Dutch Sensas


We have several videos of the Sensas Challenge showing B,C,D, and E sections. We also have video interviews with Dutch manager Jan Van Schendel and Sensas organisers John Lubbers and Leen Harmsen. Unfortunately we have not uploaded them yet due to technical delays but hope to do so soon. Last but not least, we have the Sensas weigh sheets, which tell the whole story much better... enjoy!
It seems a world away when we first had indications of potential problems with Holland hosting the 2009 World Championship. In the space of a few months an alternative venue was agreed and if we were looking for any further assurances that the Lage Vaart was suitable stature, then the recent Sensas Challenge held on the championship venue firmly dispelled any doubts and fears one may have had.

There's small fish by the thousands and heavily bronzed bream, darkened by the waters peaty composition. Although not distributed in even quantities along the several kilometer track, reports of massive shoals filtered to me from a couple of pleasure sources. While one will not expect a 'breamfest', there will be several good weights of these beautiful fish recorded. Considering past concerns over small fish stocks that may have suffered under a 'black-plague' of cormorants, I can assure anyone with any remaining doubts that small fish are in ample abundance and more than willing to feed on bloodworm, caster, maggot and worms.

The Lage Vaart is typical of many Dutch inland waterways... heavily coloured by peaty silt and minimal flow. It's width is a good 'chuck' with a 10gr waggler... about 45-50 metres. Depths are consistent throughout. Inside lines (4-6m) on all sections reach a depth of around 1.5m while 13 metre lines average out at 2m. Only on E section do we see a slight increase, and this is only around half a metre.

Because there is little flow, rigs can be kept light, in terms of both float and line. Half a gram seemed more than adequate during the Sensas and assuming conditions remain similar in September, then that would a fair starting point. Many tended to use quite fine hooklengths with hooks, 22-20's to .08mm approx., although the bream rigs would be somewhat heavier, judging by how well I saw them fight! They can reach several kilos each and I was told that the Italian, Gabba, had one of 2.5kgs on the Saturday. In fact there were a number of 2kg fish taken on the Sunday as well.

Saturday's match saw some reasonable weights of roach and perch with the odd bream coming out. Not too bad then, considering this was the first time the venue had been placed under any sort of pressure. Sunday's match definitely benefitted from the previous day's influx of bait and weights picked up with a couple of double figure bream weights. Even the roach and perch seemed to respond more. The attached results bear this out and one can only guess at what potential lay ahead come September.

It was noticeable that there were some similarities between the Euro Champs venue and here. In Slovenia, two lines were employed by just about everyone. A short line for small fish and a maximum line (13m) for bigger fish. The Lage Vaart looks tactically to be the same, and even though the physical nature of the venues are totally different, the weights could be as good. Having said that, after the display the venue put on for the Sensas Challenge, it would not surprise me if this years championships did not only produce a great contest, but also a fascinating and close-run duel between the technical sides of France, Belgium, Italy and England... especially taking into account this years re-structured section points!!! With no disrespect to the home nation or anyone else, I feel these four teams still have too much 'fire-power' for the rest of the world in this type of contest. Holland have some great canal anglers and it would not beyond the bounds of possibility if their high-profile manager, Jan Van Schendel, 'popped' them onto the podium like he did in the 2008 Euros'... the Lage Vaart is, of course, their backyard!

The Sensas Challenge has already shown us the merits of three of these top sides, with France taking a well deserved win from Italy and Belgium. The question on many lips will be, can France repeat the feat come September? They have an undoubted ability to take any high-class field apart, but past performances have done little to stamp their, once feared, authority on these championships. Nevertheless, if they can bring all the right components to Almere, then they WILL be a major force over the two days. And what of England? Having become the dominant force in world angling over the last decade, Drennan Team England will be the benchmark everyone will try to follow. The venue and style of fishing look tailor-made to all in the squad and, assuming no tactical errors creep in, it's unthinkable to believe that they will not reach the podium at some level.

What about the other teams, what hope do they have? Team-wise it's difficult to imagine another team relegating any one of the big 'four' from the podium fight. Although it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that one of these major teams could 'trip-up' and allow someone else to sneak in! I can, however, forsee an 'unknown' taking the individual title with a good bream weight over the two days. This is after all fishing, and as we all have found out to our cost at sometime or other... anything can happen!

It's all down to how the venue and its species will respond once practice week begins. However, if the Sensas is anything to go by, we will see the dominant species of roach and perch come to the forefront during this period, with caster and maggot being the principle hookbait. Groundbaits will be based around both roach and bream for short and long lines respectively, yet, while many might favour the ball-a-chuck approach, loose feeding could bring in the better quality roach, perch and small skimmers, as I witnessed in several areas on my visit. I fear bloodworm could only reduce the individual size of a fish, not increase it! Many good section weights during the Sensas Challenge came from roach and perch, not bream, although what effect a week of heavy bombardment will have on them remains to be seen. It may favour an out-an-out bream assault, but I suspect this tactic will be too 'alien' to our top sides!

I've not mentioned the waggler yet, and for good reason. I saw little use of this method during the Sensas, but again, I suspect this will be heavily relied on in some sections to produce that bonus fish. With the expected disturbance throughout the match length, it's reasonable to assume that fish will move further out, especially the big ones! With the distance to the far bank accessible to a heavy waggler, it could be a tactic some teams will rely on for good points. This will no doubt be more evident during practice week.

One thing's for sure, the venue has pleasantly surprised many people and if it remains in any way consistent to the Sensas weekend, then Holland will have something to be proud of come the evening of September 6th!

Downloadable Results (PDF)

Due to heavy demand on our Almere video page, the site temporarily ran out of bandwidth. This caused Matchangler.com to be unavailable for several hours. We have now increased capacity, but to avoid any repartition, we are restricting this special video page to a Members Only access:
Video page featuring Sections B, C, D and E, plus interviews with Jan Van Schendel and the Dutch Sensas organisers... CLICK