The 2014 Sensas Challenge Final

Alan Scotthorne and his Drennan Barnsley Blacks team have just returned from the Sensas Challenge Final in France. Here’s how they got on.

After qualifying again for the Sensas Challenge Final, my Drennan Barnsley Blacks team of Lee Kerry, Frankie Gianoncelli, Simon Fields and myself were keen to see if we could improve on our 5th place from last year and retain our title as the best overseas team – or go one better and win the competition!

The match was to take place close to the Sensas factory at Chartres on a series of lakes. This made practicing a little difficult, as we needed to split up to cover all the sections that were to be used in the competition.

Fortunately, you can place anglers on this match, so I was to fish on the large Saint Georges Lake where waggler was to be the main method, while my traveling partner Simon was to be on Goujonniere Lake. Lee and Frankie tackled the smaller Luisant and Barjouville lakes which we were told would be a mix of both pole and waggler fishing for small roach and odd skimmers.

A practice on each lake went well and I caught 23lb on the lake I was to fish and close to 40lb on Simon’s lake. It was all skimmers, so we couldn’t wait for the match days as the fishing looked like it could be good, but we also knew that the pegging would be tight, so  it would naturally be much harder than our practice sessions. Lee and Frankie had also caught well so we were all buzzing before the actual match weekend.

The waggler played a big part on many of the lakes (picture courtesy of
The waggler played a big part on many of the lakes (picture courtesy of

Day One

Our first day draw looked good with myself on Peg 4 on Saint Georges Lake. When I arrived at the peg I had a massive amount of room with the peg being right on a point and I really did fancy it for a good day’s fishing. To cut a long story short, however, I struggled all day catching just four skimmers and a perch for 770g! All the fish were caught on a waggler at a distance of 40 reel turns of a 4000-size reel using a 4g Drennan Insert Crystal Waggler. I felt there was just a lack of fish in this area of the lake as I was lying 3rd in the section after the first 10 pegs were weighed in, but ultimately finished 8th as the last five pegs all caught well. A weight of 6kg won the section and 15kg won the entire lake.

Lee Kerry won his section on Day Two.

As a team we scored a poor 29.5 points to finish 24th on the day. Simon was also 8th, Lee had 10.5 points and a good job by Frankie with a 3rd in his section. It left us with no chance of making the top three but we could still get in the top 10 if we pulled our socks up for the second day!

Day Two

I drew Peg 54 for the next match. This had produced 5kg the day before, so at least I was in an area with a few fish if they would oblige.

Again, I set up four 13ft Drennan Acolyte waggler rods; two with 4g Insert Crystals and two with 6g straight Drennan Peacock Wagglers in case the wind got up.

My groundbait was three bags of Sensas Terre de Somme, a bag of Sensas Magic and a bag of Sensas Lake. This was mixed very slightly on the wet side as even though it was shallow at just over a metre deep I still wanted to feed with balls that went in reasonably hard with little cloud. I felt that this was better for holding the bigger skimmers.

With a bait limit in place of just 1.5 litres I kept it simple with half a litre of joker, half a litre of casters and half a litre of finely chopped worms. Hook baits of bloodworm, redworms and a pinch of dead red maggots and pinkies rounded of my bait for the match.

softfeed groundbait greenAt the start I introduced 15 balls of my mix using a green Softfeed Groundbait Catapult with the elastic cut down so that each ball would only go 40 turns at full stretch. I fed very accurately at the start in the 10-minute pre-baiting period and then sat back watching some of the surrounding anglers feed close to 30 balls each on their waggler lines and accuracy was definitely not their strong point!

My very first cast produced a skimmer and I settled down to catch 10 in the first hour, topping up after 40 minutes with three balls of my mix containing plenty of casters and chopped worms but just a pinch of joker. At the start, I had only introduced 350ml of bait with 150ml of this being joker as I always feel it’s best to not overfeed skimmers. This just stops you getting regular bites as they get preoccupied with the joker instead of the hook bait.

Each side, my neighbours were catching odd fish but I felt I was comfortably in front and I am sure feeding accuracy was making a big difference, plus using much smaller floats helped with less missed bites.

I finished the match with around 40 skimmers caught mainly on two small pieces of redworm mounted on a size 18 Kamasan B560 hook to a 0.107mm Supplex hooklength. Incidentally I only used 2.6lb (0.14mm) Drennan Float Fish main line so I could easily achieve the distance I was fishing with the light 4g rig.

Frankie Gianoncelli put in two decent performances for the Barnsley Blacks.

At the weigh in, my fish went 20.22kg, winning the section and the 64-peg lake, which I was naturally pleased with after the poor performance of the day before.

Lee and Frankie had also won their sections but Simon had struggled again in a really bad area. He beat all around him but finished in 12th leaving us with a 14-point total for the day. This pulled us up to 6th overall and a few quid in the coffers… but we missed out on the overseas trophy to England co-manager Mark Downes and his Kamasan Starlets squad by just half a point!

It was another well run Sensas Final that we all enjoyed so now we need to put in some hard work to try to qualify for next year’s and build on our performance. Fingers crossed!

Result (64 teams fished)
1st SSPP 87 28pts
2nd Team Sensas Armentieres 33pts
3rd Roubaix Competition 35pts
4th La Gaule Niortaise 39pts
5th Kamasan Starlets 43pts
6th Drennan Barnsley Blacks 43.5pts

Visit for more information on this competition.