Carl & Alex blog for Angler’s Mail every Friday.

WELCOME 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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IT WAS June 3rd when I decided it was about time I did some regular exercise to make me fitter and healthier. So with this in mind I mended the puncture on my bike. But where to ride, that was the question…

Waiting for the start of the river season.

I chose to pedal down to my local river and have a look around. However before I left, a few slices of bread were added to my rucksack; I might as well try and spot some chub!

The river, or should I say stream, was terribly low, the majority of the gravels being exposed to air. I found a couple of shoals of chub and fed them small chunks of bread which they pounced on instantly.

Although the chevins were clearly hungry, it was the barbel that were on my mind, and although the Sussex Ouse is absolutely tiny there are fish in there which would smash the River Wye record!

I continued to ride my bike to the river every afternoon for two weeks; by the end my stamina had vastly improved. Whereas originally I would end up pushing my bike up a couple of the hills, I could now get up them no problem. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

On the morning of June 15th I woke up early and rode to the river, this time with my fishing gear. I had packed plenty of food for the fish and I because it was going to be a fairly long session, even though I could only cast out come midnight.

My friends, George and Michael, came along at about midday and we set up in the swim. There was a sense of excitement, and also relief, that we had ended up in the swim we wanted on a normally busy stretch.

We all felt a little bit silly sat by the river at 2pm, net ready, ten PVA bags tied up and copious amounts of glug, pellets and maggots in tubs lying around us. Every now and then, George would suddenly grin and we would almost burst with anticipation and excitement!

It seemed like darkness took forever to arrive, but eventually the sun dipped beneath the trees and disappeared, giving me the chance to film some atmospheric shots to build the suspense for my video.

I had planned to sleep from 9.30pm till midnight to ensure I had the energy to watch the rod tip in the night, but for some reason sleep was never going to happen so instead I chatted to Michael and George and regularly fed my swim with a small ball of groundbait laced with 10mm Monster Squid and 4mm Bait-Tech halibut pellets.

Finally the magic hour arrived and I looked down to see 11.59 change to 12.00; I had absolutely everything ready so cast out (but not before I had set up the camera to film the cast).

Seconds after the lead reached the bottom the tip began to tap, maybe chub I thought, but after around 20 minutes of fishing the tip slowly pulled over and I hooked a bream. It was only about 2lb and just slid in across the surface. I worried that perhaps my prebaiting had simply brought a shoal of bream into the swim.

A few hours later another bite signaled the second bream of the session, this time slightly bigger at around 3.5lb. At this point I thought perhaps I would be up all night catching bream. I made another cast and then drifted off to sleep.

At around 4.30 in the morning I awoke, recast my rod (slightly closer to the snags) and sat back down. Seconds later the rod butt lifted off the ground and my rod tip swung round ending up pointing straight at the overhanging branches in the water, a barbel had well and truly given me the three foot twitch! I strained to steer the fish clear of any dangers and gradually drew it towards my net. For such a small barbel it really did go, but I had tackled up strongly so the fish ended up in my net.


A barbel for Carl to kick-start the new season

Soon after, George hooked into his first fish of the session and to our amazement it beat his PB by a fair way. At 7 lb 8 oz it was a decent fish for the river and a true result for our first session of the season. George’s fish was taken on a paste wrapped 15mm Monster Squid boilie and to add to the tally of fish, Michael landed a 5 lb 1 oz chub the day after!


A new PB for George

We had got our season off to a good start with all three of us catching decent fish, here’s to a great 2014-15 season!

Tight lines everyone!


PS. here’s our latest video, not on river fishing but big stillwater fish….





Read their report on the Barbel Society show in the latest issue of Angler’s Mail magazine, and click here for some barbel tips from experts they met at that event.

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