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banner Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 10:11 GMT
Let's play: Matt Hayes' Fishing
BBC Sport Online reviewer Stefan Walters says Matt Hayes' Fishing is great if you want to stay warm and smell fresh while catching fish.

This might come as a bit of a surprise, but lure fishing is the fastest growing participation sport in the country.

It would appear that the angling community in the UK is tiring of the softly-softly approach of fishing with a float and ledger, and shifting to a more pro-active method.

Perhaps more importantly, they are catching angry, fighting, carnivorous fish.

Fishing games have been around for 20 years now, with a healthy selection of titles making their way to home consoles at a steady pace.

Matt Hayes' Fishing
You can look at the fish underwater

The only problem was that the vast majority focused on American bass and marine fishing, leaving the British gamer feeling a little left out.

Matt Hayes' Fishing for PC is set to change all that.

This is a UK-based lure-fishing simulator and not only features our most impressive fish, but some of our best-loved angling locations.

The game is put together as a sort of game-cum-training manual, with Hayes, the UK's most famous angler, overseeing proceedings.

In a break from his seminal Fishing Adventures show, he explains all the nuances and intricacies of attracting and catching the country's best lure fish.


The basic format of the game is simple: Get in your boat, steer it to a likely looking location, and cast your lure, all the time enjoying the scenery of Loch Lomond, Lough Derg, Grafham Reservoir or Gamlebyviken.

Once you have made your cast with your reel-shaped joypad, the camera will shift to show you what's happening underwater.

As you reel in, the twitches you make with the rod attract hungry fish towards the lure.

When they go for it, you strike, hook them, and get them into the boat, which is not as simple as it sounds.

You have to regulate the line tension, to avoid a snap, and try to steer your catch away from reeds and other obstacles.

When the fish is finally landed, it's weighed, and you cast again.

The game comes with a variety of different modes.

Matt Hayes' Fishing
The locations are stunning

There's Matt's Challenge, in which you have to catch a certain weight within a time limit, or Fishing Trip, which allows you to fish how and where you want.

Finally, you have Tournament Fishing, against either the computer or another player, and Multiplayer, in which it's possible to compete with friends over a network.

The game contains pike, perch, zander, brown trout, rainbow trout, chub and salmon, all of which are beautifully animated and stunningly realistic, both in terms of movement and behaviour.

Priced at only 19.99, Matt Hayes' Fishing hits the shelves on the 15 March and will be followed by a digital rod and reel device later in the year.

Total: 87%

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