ONCE a week we hand over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & Alex

Carl and Alex roach and chub

These super-keen youngsters have a passion for angling and making videos. Read their tips each week in Angler’s Mail magazine’s unbeatable All The Answers section.

We hope you enjoy the blog, written by Alex. Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.




Target achieved!


I SET myself several targets this year to keep me busy throughout the next eight months: catching a double-figure barbel from my local river, a 50lb catfish from Tanyard fishery and a particular big common from a local park lake.

These are just a few examples. However, on a recent after-school session from Friday night to Saturday, I managed to catch one of my targets…

It was a warm, muggy evening and the carp in Specimen Lake 3 at Tanyard were bubbling. For this particular session I decided to try a new approach, which from what I have seen is match tactic. I cut two tins of spam into cubes and put it in a plastic bag.

To this I then added a teaspoon of salt and shook it up. The salt not only gives extra flavour but apparently carp naturally search it out for the minerals they need. As spam is too soft to use on the hair rig and a small roach or crayfish could easily nibble it off, I opted to fish a small chunk of spicy peperami as the hook bait.

I’m sure the red tinge to it attracts the carp and also the smell lasts for well over 30 hours when submerged in water, and for that reason I think that it is the perfect hook bait.

I chose a spot next to some lily pads where bubbles had been occasionally coming up and the odd plume of mud from a big carp below. I sprinkled in a few handfuls of cubed spam into the gap in the pads and quietly under-armed my small lead and rig into the same spot. I then placed my rod onto my bite alarm. I sat back and cooked some dinner.

It was now getting on for 7 pm and I was beginning to have a few liners. I put in another few handfuls of spam just in case the fish had already cleared up all my bait from earlier.

After feeding it took no more than ten minutes for the bite alarm to go screaming off and the rod tip to whack round. I dropped my half-eaten roll to pick up the rod. I instantly felt a heavy weight. I reeled down and pumped constantly for about three minutes.

The fish was now at my feet. It had come in relatively easily but was just keeping low in the margins. It stayed down for a good ten minutes, however when it did come up I realised why the fight was very different to anything else I had caught – it was a grass carp!

I was surprised to say the least but also so pleased that I had hooked one of my target species for this year. It thrashed around near the surface for the last few minutes of the fight before I scooped the net right under it. There lay this long grass carp in the bottom of my landing net! I was very, very happy.

Alex grassie

Alex’s big Tanyards grass carp.

I tried my best to get some good photos and then released my first and PB grass carp back into the lake. I sat on my bedchair afterwards and just took it all in. I wish you could go carp fishing specifically for grass carp I thought, but it’s quite hard when there are only a dozen in the lake.

Oh well, maybe I will be lucky enough to catch another one by accident this year when targeting normal carp! To see how the whole session went and another three after-school sessions, check out my after school carping video below.

Finally, with some sadness myself and Carl are stepping down from writing weekly blogs here. Exams and new jobs are going to take up more and more of our time but we’ll still be appearing regularly in the magazine.

However, we know the team at Mail HQ have some great new bloggers lined up so check back next week for more brilliant content!

Hope you’re all catching well – tight lines and wet nets!







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