI qualifiers will again be sold via the Angling Trust Events booking website HERE. Due to the high demand the Angling Trust has introduced a process that ensures all anglers who want to fish in the competition can book at least one ticket per qualifier.

Ticket prices have once more remained the same at £25 per qualifier.

Please note: Anglers must have individual membership of the Angling Trust available on 0343 5077 006 or on our website. Anglers are also reminded they must be 16yrs and above in order to take part in the main event.

Timelines for Tickets
Round One: Friday 26th October – 12:00 noonuntil Tuesday 6thNovember 23:59. Anglers will be able to book a maximum of two tickets during this round.
Round Two: Tuesday 13th November 12:00 noon. There will be no restriction of the number of tickets anglers will be able to book.

Cancellations will be re-listed on the online booking system and sold on a first come first served basis. Any unused qualifying anglers’ tickets will go back on sale the next working day after the qualifier date.

The Angling Trust has a ‘How to Book Fish’O’Mania Tickets’ guide and a short video available HERE. The step by step video provides a detailed guide to navigate members through the booking process.

Anglers are advised to go onto to the online booking system prior to tickets going on sale to check their log in details. Forgotten passwords can be changed through the booking site very quickly, however at peak periods there can be delays, so plan ahead to make sure you can book your tickets. Any issues surrounding the online system can call us on 0115 822 4519/ 0115 822 4532.