WELCOME to the fifth of the new live blogs on the new-look Angler’s Mail website.

Every Friday we will be handing over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & Alex. Two of the keenest youngsters we’ve come across, with a passion for making a variety of fishing videos, they’ll provide a youth dimension to our new blogging mix.

Brothers Carl (left) & Alex are the youngest bloggers in the new mix here on the website that’s going places.

The lads, aged 16 and 12, are familiar faces to Mail magazine readers for their weekly tips, and also their regular video diaries. Some of their recent videos will now be available to view within the new blog here on the Mail’s website.

We hope you enjoy the blog, and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above, or by the “old skool” method of telling fellow anglers! Feel free also to comment by using the special space at the bottom on this page.






IT’S been an interesting week for Alex and me with a lot going on. My last week of school meant sorting out all the folders and paperwork, which was stressful to say the least. But due to my love of fishing, I had the perfect pastime to relax come the weekend.

On Friday, jobs done, I met up with Ben Hervey-Murray (sub-editor at Angler’s Mail) and after a long train journey across London we arrived at the river. The water was very clear so we looked for a deeper area where the fish would feel comfortable feeding; we found a good spot with plenty of depth and lots of snags.

To bait up Ben recommended we make a few PVA bags full of mixed pellet. After adding some oily liquid attractant to the bags we hooked them onto the rig one at a time and lowered them into the deep hole.

Wearing my polaroid glasses definitely helped as, when I lifted out the lead for the last time, I spotted what looked like a barbel on the gravels heading towards the baited area. I slowly crept out of the spot and sat back on the grass whilst Ben showed me the rig the swim required.


Rig hooked with PVA bags full of mixed pellet was the preferred bait selection for the first cast.


Although I would never normally use leadcore for any sort of fishing, due to the sharp mussel shells on the gravel, not using it would almost certainly result in the shells cutting through the main line. The hook was baited with a piece of Peperami and a small pellet, all wrapped in paste. The lead was a 2.5oz gripper version that made it easy to wrap some more pellet and paste around it.

After casting out, the tip remained motionless so I reeled in and squeezed some more paste onto the lead to introduce more smell into the water. Not long after the second cast, Ben told me to tighten up the line a little so I tensioned the tip ever so slightly, but then the tip kept going round! Bang!

I struck and instantly felt the fish charging towards the snags. I stood up and lifted the rod high to avoid the line grating on the mussel shells. After a short tussle, the fish was lead towards a waiting net. Yes, my first barbel since our trip to the Wye back in October.


Carl with a cracking barbel caught on Peperami and pellet wrapped in paste.


After allowing the barbel time to recover in the net we went for a walk downstream. Looking through his polaroids Ben spotted a chub.

Tossing a small chunk of paste towards it seemed to provoke exactly the right response, and the chub engulfed the paste before it had even reached the bottom. He fed the chub a little more paste and then left the fish alone for a while.

Upon returning to the swim, the chub seemed to have disappeared but not for long! It pounced on Ben’s free lined paste hook bait just as it settled on the bottom. The fish was an old warrior and Ben seemed rather excited as I managed to scoop it up into the net.

At 6 lb 13 oz  it was a new PB for him so I got the camera out and did my best to photograph this huge fish! I was happy with the snaps, and were the guys at Angler’s Mail HQ – you may well have seen it in the magazine.


Angler’s Mail sub-editor Ben Hervey-Murray with his prized chub.


It was just beginning to get dark at this point so we headed home. Ben told me which trains to take – vital info when you’re from out in the sticks, attempting to navigate your way across London in the evening. And I thanked him for a brilliant trip!

Look out for the next blog, next week, here on the exciting new-look Angler’s Mail website. I’m just back from targeting barbel, but on a very different stretch of river. I’ll tell you how I got on…


Recent Carl & Alex river videos below. See lots more of their videos by using our new TV player (top right of this website), where we have a CARL & ALEX channel.



Here’s the list of all our new blogs and when they go live:

MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.

TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.

WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!

THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum and Pallatrax, on rotation.

FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.

SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.

SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist

Click HERE to catch up on all bloggers’ introductions


Don’t miss the brilliant latest magazine, out now! And get the mag every Tuesday for a big value £1.80.