This weekend, one of the more unusual, but extremely popular, sporting events of the year takes place at Westwood Lakes in Boston, Lincolnshire.

That event is Fish’O’Mania, the annual angling competition that features 25 of the best anglers in the world competing against each other to win the £50,000 first prize and a chance to call themselves the Fish’O’Mania Champion!

For competitive anglers in the UK, Fish’O’Mania has become the tournament to qualify for and over the course of the first part of 2022, there have been a large number of qualifying events taking place all over the country.

25 Anglers have qualified for the event and as with the final being shown live on Sky Sports, as is usually the case, Bet365 Sport are offering a chance to bet on the winner of the tournament in their Specials betting section on the site.

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If you are new to Fish’O’Mania and would like to know a bit more about how the tournament works and its history, then read on and remember, at the end we will give you our hints and tips on the anglers to back, and perhaps most importantly, when to place your bet!

What Is Fish’O’Mania? – A Guide To Tournament Angling

Now sponsored by Cazoo and the brainchild of Matchroom owner Barry Hearn, Fish’O’Mania is arguably the jewel in the crown of match fishing across the United Kingdom.

Angling is the largest participation sport in the UK by a quite considerable margin, with millions of people taking to the lakes, rivers, streams and even the sea over the course of the year.

Many people enjoy angling purely for pleasure, but for others the chance to compete against others in a tournament is what draws them to the sport.

Competitive angling sees anglers compete against each other at a venue, usually by competing to catch the heaviest weight in fish.

Anglers usually pay an entry fee to enter the competition which varies in size depending on the size, popularity and prestige of the tournament being contested.

At the start of each tournament, each angler draws the place they will fish from, called a peg, and they then will head to the peg and begin setting up their equipment in readiness for the competition to start.

Then, at the designated start time for the event, a starter whistle or claxon is used to signal to the anglers the competition is now started, at which point they can begin fishing.

Competitions are usually run over 4-8 hours in duration and in top competitions, at various points (usually each hour) the competition officials will head around the lake and measure the weight of the fish caught in the previous hour by each competitor, record it and then release the fish back into the lake.

A claxon or whistle will be blown at the end of the competition to signify the tournament is over. A Final weigh-in is completed and the amount of weight each angler has caught is tallied up with the angler catching the heaviest weight announced as the winner.

Depending on the tournament, only the top few anglers will earn a payout from finishing in the top positions, but for larger events, more anglers in the field will land payouts.

Fish’O’Mania follows these rules and has done since the start of the event, but its £50,000 top prize makes it by far the richest event an angler can win in the UK at present.

Fish’O’Mania History, Former Champions & Prize Money

The brainchild of Barry Hearn, who realised just how popular angling was with millions of people across the UK, the first Fish’O’Mania was contested back in 1994 and it has been held every year since.

Every year, a series of 22 qualifiers is held at various venues across the United Kingdom, at which anglers pay to enter. The winner of each qualifier earns a spot at the Fish’O’Mania finals, which always take place in July.

Over the years, the field has expanded to 25 anglers which now features the 22 qualifiers, the winner of the Junior/Youth National tournament, as well as the Women’s National Champion and the defending Champion from Fish’O’Mania 2021, Harry Bignell.  

Fish’O’Mania 2022 – Rules & Prize Money

  • Match Duration – 5 hours
  • Weigh Ins – Every 30 minutes
  • Each angler is also allowed one official ‘runner’ to work with them on the bank.
  • Barbless hooks must be used.
  • Floating baits are not allowed to be fed.
  • Floating pole cannot be used.

Prize Money is distributed to the anglers as follows:

  • Winner – £50,000
  • Runner Up – £10,000
  • Section Winner – £2,000 (paid to sections that do not include winner or runner up)
  • All Remaining Qualifiers – £350 for reaching the Fish’O’Mania final.

