Why do i keep blanking when carp fishing  - Carp angler rigging sweetcorn onto carp rig

There is nothing worse than consistently blanking on carp fishing sessions and feeling no matter how long you put into your sessions, you still can’t hook into a fish.

The reality is, sometimes things don’t go your way, the conditions are right, you can’t find any feeding fish and blanks do happen.

But, if you’re consistently blanking on a venue when a lot of other anglers are putting fish in the net, then it’s a lack of knowledge and skill more than anything else.

Thankfully, with a little knowledge, you can significantly reduce the chances of consistently blanking.

In this post, that’s exactly what I’m going to be discussing.

So, why do you keep blanking when carp fishing, and how can you solve this?

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  • Why Do I Keep Blanking When Carp Fishing?

    There are many things that you can learn and do to stop you from consistently blanking when carp fishing. One of the biggest issues I see with beginner carp anglers is that they turn up to a venue, tie on any old rig and cast anywhere in the lake without so much as a thought of where the carp could be.

    So what things can you do to help stop you from blanking? In this post, I’m going to cover these 12 reasons why you keep blanking:

    • You’re not putting enough thought into the location you’re fishing
    • You’re not willing to pack up and move
    • You’re not altering rigs
    • You’re not paying attention to the water
    • You’re not trying to target the fish at different depths
    • Your baits and hooks are too large
    • You’re not trying to stalk fish
    • You’re not fishing highly stocked venues
    • You’re not casting accurately to a baited swim
    • You’re not maximising attraction
    • Your hooks are not sharp enough

    No thought is put into the location you’re fishing…

    One of the critical areas to carp angling, and one that seems to be overlooked by a lot of beginner anglers is how to read the water to identify where the carp could be feeding before casting a rig.

    This is typically one of the main reasons why a lot of beginner anglers blank.

    There are a lot of things that you can look out for on the water before you even pick a swim and it’s highly advised you do so if you want the best chance of avoiding the blank.

    I’ve already written a full post on how to read the water when carp fishing that you should definitely take a read at.

    Not willing to pack up and move…

    Another reason why you keep blanking is down to not being willing to pack up and move if the swim you’re fishing isn’t working out for you.

    If you’ve set up in a swim that you thought may have held feeding fishing or an area where you spotted signs of fish, but everything has gone still then it could be beneficial to pack up and move swims.

    This is especially worthwhile if you now spot visual signs of feeding fish in other areas or anglers in another part of the lake are catching fish.

    It can be extremely easy to get lazy and stay put to avoid the effort of packing up all your gear and moving to set it all up again, but the reality is there’s very little chance the fish are going to come to you.

    If you want to become a successful carp angler that avoids the blanks in most sessions then you need to be willing to put in the extra effort.

    Not altering rigs…

    Why do i keep blanking when carp fishing - Rig and different hookbaits

    Sometimes, you’ve located a swim that holds plenty of fish, you can see them breaching the surface, and you notice areas of murky water and clear feeding bubbles, but you still can’t seem to put any fish in the net.

    This could be down to a few things, but one of these could be the way your bait is presented.

    A few small adjustments could make the difference between a blank or plenty of fish in the net, so if you’re sure you’re fishing a swim that holds fish and have had no luck then it may pay to make a few small changes to your rig.

    This could be lengthening or shortening hook links, switching to hair rigs or trying a new rig presentation altogether.

    This comes down to effort level again and being willing to put in as much effort as possible to try and work out what the fish are willing to pick up.

    Not paying attention…

    You should always be paying attention to the water around you and what other anglers are doing, especially the ones that are catching.

    If you’re consistently blanking on sessions, then it can be very beneficial to spend some time moving around the lake, speaking to other anglers and watching the water can help a lot.

    If you’re constantly watching the swim you’re fishing you may not notice tiny clues of carp by small splashes or small areas of bubbles of a carp feeding.

    Another instance where not paying attention can make the difference between catching fish, or blanking is if you’re missing bites.

    No matter how you’re fishing, you should always be watching your rods for bite indication and staying close to them so you can lift into any fish that take your bait to ensure that the hook sets well.

    Not trying to target the fish at different depths…

    Why do i keep blanking when carp fishing - Foam imitation bait for fishing zig rig

    Although carp are bottom feeders, it is thought that they only spend around 40-60% of their feeding time feeding on the bottom.

    If you’re having no luck finding any fish after casting around and trying multiple swims, then it may just be because the majority of the carp are not feeding on the bottom in the conditions present.

    If this is the case, you can try fishing a zig rig.

    Zig rigs are fished with extremely buoyant baits that will float up in the water and stay suspended at different distances from the bottom.

