Former National Champion and ace all-rounder Steve Collett blogs for AM and appears regularly in the magazine.

WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.

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DEPENDING on what type of venue you fish, a blank, a dry net, a DNW (did not weigh) could be just around the corner for you.

Whether it’s on an Open, a team match, or a winter league, it’s the nemesis of every match angler. And when it does it’s awful, a horrible feeling, made even worse if you are in a team match.

Steve picked up his blankety blank cheque book and pen…

My blankety blank was overdue, and although I felt rather cocky – that I should be able to scrape a fish from somewhere, anywhere – this latest blank hit me the hardest.

I was fishing in a team match on a local river, and drew ok. It’s never been a flyer, and it’s not really a framing peg, but, I had fished it before (in the summer) and felt there was a few fish there. Then came the slap in the face…

Three hours in and despite trying everything there is to try on the river, stick float, bolo, flat float, bomb, feeder, waggler, there was nothing left in my armoury and nearly nothing left in my will to live. It was awful, a horrible feeling, as I was letting the team down.

I tried even harder, feeding new lines, going finer, absolutely everything and I still couldn’t get a bite. What was I doing wrong? The section wasn’t fishing it’s head off by any means. One roach or a rogue perch and I was back in it, but try as I might, there was nothing to be had. Then the prospect of blanking became worse, the angler to my left had caught one, and to my right!

Now it’s time to make excuses; boats, otters in my swim, I might even be able to throw a seal card in. Whatever I chose, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. I blanked. Nothing, nada, not even a bite, nor indication.

And I had to make my way back to the pub for the results with a sheepish look and the horrible feeling when you have to tell your team mates you have a big fat DNW on the card.

That night I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could have done different, and when you have an international angler as the missus, you know there is not going to be a lot of sympathy.

But we talked through the match and I don’t think I did a lot wrong – or did I? I wasn’t lazy, I had everything set up, every bait possible, and my groundbait mix was proven. I took it badly, and couldn’t work it out.

So I bit the bullet and decided to go on the same peg the next day to work it out, and even though heavy snow was forecast, the temperature, and the colour remained the same. So I returned to set the record straight and work it out.

When I arrived I decided to feed the swim above to give it a more realistic overall scenario, and fished my peg again, with no bites, again. To be honest this made me feel a little better, but more determined to work something out… but I didn’t, and try as I might I just could not get a bite.

Never too old to learn

After a few more hours I decided enough was enough, the river has beat me, I give up, but just as I was packing away I decided to go a few pegs up where I had fed at the start of the day, just out of curiosity.

I ran the same rig down the swim, and bang, a bite second run through, and another? This left me baffled but also pleased as the fish were just not in my swim, something I thought impossible as a regular river angler. I thought every swim could winkle out a fish, but no, these fish were not for moving.

This experience got me thinking and put my brain into overdrive, and cemented a few old sayings like “you can’t catch em if they are not there” and it’s true. But, in a sadistic way I also enjoyed working this out the hard way.

And in my notes, I made the observation that in the future on a no hoper, Ill stick to one rig one method, and make them come to me, rather than give that one fish ten different tables to eat at.

So a week or so on, and I think that blank was good for me, I learned a bit, and had my cockiness knocked off a bit – never a bad thing. And no matter how good we think we are, we are never too old to learn.



James Dent is Steve’s performer of the week.

Well Mother Nature gave us another week of the white stuff and many venues had a lid on, natural venues fished well in parts, and dire in others.

Mr Michael Buchwalder had another red letter performance on the Welland with another superb win. A great angler on a great run, they are hard to beat, but he can’t have another one, they are to precious!

So this weeks award goes to James Dent, who in my opinion is one of the country’s best ever anglers, and make a note; this fella will be a World Champion one day.

James had a fantastic  12-13 of roach to take the honours in the Thorne DAA pairs league on the Stainforth and Keadby. and it’s my pleasure to award him with the Anglers Mail Performance of the Week.

Well done James Dent, take a bow young man.







Related posts

All Steve Collett’s must-read blogs

Colin Mitchell’s helpful blog on baits to win bites 

Our other daily fishing blogs

Be sure to get this week’s new Angler’s Mail – and get set for what February will throw at us all! The magazine is a big value £1.80.