Carl and Alex roach and chubEVERY Friday we hand over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & AlexThese 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.

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IN just a few days it will be 2014. The year seems to have flown by but we have picked up so many wonderful memories along the way.

In this blog I am going to briefly remember some of 2013’s highlights, but also look forward to what next year holds.

We started off the year trying to get some underwater footage done on a small pond near our house, we were unsuccessful on our first few attempts but we did finally manage to film a bite from a common carp underwater. The underwater filming proved to us that even though we were using twigs as floats and chunks of bread as bait we could still catch carp.

As the snow fell in early 2013 we had a few days of school when we walked to the river in search of chub, both Alex and I finally managed to catch a chub each in -4 degrees when very few fish were feeding. Catching fish all through the year is a big part of angling for us, with our targets changing alongside the seasons.

Alex's snow chub

Alex’s snow chub

Through April we targeted carp and although we suffered a number of blanks it all came good in the end with a near 20lb common for me and a 29lb mirror for Alex, both in their beautiful winter colours. As soon as the weather warmed enough to draw carp into the shallows we began stalking them with floating and slow sinking baits. The action was immense with sometimes three or four fish in a day, on lakes where we had previously only managed a fish every other weekend!

An April carp for Carl

An April carp for Carl

One memorable session was whilst we were on our quest for a catfish. Because the cats refused to feed throughout daylight hours, we spent our time surface fishing. Alex had lost two big catfish previously but we returned for another crack at catching a monster. The first day we sprayed mixers on the surface all day long until after five hours of feeding one or two fish started feeding. Most anglers on the lake had given up surface fishing but we just kept feeding them.

Once the carp were actively looking for mixers out went the hookbait and an hour later Alex hooked a big fully scaled mirror. It kited under some trees in our near margin and then the line went solid. To cut a long story short, Steve the bailiff came down and jumped in, pulling weed away from the line. Eventually the big fully popped up on the surface and went into the net first time. It weighed 25lb and was an incredible looking fish! That night Alex caught his target, a 40lb+ catfish which almost pulled him in!

Target catfish

Target catfish

As the year went on I turned my attention to rivers and chub in particular. I had always wanted to catch a nice chub from the Hampshire Avon and on a session with a friend Matthew Tann we caught numerous 5lb+ chub topped of by my new PB of 6lb 1oz. It was a crazy session where the bigger the lump of bread the bigger the chub I caught!

PB chub of 6lb 1oz

PB chub of 6lb 1oz

We turned our mind back to carp in August and went stalking again, this time attempting to trick some of the larger fish in the lake. I lost a known 30lb carp twice then lost a fish called ‘Jacks Fish’ only for Alex to catch it a week later! I am always happy for my brother when he succeeds but when he catches a fish I have lost previously then he starts to get on my nerves!

The on that got away for Carl was Alex's catch

The on that got away for Carl was Alex’s catch

We also fished for barbel from time to time but never really got into it, I just seemed to blank as much as I caught and I never felt like I had sussed it. I think in the new season I will be employing a maggot approach, especially if the river is low and clear like much of this summer.

Much more recently I tried a small stretch of river with a new fishing buddy Greg and we caught some cracking perch, pike and even a 2lb roach, backed up by Alex’s first river carp. I really love my rivers and am making the most of them during these cold months when the lakes have a lid on them.

The end of the year marked some great river perch catches

The end of the year marked some great river perch catches

Looking forward, we hope to start on a new carp water this year with the aim of catching a near-40lb carp but that may take some time and effort! We also just hope to spend plenty of time on the bank and do what we love, which is making films about fishing.

I don’t expect to be able to go fishing as much as we would like to this year as I really have to concentrate on work and Alex needs to pass his GCSEs, but we’ve got the bug so I’m certain you will still be seeing some videos in 2014.

To summarise we would both like to thank everyone reading this blog and we hope you all have a lovely 2014.

Tight lines and wet nets.

Carl & Alex





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