    If the carp are feeding on natural food sources up in the water, then a zig rig can be a deadly rig to try.

    It can be a little challenging to find the depth that they are feeding at, but you should change the depth often systematically and often until you get any bites.

    Your baits and hooks are too large…

    In tackle shops, you’re going to find many different sizes of hooks and baits, and a lot of them will actually be too large for regular commercial carp fishing.

    If you’re new to carp angling and tying up rigs with hooks and baits that are far too large for the average size of fish swimming in the venue, then there’s no wonder you’re blanking.

    Large baits and hooks don’t necessarily mean larger fish, and you can catch a range of sizes of carp and other species on on hooks of size 8 – 10.

    Size 8 or 10 hooks will be adequate for fishing a few pieces of sweetcorn on a hair rig or a 6-10mm pellet or boilie.

    Anything larger than this is overkill and can massively increase your chances of blanking.

    Not trying to stalk fish…

    Why Do I Keep Blanking When Carp Fishing  - Carp eating bread from surface

    This tip to avoid blanking is condition dependant, but if you’re fishing over periods of bright and sunny weather, then you may see a lot of carp swimming on the surface or in the top layer of water.

    Carps will sometimes come to bask in the sun in the top layers of water that can become warmer than the rest of the water under the sun.

    If you’re fishing on days you notice this, fishing the bottom can be a waste of time.

    In these conditions, “stalking” carp can be a great way to avoid blanking.

    Stalking involves moving around the water, looking for carp swimming on the surface with a light rod set-up with a straight line hook and floating bait such as bread or dog biscuits.

    Once you’ve located carp on the surface, you can start by throwing in loose pieces of floating bait and see how the carp react.

    If they start feeding comfortably, then you can cast your hook with floating bait attached to them and hopefully hook into a fish off the surface.

    Not fishing highly stocked venues… 

    This one should go without saying, but one way to significantly reduce your chances of catching is to fish higher stocked venues.

    A lot of specimen carp anglers who are fishing low-stocked waters in the hope of catching one or a small selection of large well known fish, they are expecting to fish for a long time over many sessions with a high chance of not catching a fish at all.

    For specimen anglers, this is something that they expect, but they still enjoy this style of fishing and feel the potential reward is more than worth it.

    For a lot of beginner anglers, this is not sustainable, and you’d much rather catch a few smaller fish every session than none at all.

    So, in this case, if you keep blanking, you could look for commercial water with a much larger stock of carp and other coarse species.

    Not casting accurately…

    Imagine this; you’re fishing a method feeder or PVA bag rigs, and you’ve outlined a small area where you have seen feeding bubbles or fish crashing or rolling above.

    You decide that you want to fish this are but can’t accurately cast to the exact spot but decide to just leave your rig anyway.

    This can make a massive difference in if you’re going to catch any fish at all.

    Also, if you’re regularly casting to bait up swims with PVA bag or method feeder rigs but failing to hit the exact same spot every cast, then you’re spreading your bait thin and also massively reducing the effectiveness of your baiting approach.

    The carp may be feeding over a small area of silt and a bed of natural food sources such as bloodworms, but 2 metres to the right, there may be blanket weed or a lot of deep mud, which is going to be impossible to fish over and the fish aren’t going to be keen to fish here.

    So, when you want to bait up and fish a specific spot, it pays to be extremely accurate with your casting.

    Not maximising attraction…

    Why Do I Keep Blanking When Carp Fishing  - Man holding boilie attached to hair rig with carp liquid in hands

    When fishing in commercial waters, it can be common that the carp have come across all the usual flavours and types of boilies, pellets and other carp baits that they may become wary of them or choose to feed on other baits that are already in the water.

    This is a small change, but if you keep blanking, it can be worth upping the attraction of your bait to try and entice the carp to feed on something new.

    You can dip boilies or baits into carp flavouring oils or liquids that will ooze attraction in the water and hopefully get the carp feeding.

    Your hooks are not sharp enough…

    If you’re getting plenty of knocks on your line but nothing is hooking up then your hooks may not be sharp enough.

    You should check the sharpness of your hooks regularly and if they’re not razor sharp then you should either change them out or invest in a hook sharpener.

    That’s All

    Carp fishing can seem fairly complex for beginners, which can lead to plenty of blanks before you get your head around the tactics and approach for putting fish in the net.

    There can be a lot of reasons why you keep blanking but I’d say the main reason is not fishing in a productive area of the lake and knowing how to spot these areas.

    The remaining 10 reasons are also reasons why you may be blanking consistently but you should now have an idea of how you can rectify these common mistakes to hopefully get more fish in the net.

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