Shrimps key to Sensas Challenge final success

The England teams set to take on Europe in the Sensas Challenge Final this weekend have revealed the mystery bait they are pinning their success on… freshwater shrimps.

Kamasan Starlets, Daiwa Dorking and Leicester Sensas have all secured a delivery of the bait after reports that locals on France’s River Loire – where the event will be staged – have been catching perch and bream on the crustacean.

French anglers feed worms as normal in groundbait or leam but revert to the shrimps in ones or twos on the hook to seek out the predatory perch. That has got a few heads scratching as 64 teams descend on the river at Chateaudun south west of Paris this week.

“Where we would use worms or bloodworm for perch, the French use freshwater shrimps,” said Starlets skipper Mark Downes. “We’ve got a bit of practice ahead of us to get to grips with them, but we’ve got a supplier lined up. It’ll be really interesting to see just how we all get on.”

Aside from the perch the river also holds bream and lots of bleak and Mark and his team have some experience of the Loire having fished there several years ago, but with the fishing now much better Mark expects the three English teams to put on a good show.

“This is a massive event now with over 1,800 teams entering across Europe from as far afield as Poland and Spain and we’re now down to 64 of the very best. Next to the World Club Championships this is the next best thing for any serious match team,” he explained. “The thought of fishing shrimps still makes me smile though and just shows that no matter how experienced you are, fishing still throws up some random things!”