Blanking is probably the single most dreaded word when it comes to angling. Some superstitious anglers even refuse to mention the word. Maybe it’s their way of trying to escape the harsh realities of what it means to be a fisherman. However, when it comes to blanking we either choose to live in denial about it or see it as being part of the never ending learning curve while next to the water. No matter whether you choose to embrace or deny it; one has to conclude that blanking makes those epic sessions “waar ‘n man stink na vis” so much sweeter.
We can learn a lot from blanking, but also do a lot to minimise the possibility of every angler’s nightmare becoming a reality. Check out these tips below and hopefully it will help you to get the most out of your next session.
1. Location, location, location
Before you start to set up, take some time to find the fish. I’m a firm believer that showing fish are catchable fish. So get a good vantage point, walk around the lake and look out for fish that are cruising on the surface, splashing, feeding and leaving a trail of bubbles behind. By finding the fish, doing your watercraft and locating spots where carp would like to hang out (e.g. overhanging trees, reeds, an inlet); you’re one step closer to getting a carp in the net.
Tip: Choose a swim that commands a large stretch of water (i.e. where you can target multiple areas). Rather than fishing a tight little bay on one end of the lake and put all your eggs in one basket so to speak.
2. Fish accurately
Once you’ve decided where you want to fish, make sure to clip up all your lines. This will ensure you hit your chosen spot bang on every time you cast out.
Tip: Mark your line with a bit of pole elastic or tape. When you want to recast, cast away from your spot to minimise disturbance. Reel in until you get to the marked area on your line, clip up, and you’re ready to get it out there again.
3. ‘Feel’ the lead down
When you cast your hookbait out, always make sure to feel the lead hit the bottom. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. It’ll bring confidence to your fishing. And being confident when you leave your hookbait out for 24 hours is extremely important.
4. Camouflage is key
Try to make all the tackle you use (especially the ‘business end’ of your setup) blend in with the specific environment you’re fishing. This will help you to fool the wariest of carp.
5. Keep ’em guessing
Use different hookbaits (colours, flavours, appearance, buoyancy etc.) at the start of your session. If one rod seems to be getting all the action, then maybe it’s a good idea to change your other rods’ hookbait to match the one that’s rattling off every time.
Tip: Glug your hookbait to give it that bit more attraction. This will help fish to home in on it.
6. Don’t be afraid to move
Never be afraid to move if you’re not catching. It’s never too late. It could be the difference between blanking and catching. So be vigilant, look out for signs of carp and get on it!
7. Effort equals reward
Come prepared, fish to the best of your ability and do everything you can to ‘force’ the bite. E.g. if you aren’t happy with a cast, reel in, put on another PVA bag or piece of foam; and get it out there again (making sure it’s bang on). In the end, it comes down to being confident and what works for you. Because if you put in all the effort and still end up blanking; you can leave the water without any regrets.
By Wynand Roest