Previous Fish’O’Mania Winners (Mens Event)

  • 1994 – Ian Turner (Worksop) – 13.15kg
  • 1995 – Andy Jennings (Wakefield) – 19.56kg
  • 1996 – Dave Pimlott (Manchester) – 6.60kg
  • 1997 – Kevin Rowles (Devizes) – 17.59kg
  • 1998 – Steve Ringer (Ravensthorpe) – 32.54kg
  • 1999 – Steve Cook (Retford) – 31.61kg
  • 2000 – Geoff Ringer (Ravensthorpe) – 19.70kg
  • 2001 – Steve Jackson (Bridgwater) – 37.61kg
  • 2002 – Nathan Watson (Louth) – 39.60kg
  • 2003 – Matt Hall (Awsworth) – 22.00kg
  • 2004 – Rob Hitchens (Rotherham) – 25.07kg
  • 2005 – Marc Jones (Wakefield) – 17.55kg
  • 2006 – Neil Machin (Stoke) – 98.69kg
  • 2007 – Clive Wright (Wolverhampton) – 51.92kg
  • 2008 – Mick Bull (Warwick) – 29.64kg
  • 2009 – Matt Hall (Awsworth) – 34.77kg (2nd victory)
  • 2010 – Neil McKinnon – 27.98kg
  • 2011 – Shane Atkin – 20.53kg
  • 2012 – Warren Martin – 30.67kg
  • 2013 – Jamie Hughes – 68.47kg
  • 2014 – Andrew Geldhard – 19.57kg
  • 2015 – Jamie Hughes – 16.60kg (2nd victory)
  • 2016 – Andy May – 27.15kg
  • 2017 – Jamie Hughes – 26.90kg (3rd victory)
  • 2018 – Pete Black – 51.35kg
  • 2019 – Andy Bennett – 52.50kg
  • 2020 – Andy Bennett – 40.10kg (2nd victory, 1st ever back-to-back winner)
  • 2021 – Harry Bignell – 85.22kg

Fish’O’Mania 2022 – Competing Anglers & Latest Odds

This year’s line-up and latest betting odds is as follows:

  • 9/2 Fav – Andy Bennett
  • 7/1 – Jamie Hughes
  • 11/1 – Adam Richards, Kristian Jones
  • 12/1 – Artur Hilmi, Andy Power
  • 14/1 – Perry Stone, James Howarth
  • 18/1 – Paul Wright
  • 20/1 – Dave Shires, Jimmy Brooks, John Alexander, Andrew Dyson
  • 22/1 – Steve Openshaw, Greg Walsby, Warren Jennings, Harry Bignell, Wayne Kearney
  • 25/1 – John Jones, Alex Hulme
  • 28/1 – Charlie Law
  • 33/1 – Danny Keenan, Sarah Taylor
  • 40/1 – Feliz Scheuermann
  • 66/1 – Andre Schipper

Fish’O’Mania 2022 – Important Betting Tips!

Now, what is the key thing to note about Fish’O’Mania betting? Well, usually you can gauge who is most likely to win by the odds and while this is true to a certain extent here, there is something that also comes very much into play.

Each venue will have areas of the lake which are the hotspots for anglers. These spots tend to be the pegs that produce the most fish in competition, or due to the weather conditions on the day, or due to the geographical features of the lake.

Therefore, the draw for the pegs on the eve of the tournament on Friday night will have a massive influence on the odds of the competing anglers.

As a result, it is heavily recommended that you hold off on placing your Fish’O’Mania winner bets until after the draw has been made, and then get on your chosen angler quickly as their odds will certainly drift in, if they have drawn one of the more favoured pegs on the lake.

However, if you want to get the best prices, then now is the time to get your bet on, and with Andy Bennett (2-time champion) and Jamie Hughes (3-times champion) the only past winners in the event alongside Harry Bignell, the defending champion, both these anglers are exceptionally talented.

Bennett won both his events at Hayfield Lakes, but Hughes is arguably the best match fisherman in the UK and he has won his tournaments in different venues which perhaps gives him an advantage.

However, I do have an insider tip here. The person who taught me the most about fishing has qualified for this event once again, 22/1 shot Steve Openshaw, and if he can get a favourable peg draw (something that he has not enjoyed in his other Fish’O’Mania appearances) then he is certainly capable of winning this event as along with Jamie Hughes, he is one of the best match fishermen in the UK at present.

The action kicks off on Saturday around mid-day, tune in on Sky Sports to see the rod-bending action unfold!