IT’S FRIDAY, and what better way to kick start the weekend than with another of our new live blogs exclusive to the Angler’s Mail website.

Every Friday we will be handing over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & Alex.

Brothers Carl (left) & Alex are the youngest bloggers in our mix. Carl wrote this week’s blog.

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.

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, written this time by Carl, 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.




WHEN a mate of mine, Michael Wickens, asked if I wanted to join him for a night on a Sussex Ouse weirpool, I instantly said yes as I knew there would be a good chance of catching my first barbel from my local river. The weather looked good too; cloudy with a little rain but plenty warm enough.

I gathered my gear together, making sure I packed both tips for my 30Plus Twin Tip Barbel Rod. But I was not certain how much lead I would need to hold bottom.

On arriving at the river we realised there was someone fishing the pool but headed down to another good swim instead. I spotted a number of barbel in the shallows… but none of them would take my bait. I rolled pellets, meat and bread past their noses but my efforts just resulted in a little chub. Oh well!

At about 9pm we moved up to the previously occupied weirpool and Michael baited his spot with a PVA bag full of pellets and a stone to help it reach the bottom quicker. I used a baitdropper to deposit a bed of 6mm Fish Frenzy Hallibut Pellets mixed withBait-Tech Chilli Hemp. Halibut pellet hookbaits were both our choices.

It didn’t take long for something to happen. Just five minutes later Michael’s rod tip hooped over. That was quite a shock…. we did not anticipate a bite so soon after casting out!

The fight was nothing spectacular but the fish did dive for a number of known snags on the way in. As the fish drifted into the net I lifted the mesh around a good barbel, especially from the tiny Sussex Ouse. We both jumped up and down with joy as it was Michael’s first fish from this pool.


Michael with his night time barbel


On the scales it weighed 8lb 3oz and Mick, as I sometimes call him, was very pleased.

Shortly after releasing the barbel I caught a small chub. We were getting lots of bites and reckoned the session was going to be a really good one. Unfortunately, such is fishing, my chub was the last fish of the night…


Another stunning barbel for Michael on an ouse weirpool in Sussex

The next weekend we decided to do another night, although the forecast did not look so promising.

As soon as Michael cast out he was receiving slight indications on the rod tip. Just like the last session it took a matter of minutes before his rod smacked over, just like the proverbial “three foot twitch”!

This fish held near the bottom and refused to be moved from there. Constant pressure drew the fish up in the layers until a barbel like tail flicked over on the surface. Yet again I was netsman and a slightly smaller barbel than before was engulfed in my 30Plus Camo Barbel Net.

We did not bother weighing this fish as it was not as big as Mick’s previous one. I did my best to do the fish justice in the photos as it was in perfect condition and clearly feeding hard in the slightly coloured water.

Then the rain started. We took cover under our brolly, and just as it was getting dark, Mick managed another fish, this time a quality chub weighing 4lb 1oz. That’s a great fish considering the average chub in the river is under 2lb and my biggest from here is 3lb 8oz!

The night fishing session proved extremely successful for Michael who netted this hefty chub weighing in at over 4lb.


The rain became even heavier as Michael cast his bait back out to his producing spot. To my surprise it was not long before he was in to another barbel but this time smaller. Interestingly, this fish fought pretty much as hard as the one before. And there I was again, taking photos of yet another barbel! Mick was on a roll and I quizzed him on how he was doing so well.

We both fell asleep after that and whilst we were dreaming of 100lb barbel and gudgeon as long as your arm, the rain got even worse.

A quick get away in the early hours was needed after the river breached the banks

At about 1.40 in the morning I woke up and switched on my light as the thundering noise of the weir seemed very loud. Only then did I realize that the river had risen three foot and was still rising so fast that you could see it coming towards us.

We packed everything away in double quick time and retreated up the bank, away from the raging torrent. One slip and we could have been washed away. The water was so powerful and I was, just a bit, TERRIFIED!

Luckily Michael has a brilliant brother who came to take us home. We were both drenched but happy that one of us had managed two great barbel. I slept the night at Mick’s house, so thank you very much to his family!


The next day I was feeling a bit down as in the two nights at the river I had not achieved my target of a barbel. I picked up my rod and walked across our road to a small pool which holds loads of roach, fish I was confident would be feeding as usual. I tried for about three hours and in that time hooked three fish – the one I lost would have been my first ever carp from the lake!


A couple of roach Carl managed to net after a frustrating few sessions


I was not having much luck. But I will be back! And hopefully a few quality fish on my own here for the next Angler’s Mail blog.


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


FREE TACKLE BOX with this week’s brilliant issue of our mag – don’t miss it!