Brothers Carl & Alex, aged 17 and 14, are the youngest bloggers in our mix.

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, and provide a youth dimension to our new blogging mix.

We hope you enjoy the blog, written by Carl, and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.




THIS week I have experienced some real traditional fishing. There were no boilies, bivvies or bedchairs but there was crystal clear water and big wise river fish. It was a breath of fresh air taking a break from our normal type of fishing and trying my hand at some trotting with a long rod, centre-pin and good old maggots as bait.

Back to the river


I woke up at ridiculous o’clock and my incredibly generous Mum drove me to the station. Sadly, Alex had to stay at home as he was feeling under the weather. Still, it would give me a chance to catch something! I was half asleep on the train journey to Hampshire but on arrival I woke up and started to buzz with excitement.

Matthew, a friend who has plenty of experience of fishing this area, picked me up from the station and we drove towards the Avon. On the way he told me stories of his previous trips, who he had fished with, what they had caught and about the stretch of river we were heading towards.

I was bursting with anticipation as I got out of the car and looked down into the clear weedy river. Matt pointed out two trout just beneath the surface and then we noticed a couple of shoals of dace. I did not spot any roach but Matt informed me that they would be in the deeper hole further upstream.

Matt with a nice roach

We unloaded the car and I threaded my 3.2lb Drennan Float Fish mainline through my 13ft float rod. As I pulled my line from the centre-pin the ratchet clicked loudly. The road nearby was quiet, the river was silent and all I could hear was the bird song, and of course my pin letting out the last metre of line.

I threaded on a Lignum Stick Float and attached it with three float rubbers, then I tied a loop and started pinching on no. 8 shot evenly spaced along the rig. I finished the rig off with some 2lb line and a size 18 barbless hook. Matt was using similar gear but with a loafer float and a Drennan Super Specialist size 16 hook.

We trudged through the mud down to our spots. I started throwing small pinches of maggots upstream of where I was sitting and whilst I built up my swim, I ate my breakfast!

Half an hour later Matt had already caught ten or so dace, so I stood up, hooked a single red maggot and cast into my baited area. The float drifted downstream and I allowed my centre-pin to turn slowly. The float dragged under slightly, I had overestimated the depth. I made the rig slightly shallower and the next trot through the float stayed still.

Another pinch of maggots were thrown in around the float as it drifted through the deep channel. I was surprised that I was not catching any dace as Matt was catching one every cast!

Carl’s 1lb 12oz river roach and 3lb 3oz chub. Both on trotted maggots.

I stuck at it and bulked my shot nearer to the hook. I was fully concentrating on the red float tip and was completely absorbed; everything else just went to the back of my mind.

The float disappeared from view, my thumb hit the pin and I quickly lifted the line from the surface and pulled into a fish. The rod arched over and I had to allow the fish to take line. Nah, must be a trout I thought. But then in amongst the weed I saw a dash of silver; at this point I realised it was a big roach.

My heart was in my mouth as I watched it wedge its head into the weed. I tried to turn it but it seemed like it had gone solid. Heart thumping and cheap centre-pin starting to wobble because the screws had come undone, I gently eased the fish downstream and out of the weed. Matt netted the fish for me and a huge grin appeared on my face. I was in no doubt that it had beaten my old PB of 1lb 8oz, but by how much? I let the fish swim down into the carefully positioned keep net. I did not want to spook the shoal by releasing the fish back into the swim.

Later in the day Matt hooked a much bigger fish than the dace he was catching previously. I strolled over and did the honours with the net; he was happy to have a big roach with a distinctive spot just beneath its eye. We both thought it could be near to two pounds. It joined my roach in the keep net.

I went back to the trotting, this time with a bigger more visible loafer float. This would allow me to trot further downstream and still be able to see the float. I also switched to a little fixed spool reel because my pin had broken!

I continued fishing my swim but after hooking a trout the swim went dead. Matt kindly allowed me to join him slightly downstream and we took turns to trot through his spot. There were dace almost every cast and the odd small roach.

As the light started to fade we lifted out the keep net and photographed our best fish. Matt did a fantastic job of the catch shots and I took some photos of the sunset over the river.

I travelled home with some wonderful images on my memory card. Once home I just had to share the photos on our Facebook Page ‘Carl and Alex Fishing’. They went down a treat; I was really pleased with my days fishing. Thanks Matt.


Sunset over the Avon


I did manage to fish on Sunday too but only for a couple of hours. Below is a picture from that session.

A chub for Carl on Bait Tech meat.


Thanks for reading this week’s blog, look out for next week’s one where we will be targeting a winter carp!


Wish us luck, we will need it!


Check out this week’s Angler’s Mail for a brilliant pole fishing Action Replay!