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.

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AFTER many carping sessions throughout the summer holidays we wanted to try our local weirpool again, in the hope of catching some barbel.

Carl and Alex decide to try their local weir... but end up trying to find fish elsewhere!

Carl and Alex decide to try their local weir… but end up trying to find fish elsewhere!

We arrived early Saturday morning and on looking over the bridge saw two people fishing it; catching a barbel from any other spot on this river was far from easy, with lots of greedy chub that will steal your bait before any barbel come along.

After thinking for a while about what we should do, we decided to go downstream and see if we could catch a chub or two. The swim that we fish for the chub was one that we had never blanked in and during the summer months we would normally expect at least three or more chub.

I cast out my small feeder, no bites. I rolled a lump of meat, no bites. What was going on, I thought? We were confused; normally we would get plucks and pull rounds on the tip from the moment the rig landed in the water.

We decided to move to a swim upstream which I had never fished. The last time Carl fished it was about a year ago; he managed a whopping 8lb barbel from this very thin stretch of river and it was only now that we remembered it.

It’s about a mile walk to the swim, which I suppose is why no one really fishes it but as we walked through the brambles into the swim we saw something in the water spook and all the bottom was murked up. Could this have been a fish, or perhaps another animal?

I walked in with my rod, a small lead, 2 foot hooklength and a Pallatrax stick hook bait. I attached a small PVA bag of halibut pellets to the hook and made a cast downstream to an overhanging raft of sticks, leaves and other pieces of debris.

The rod was laid down on the bank and after 5 minutes or less the rod tip juddered round and a decent chub tried to get me into a snag, I put on the pressure and it came upstream. Carl managed to reach down the bank and slip the net under it.

When it was on the mat we realised it was a good chub from the river weighing in at 4lb 6oz. I was  surprised as it was the first time I had fished the swim and I wasn’t expecting a bite so quickly!

A chub for Alex

A 4lb 6oz chub for Alex

We took some film and photos and released it. Then we tried another spot downstream that we don’t normally fish, but if we do it produces a chub or two.

This time all I had was a whack round which resulted in a barbel on the end. Unfortunately it came off at the last minute but I re cast and soon after I had another crazy bite, this one too was a barbel. I was amazed no chub came to our small chunk of meat. I managed to get this one safely in the net; it was a very pretty small whisker!

We decided to return very early the next morning on our bikes to try and secure ourselves a spot in the weir pool but yet again someone beat us to it!

Not to worry… we went back to the same spot upstream and caught this long lean, hard fighting barbel which pulled loads of line at the start but slowly gave up after snagging me countless amounts of times.

Alex barbel

A hard fighting allusive barbel for Alex

The last few sessions have certainly taught us a lesson; try new swims and spots on other waters as although they may not be known to produce big fish, it can be surprising what can be found!

On the subject of barbel, check out this short video where you can watch them swimming around in their natural habitat!






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Best of British – we salute you, inside this week’s special Angler’s Mail magazine. This big value issue is on sale from Tuesday, September 17. Get your copy!



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