Carl and Alex roach and chubWELCOME to our Friday blog. Every Friday we hand over to Carl and Alex Smith – known online as simply Carl & Alex.

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

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FRIDAY has come around once more, time again for our blog and time to recount my 18th birthday and the sessions which surrounded it!

Birthday beer for Carl as he reaches 18-years-old.

Birthday beer for Carl as he reaches 18-years-old.

Since turning 18 last Friday I have come to the conclusion that being 18 is very similar to being 17, with a couple of minor differences, one being the ability to purchase alcohol… but more on that later…

I had decided to set out on the 27th to try and catch a birthday barbel (much like a normal barbel but caught by design on a specific day of the year) but annoyingly work and a driving lesson meant that I did not have time to get down to the river.

After a tasty Chinese takeaway and a further two work videos to edit, I decided the river was far too tempting so left home with Alex and my friend Michael at about 9.30 in the evening!

We arrived at the river in the dark and I made my first cast, it was terrible and it landed meters away from the hotspot! I tried again, this time with a PVA bag over the hook point in case I cast in a tree or branch; the lead landed just right. I switched on my bite alarm and sat down to wait!

We fished until about 10.30 when Michael decided it was about time we gave up and went to the pub. In a way I was desperate to stay longer but with just one little bite to show for my efforts, my first legal pint was gradually becoming more appealing.

Alex was dropped back home and Michael drove to the our local ‘Red Lion’ where I enjoyed a pint of beer, a fine reward for my barbel fishing efforts – and of course for surviving 18 whole years. Cheers Mike!

The next day I wanted to fish somewhere easier, so Alex and I ventured over to Farnham to fish the River Wey. It turned out to be harder than we expected because the river was so incredibly low and clear.

The order of the day was to loose feed maggots little and often until the dace, minnows and chub had lost all their worries and were drawn out of the snags.

Watch this short video to see how confidently the silverfish and trout fed, once we had trickled maggots into the swim for some time!





We roved the river for most of the day, occasionally finding a pocket of fish and trotting a delicate stick float to them. Finally we found a tiny undercut where some chub were lying up, I fished triple maggot and eventually fooled a fish into taking it. The result was a spotless little chub, a superb birthday present!

Birthday chub

Birthday chub

Come Sunday afternoon I needed to film a sunset for the Tanyard Fishery video that Alex and I are making. We left home at 4pm with the aim of setting up the camera pointing at the sunset and having a few hours fishing whilst we waited for the sun to set on film.

Alex and I were terribly frustrated when soon after setting up the camera, clouds filled the sky and the sun set behind a thick barrier of water vapour. No beautiful sunset for us, but there was something big about to lift our spirits.

I spotted a carp drifting between two big weed beds, it was coming straight towards me and a misplaced cast would spook it completely. I cast my freelined corn right over and past the carp, realising now it was a heavily scaled mirror and one I dearly wanted to catch.

Reeling my line back behind the carp I gently flicked the rod upwards, hopping the corn over the fishes head and back into the water a foot in front of it. Swoosh, the fish turned and grabbed the corn like something out of ‘Jaws’. I reeled and lifted the rod at the same time and connected with the fish. My clutch burst into life as the carp charged straight back the way it had come into the weedbed.

Luckily the pads had begun to die back so I had little trouble steering the fish round and into my waiting net. Alex and I high-fived and began wetting the unhooking mat. On the scales it went 17 lb and a few ounces, and I began to wonder if I had seen this fish before…

First capture

First capture


Second capture

Second capture


Thanks for reading this week’s blog; if you have not had enough of us yet, do check out this video of Alex on our local river where he has a bit of success in the shape of barbel and chub!





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